Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Victoria's Secret Massacre

It's back to school shopping time, which in my family means that I have taken my children bra-shopping. (For me, not them.) It's all part of my secret plan to make their summer vacation so tedious that they can't wait for the school year to begin.

But they will have their revenge on me this day, in what might go down in history as the Victoria's Secret Massacre. O.K., no one was actually massacred. But it did cross my mind a few times.*

Normally I wouldn't even think of bringing two grade schoolers into V.S. But I had a $10 promotional card that was about to expire. And, after all, ten bucks is ten bucks.

Plus I needed a new T-shirt bra.

Bra definition for the lingerie-impaired: The Victoria's Secret catalog, the eminent authority in all matters bra-ular, defines the t-shirt bra as one that has "molded, lightly padded cups." The main purpose (my definition) is to provide the T-shirt wearer with a smooth cup surface that basically obscures the, umm, general areola area (which may be the one and only time I will ever type that phrase, I hope).

Only nothing is ever that simple...and I now believe that Victoria's secret is that if they confuse you enough, you will end up buying something you did not really want/need.

For a perusal of V.S. online finds not only is there a "Classic" T-shirt bra, but also the Mesh t-shirt bra, Stretch Cotton t-shirt bra, Padded t-shirt bra, Convertible t-shirt bra, and the NEW! (their exclamation point, not mine) Lace Trim t-shirt bra.

B.V.S. (before Victoria's Secret) buying a bra was a rather straightforward affair. Boring, yes, but there was little to confuse and/or tempt the buyer from their utilitarian mission. You knew your size, you decided between beige and white, and you were outta there.

Today there is a bra for nearly every occasion -- functional, seductional (I'm just making up words right and left, aren't I?), seasonal ('cause don't we all need a red velvet bra for Christmas?)

To complicate the issue even more, I happen across an Oprah show where an expert informs that 99.99% of women are wearing the wrong size bra.

Evidently, one's bra should be very, very tight across the rib cage to ensure a perky profile and very little lung function, which then cuts off one's supply of oxygen, kills brain cells and makes one watch more daytime TV.

Using the Oprah-endorsed measurement system, I am a 32D. When I tell my husband, instead of being impressed (or laughing) he just gives me one of those "that's what you get for watching Oprah when you should be doing something useful like learning to cook" looks.

Anyway, I digress...

Despite the fact that Victoria's Secret offers so many variations of the t-shirt bra, on this particular day in this particular store, I cannot find one. Stereotypically, guys don't ask for my version, I don't like to ask questions (or engage in any conversation) when I am buying undergarments.

So I wander around the store for an hour confronted by many Miracle bras and the prominent display of IPEX (as in "I, pecs?" as in "I am my pectorals?") bras. The Ipex is evidently the "WORLD'S MOST ADVANCED BRA" but with a range of $45 - $47 it's too advanced for me to even try on and see how advanced it truly is.

IN fact, it's so advanced that there is a video devoted to it:

Ipex page

Meanwhile, my girls have long tired of lace and have resorted to playing hide and seek among the unmentionables, shrieking loudly at whatever, and scaring the lone male who has sheepishly made his way into the store with the hopes of picking up something slightly naughty for his girlfriend...and who will probably schedule a vasectomy upon his departure.

It all culminates in one of those moments when you're so very, very proud to be a parent: when my 5-year-old insists on feeling up the mannequins -- her arms outstretched, honking the plaster breasts.

I am on my way out of the store --embarrassed, annoyed and defeated -- when I finally spot the wall of t-shirt bras! Perhaps if they had been as advanced as the Ipex bras they would have done something earlier (soft-shoe?) to attract my attention. But there they are, in all their molded cup glory!

In an effort to squelch further mischief, I try to let my kids pick out the bra color, but they are favoring a dog print, which might show through clothing in a most peculiar way. And I'm a cat person anyway.

So I settle for a solid pink. But it does have cute little polka dot straps.

As I check out, I imagine the store personal is surreptitiously taking our photos to be posted in the back of the store, with a warning to immediately lower the steel gates if we are ever spotted within 20 feet of the storefront again.

It isn't until I get home that I realize I ended up with the convertible version. A little hook and loop that turns it from regular straps into a t-back. Super cool! Suddenly it was all worthwhile.

*Child advocates, never fear. I do not spank my children or otherwise physically discipline my children. And although there was much rough-housing and wrinkling, no lingerie was harmed in the filming of this story.


At September 07, 2005 4:38 PM, Blogger Spencer said...

OK - I'm not sure I was even supposed to read this post.

At September 08, 2005 3:46 PM, Blogger Cyn said...

Ah, yes, well...reader discomfort is a sign of my success in some twisted way.


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