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The Goddess Speaks

By Melanie Lau

Tuesday, November 7, 2000

Strapped short in
a bra quest

I hate shopping for bras. But it was high time I found a bra that I could wear under those sleeveless dresses. I was tired of constantly pushing back those #$%@&* straps.

Not feeling brave enough to take on the immense selection at Liberty House, I summoned up my courage to enter the Bra Zone at JC Penney. I was amazed by the array of undergarments before me and wandered aimlessly through the aisles, fingering the merchandise.

"May I help you?," a sales clerk asked.

"Um, yes, I was looking for a racer-back bra."

"You mean the T-back style?"

"Um, I guess so."

Eyeing me shrewdly, she asked "padded or Wonderbra?"

Gee, thanks. I felt a hollowness in my chest. "Um, padded, I guess."

She waved her hand in one direction and sighed, "the padded ones are there," walked on, "and the Wonderbras are over by the wall," clearly indicating what she thought was the better choice for me.

"Thank you."

I rummaged through the padded rack, searching for the 32As, to no avail. The smallest was a 34B. Grudgingly, I headed for the Wonderbra Wall.

I rifled through the selection, searching for my small size, hoping one may have gotten lost among her larger sisters. My goodness, there's a 38C up here! Why would a 38C woman need a Wonderbra?

Sigh. It was on to Liberty House. As I made my way through the mall's sea of humanity, I found myself surreptitiously surveying other women's cleavages. Do you suppose those are real? I judged each pair.




Hmm, she's about my height and build, how can those be original equipment?

Oh my, now those are NOT real.

I recalled a friend's comment after she'd had a boob job. "Now they jiggle," she'd said with glee. I also remembered a previously fruitless search for bras at a Victoria's Secret on the mainland. My friend had a salesgirl salivating after her as she picked this, that, and the other thing off the racks, while I searched in vain (and anxiety) for my size, only to be told later that the smaller sizes were tucked (hidden?) away in the drawers like some embarrassing family secret?

Ah, here I am, at Liberty House. Armed with my newfound knowledge, I coolly asked the saleswoman for the "T-back" style.

"We don't have too many of those in your size, but you could try to look on that rack there with the padded bras, or in the Wonderbra section over by that far wall," she said.


As I headed for "the wall," I began to wonder if the Wonderbra people asked their retailers to be placed on a wall, or if the retailers thought that the women who needed to shop in the Wonderbra section welcomed the discreet, out of the way placement. ... Oh goodie, there's that 38C again.

My self-esteem could take no more. I headed home. I have come to the conclusion that since they do not make a bra in my size, I do not need to wear one!

Melanie Lau is a freelance writer in Honolulu.

The Goddess Speaks runs every Tuesday
and is a column by and about women, our strengths, weaknesses,
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