Ig­nore the knock­ers

Amanda Blair takes us be­hind the cur­tain in pur­suit of the per­fect bra.

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Humour - ABOUT THE WRITER Amanda Blair lives in Ade­laide with her four chil­dren and a hus­band she quite likes when she sees him.

Life events come around so fast, par­tic­u­larly as you get older. Some I re­ally look for­ward to, like the stock­take sales and my an­nual den­tal clean. Noth­ing makes me sing like bed linen at 50 per cent off and a plaque-free palate. But there are other oc­ca­sions I dread.

Shop­ping for a bra is one of them. Sure, you’d think it would be a sim­ple er­rand, some­thing run-of-the-mill, par­tic­u­larly as I’ve been a con­sumer of corsetry since I was a teen. Ac­cord­ing to my chil­dren, the wrin­kles around my eyes mean I’m very old, so you’d think I’d have nailed this pur­chase by now. Yet, years down the track, I still find the whole ex­pe­ri­ence in­cred­i­bly un­pleas­ant, nay emo­tion­ally drain­ing.

So here I was again, telling a friendly sales­per­son that I just need a bra, same one as last time, thank you very much.

The eye­brow arch was the first sign that I’d said some­thing wrong. She said I’d be do­ing my­self an in­jus­tice by not look­ing at the en­tire range avail­able for women of my age and, ahem, phys­i­cal con­di­tion. Un­der­gar­ment tech­nol­ogy has made enor­mous ad­vance­ments you know, so I should take ad­van­tage. I meekly sub­mit­ted to her ob­vi­ous su­pe­ri­or­ity when it comes to th­ese wom­anly pur­suits and agreed to try on her hand-picked se­lec­tion. She gen­tly moved me for­ward through the store and com­fort­ingly rested her hand on the small of my back.

My stom­ach knot­ted be­cause, like a cow head­ing for the slaugh­ter floor, I’d worked out where I was go­ing – to a teeny room lit like a lab­o­ra­tory which beau­ti­fully il­lu­mi­nated my ev­ery fleshy crease, spot, blem­ish, freckle and roll of back fat.

I can’t miss th­ese form fea­tures in the strate­gi­cally hung rear view mir­rors which prove to me that, yes, my bum ac­tu­ally does look big in this, this and ev­ery­thing else I wear be­cause my pos­te­rior is pos­i­tively enor­mous. I sigh, but re­mind my­self that that’s not why I’m here. I’m not look­ing back­ward, I’m look­ing for­ward and, holy moly, what I see be­fore me shocks me. A floppy, well-worn, wrinkly and out-of-shape top half stares back at me. Friends, I can’t even bring my­self to men­tion the con­di­tion of my bra …

My lin­gerie lady wedges her way in be­hind the cur­tain so she can get a han­dle on what she’s deal­ing with. She looks me up and down, purses her lips and says that my cur­rent bra choice is “in­ter­est­ing”.

But she as­sures me it’s pos­si­ble to change and force­fully places her se­lec­tions inside my cu­bi­cle. I strug­gle with the con­cept that a prod­uct called “Made­moi­selle” or “Misty” is go­ing to help me as I strug­gle with get­ting all four hooks on the clasp lined up and fas­tened. One by one, we go through them and, like Goldilocks, ev­ery­thing was too small, too sexy, too scratchy, too busty, too sporty, too plung­ing or too ridicu­lous – the Push-Up? Puh­leese, on a 48-year-old af­ter four chil­dren? Spare me.

She tells me to work through the pain and even­tu­ally we’ll find the right bra that will turn the clock back to when I was firm and perky. Be­fore chil­dren, mort­gages and mar­riage. I’m be­tween the Bal­cony and the Built-in-Bra when it hits me that I don’t want to be trans­formed. I’m ac­tu­ally happy with my age­ing frame and, more im­por­tantly, with my old bra style – plain, re­li­able, able to be worn ev­ery day un­der any­thing with­out fuss, a work­horse. Be­sides, I’m filled with the fear that if I came home with some­thing fancy my hus­band will think that I’m hav­ing an af­fair or, worse still, that I want more reg­u­lar sex. Plus, at my age, not chang­ing and just be­ing your­self is sexy. Who cares what the knock­ers say (no pun in­tended). Billy Joel knew what I’m talk­ing about. He even wrote a song, “Don’t go chang­ing, to try and please me, I love you just the way you are, I love you in your old beige bra …”

She looks me up and down, purses her lips and says ‘in­ter­est­ing’.

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