Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Joys of Bra Shopping, Toddler in Tow

I decided to go on a shopping spree, much on the advice of Cosmopolitan magazine and my mother, both of whom prescribed it as a cure for low self-esteem and a broken heart. The theory being that a break-up warrants a makeover and I should do it now, in a last hurrah of having money, before I am resigned to a life of benefits and sweatpants. Besides, I can’t remember the last time I bought new underwear. Actually that is a lie. I exactly remember the two occasions I have bought underwear in the last three and half years. The most recent time, at least two years ago, I bought 10 pairs of identical black panties – they were declared ‘gross’ by my shopping partner and (not at that point) ex partner. And I am (clearly) no expert on making a relationship work, but if you’re in a similar situation and your response to your partner is ‘well, they’re not for you anyway’ – yeah, that might be a warning sign! The last underwear spree before that was that antithesis of sexy bedroom lingerie, the feeding bra. Oh and several pairs of ‘post-partem’ knickers (disposable is never something you should look for in your underwear choices) – large enough to accommodate the hospital issue maternity pads. If you’re not familiar, picture a lilo in your knickers- not entirely unwelcome after 12 stitches in your bits – but seriously, they could have handed them out as liferafts on the Titanic, either that or used them to mop up the water!

Anyway, back to my current underwear. I figure at some point I’m going to have to start considering looking at another man and not wanting to throw up or punch his face in. Which means possibly thinking about maybe dating. Which means the slimmest chance that at some point in the very far off future an actual real life man might possibly glance me in my negligee. Which means I need to stop wearing my ex’s boxers and that same old feeding bra with the clip-up cups (which, again, if you’re not familiar actually sounds kind of cute in a ‘peekaboo’ style like something you’ve seen in the ‘naughty’ section of Knickerbox, but to men is actually more of a libido killer than imagining Margaret Thatcher. And your mum. Going at it. On a trampoline).
So I stand naked from the waist-up as a bespectacled (and mortifyingly bosomy) sales assistant fiddles with her tape measure. I decided on M&S rather than La Senza in the hope that the bra-fitting service would be carried out by someone who understood my plight, being just 25, with the self-confidence of a stone and the breasts of someone who, well… breastfeed a wriggling toddler and supplied an entire neo-natal unit in donated milk – as opposed to the raven haired, French manicured nubile size sixes that work in my local La Senza.

I have been fitted for a bra twice in my entire life. The first time, 12 years old, in my mum’s living room, she digs out the tape measure from her sewing box, checks my cup size in the back of the Grattan catalogue and orders me a white lace crop-top in the size 26AAA. The second time, I was being fitted for the aforementioned passion killer feeding bra, and the less said about that ordeal the better.

So my grey-haired old lady asks me what size bra I would normally wear. Do I tell her the entire history of my bra-wearing life? Massive pregnancy boobs, rock-hard breastfeeding boobs, deflated post-milk boobs? I have no freaking idea, that’s why I am putting myself through this ‘fitting’ (and quite frankly, the fitting for my coil was more comfortable than this!!). But no, I sort of mumble something that might sound like a ‘maybe a C cup?’ and squirm as she holds back a smile and shakes her head and hands me a selection that are decidedly more A cup than I was hoping.

So I am in the changing room, doing that entirely necessary woman move of leaning forward, shifting the band from side to side, attempting to get your minimal cleavage to fill the surely-they-labelled-this-one-wrong cups. My kid takes this opportunity to look up from the magazine I bribed him with to yell ‘mommy, what you doing with your boobies?’ And I know what you’re thinking, why on earth did I take my three year old bra-shopping with me? And as I try to think of a funny excuse, the truth is that this is the reality of single motherhood – you might be on your own, but you are never alone. So I guess I should be less worried about the impending hypothetical future man who may or may not possibly see me in my kecks and more worried about things like being able to shower or shop without a teeny tiny audience.  


  1. Thanks for sharing. I love stories like this. When shopping with my toddler recently (who now has a baby brother), he went to the bra shopping and said - Look, mommy - to feed the baby!! (Pointing at said bras!)

  2. This is the truth- Even as a married mom, my alone time is sparse- Do you want to be added to the kid-blog humor board? Posts like these would fit in well!

  3. haha, oh, the maternity pad thing just got me. funny coz it's true, lol. Love your style of writing. Can totally hear you talking. Funnily enough, even with a partner I still haven't found that time to do the desperate bra fitting and shopping on my own. The last time was almost a year ago with an almost 3 year old and a new baby. Suffice to say, I left the shop, no bra bought.