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Unsupported – The Awl

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Unsupported – The Awl

admin 7月 07

byBetsy?

Morais

OneSundayevening,whentheDecemberairfelttoowarm,andthesidewalkswerepackedwithstorefront-gazers,Iwenttomidtown。

Itwasn’tverylate,buttheskyhadalreadyturnedblack。

Iworeapuffycoat,whichbrushedagainstpeopleandscaffoldingwithanexcited“swoosh”asIwalkedwithbriskpacetoLordTaylor,whichhadsentmeafreebeediscountinthemail。

IhaveneverlikedLordTaylorasmuchasmymotherdoes,buttheirmarketingdepartment’scomputerhadrememberedmybirthday。

Whenyourbirthdaycoincideswithholidaygift-buyingseason,thesternsalesbarks?

—?

“Timeisrunningout!

”?

—?

feelallthemorepressing。

SooffIwas,insearchofa?

bra。

Ihavereachedthatpointinawoman’slifewhenIbasicallyknowwhichbrawillmakemefeeltheleastlumpyandgross。

BeforegoingtothisstorethatIdon’tespeciallylike,Icheckedthebackofthecoupon(assomanysixo’clocknewsspecialshaveinstructedmetodo)inordertoconfirmthatthekindofbraIsetouttogetwasnotexcludedfromthesale。

ThisissignificantinpartbecauseIamnotapersonwhocaresdeeplyaboutdesignersorbrands,noramIapersonwhowishestodwellatall,ifIcanhelpit,ontheselectionofbeautyproducts。

Abracanbebeauty-enhancingthing,anassertionofone’ssexuality,oraself-pleasingextravagance,ahotfrivolity,orapoliticalstatement,butitismostfundamentally,tome,anundergarment。

Inthemorning,Iamgettingdressedwithawishthatmybratobetheleastnoticeableelementofthe?

day。

Iarrivedatthestorewithmyverypatientboyfriend。

Whatmyboyfrienddidnotknowwasthatittookmanyyearsandtrialstogettothepointofbeingabletowalkintoastore,andovertoaparticularrack,withconfidence。

IboughtmyfirstbraattheKMartonRoute17,inParamus,whilemymotherwasshoppingforlaundrydetergentandLeanCuisines;Iwanderedoff,insearchofsomesenseofautonomy。

IboughtmyfirstmallbraatVictoria’sSecret,withmyfriendKathleen,whoassuredmethatthiswaswherematuregirlswent。

Mymostformativebra-buyingexcursion,onethatmanywomenendure,involvedthekindofintrusivemeasuringandscoopingmotionandstrangertouchingthatsomeexpertsbelieveisrequiredtoidentifytherightfit。

Aperoxideblondewomanwearingamostlyunbuttonedblackblazerunfurledsomemeasuringtapeandwentaboutherbusinessinawaythatsheprobablybelievedtobeclinicalbutfelttomelikeaseconddate。

Intheend,though,shewasthebestseconddateIeverhad,sinceshenotonlyfoundexactlymybrasizebutalsotransformed,throughasequenceoftutorialswithdifferentsamplebras,thewayIputone?

on。

Keepingthoselessonsinmind,Itriedonanumberofstyles,whilemyboyfriendwaited,takingaseatonastoolbythefittingroom。

Fromoverthedoor,Iheardasalesladyapproachhim,andthenamuffledexchangethatincludedthephrase“Youcan’tbehere,SIR。

”Iemerged,ledhimout,apologized,andgotsomemorebrastotryon。

Eachonecostbetween$50and$70。

Hencethemotivationofadiscount。

Itishardtojustifypayingthatmuchforanitemofclothingthatexistsfortheverypurposeofbeingunseen,butitisalsohardnotto,becausewithoutit,youcertainlywill?

be。

Herearethestakes:Abadbracangiveyouabizarrelylandscapedchest;itcanexacerbatebackpain;itcandigintoyoursides;itcanstickoutfromyourclothesatinopportunemoments;itcanitch;anditcanfailtoprovidesupport(andwhenthatisthethingyouarewillingtopayforandstilldonotreceive,itisallthemoredisappointing)。

Ifoundagoodone。

Itwasnottoopaddedorpointyorflashyortight;thestrapswereO。

K。

thecupsdidn’tstickout,andsoonandsoforth,withalltheconsiderationsthatuponenumerationmakeonefeelatoncebothself-consciousandbored。

Ishowedittomyboyfriend,who,morethananything,appearedrelievedtobefinishedwiththispartofourday。

Attheregister,Ipresentedthebra,thetanktopthatwouldgetmeovertherequiredseventy-fivedollarthresholdtoreceivethediscount,andthecoupon。

Thecashierwasonherphone,unenthused,asifmyarrivalatthisphasedidnotrepresentapersonalvictory。

Thisisnotmerelyapurchase,Miss;thisisunderwire。

Sherangmeupandtoldmethetotal。

“Sorry,thesystemwon’tallowyoutousethediscountonthis?

—?

”shebegan。

No,Iprotested,thatcan’tbe。

Yes,shesaid,pointingtoherscreen,it?

could。

Regret,theagonyoversquanderedopportunity,isoftenfeltacutelyinDecember,onabirthday,whenhoursaredevotedtodraggingyourselftoshopforabrathatyoucannotintheendafford。

Shouldit,couldit,beeasierthanthis?

Mygreat-grandmother,afterarrivinginAmericaasayoungwoman,workedinabrassierefactoryinNewYorkstitchingpiecestogether;I’llneverknowwhethershehadanygrandtheoriesaboutanyofthat。

Aloadofemotionandalienationandhistoryandgender-complicationisboundinsideabra,butitcan’tmerelyfloatabstractlyasasymbolofsomethingelse?

—?

it’sgotajobtodo。

IadmitthatattimesI’llenjoyabra,thoughthatmustbepartlybecausemysatisfactionwithithasbeensowellearned。

Awoman’sbracanbeherownmeasureofherself,andonthisnightIwasgoinghomeempty。

Theseandotherfrustratedthoughtsfilledtheresentment-purseinsidemyovaries,asmyboyfriendandIdescendedtheescalator。

“Well,itwasn’tatotalwasteoftime,”hesaid。

“Igotaccusedofbeingapervertinalingeriedepartment。



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