Make it a double
By CATHERINE DURKIN ROBINSON
Published January 15, 2006
My husband listens to sports talk radio, and recently his favorite show addressed a subject close to my heart: "Gifts for Women." Several ideas were addressed before a caller suggested the ultimate present: Take the wife to a department store for an accurate bust measurement, then purchase an armful of properly fitting bras. If this doesn't sound romantic, you probably haven't been married long enough. The radio host agreed with the caller; he said most women don't wear undergarments that fit well and, as a result, strain their backs and shoulders. Since when did Oprah infiltrate the locker room?
When my husband presented this idea and gift certificate, I was a bit skeptical. Maybe a few seconds with a tape measure would lead to a bra sale and then I'd head for the shoe department. Instead, as I entered the underwear area, a saleswoman stared at me for a full minute before telling her co-workers, "Hold my calls. This is gonna take awhile."
Delilah wore a badge that read "Certified Fitting Specialist" under her name. Who knew such a creature existed? I'm not sure which college or technical school awards these certificates, but Delilah knew female anatomy better than any physician.
She marched me into a dressing room and shut the door behind us. Surprised, I quickly backed into the corner when she gruffly commanded, "Take off your blouse." Delilah then proceeded to invade my personal space and ask for information only my online friends know.
"34 C," I said.
Delilah choked back a chuckle.
"Stay here," she said and walked out the door.
I waited and tried to avoid the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time player staring back at me in the mirror. Delilah returned with a few selections.
"Turn around and take off your bra," she said.
"I barely know you."
"Now," she barked.
While looping my chest into a contraption resembling a straitjacket, Delilah told me to bend over and "allow gravity to do its job" before snapping me into place and adjusting the straps. I don't like such positions in the dark with my husband, much less under fluorescent lighting with a stranger. At the very least, she could have offered me a drink first.
I stood up and smiled. Wearing a magnificent brassiere that fit like a seamless and very expensive glove, I thought, "This must be how Giselle Bundchen feels!" Skies opened and the love of the world was upon me. A fantastic moment that included singing angels, until I screamed and blood shot from my eyeballs because I noticed the tag said, "32 DD."
"There must be some mistake."
Delilah shook her head and looked as if she were handing down a death sentence.
"No, sweetheart, that's what you get for breastfeeding."
How did she know I had nursed my children? Delilah made what women in her line of work refer to as an educated guess.
"Ignore the cup and just be happy you've gone down a number size," she said, delicately. "Your rib cage is tiny, and most women would love your figure!"
Yeah, I thought, women who walk the streets at night. I stared at Delilah and swallowed a bit of vomit. Awkward silences are no way to close a sale, so my Certified Fitting Specialist took a deep breath and plunged ahead.
"The bad news is you are now, officially, larger than life. Good luck finding bras anywhere other than the Internet. I had to search through five cartons in the back because most double-anythings are built for women built like Roseanne. Purchase these, and I'll write down some of the more popular adult Web sites. Look under "Apparel for Porn Stars.' Who knows? Maybe you'll find a sale."
I walked out of the store a bit more comfortable and whole lot wiser. My husband says he has an even better gift idea for next year. I can hardly wait.
- Catherine Durkin Robinson is a teacher and mother living in Wesley Chapel.