A personal blog really is just a form of confessional, right? No priest or therapist but a forum to air your issues.
With that in mind, I need to talk about a *painful* recent incident. It’s taken me these many days to be able to discuss it without wincing.
You see, as you know, I’m soon to get hitched to The Good (nay WONDERFUL) Man.
And as such, I need to wear what they call a “gown.”
I’ve worked for nine years at a company in which our multi-billionaire CEO wears old jeans with large visible holes. And we’re a company full of engineers. You can never set the dress standard terribly high with engineers.
So the standard of dress in my world has dropped considerably.
Once upon a time, I wore dresses and panty hose to work almost every day.
Now, it’s real, real hard to get my heiny into a pair of hose. I mean, why?
(Which begs for a slight aside…on the night that my love and I were engaged, I knew we were going to a REALLY nice place for dinner. Wanting him to think I’m a class act, I got out a dress from the back of my closet and bought a new pair of hose. My love observed the shimmy/shake/jumping dance it takes to get into those things and through hysterical laughter said, and this is a direct quote: “Never do that in front of me again.”)
Obviously with all this in mind, the thought of actually purchasing a wedding dress scared me sh–less. It took my best friend flying in from Las Cruces for the weekend to get me to do it. God bless her.
Once the dress was procured, the dress-making people told me, emphatically, that I had to go to Nordstrom to get measured and fitted for a “foundation garment”. (For those not paying attention, that’s a bra in street speak).
Well. If I was traumatized by going to buy a dress, can you imagine what this bit of news did to me?
I was immediately taken back to my youth. Twelve maybe? My mom took me to the Mervyn’s at Coronado Center in Albuquerque where a severe, middle aged woman roughly measured my burgeoning assets, and picked out the ugliest sturdy white device she could sell. No flowers. No lace. A utilitarian boob holding device.
To be fair, my mom did nothing wrong. She was being a good mom. No one could have known how traumatizing that would be for me. But it was. Traumatic.
So, needless to say, I’ve been avoiding the “get measured for a bra” task on my list of “to do’s” for the wedding.
With the day of my first dress fitting well nigh, this last weekend I had to “do the deed”.
I reluctantly trudged into Nordies and waited in line for one of the nice women working there to help me.
As I waited, it seemed the sturdy middle-aged woman with the Eastern Bloc accent was going to be the first finished with her customers, and would be the one assisting me.
FLASHBACKS FROM ‘NAM! Or Mervyn’s. Anyhow.
Much to my pleasant surprise, a young lady hidden behind Helga or Gilda or Gerta hung up the phone she was on, stepped forward and said to me, kindly, “how can I help you?”
I quiveringly told her I was getting married soon and was, to my own utter disbelief, going to be wearing a strapless bra and needed a garment to wear under.
She smiled kindly and said, “do you need to be measured?”
I woefully nodded.
Together we went to the dressing room where she quickly measured my assets (less burgeoning now, more succumbing to gravity).
She left the room to pick out items to try on. I stood there, shivering like a Chihuahua, waiting.
She brought in a few choices. Said cheerily, “ok, let’s try these on!”
She took one off the hanger, opened it up and held it out to me.
She said, “Bend over and shake into it.”
“Go ahead,” she urged.
She fastened it up behind me.
Oh dear god. I am now wearing this contraption. I. Can’t. Look.
“Oh, now that’s not bad,” my new intimate friend Lilly, chirped.
I looked. Really, it wasn’t that bad. But it made my generous assets, uh…how to say this…made them burble up over the top. Many women like this. I do not. I prefer the “keep ’em stable” approach.
So we moved on to the next one. Shake, shake, fasten.
Hmm. I looked. This one not so very bad at all. I raised my arms up (the litmus test of a strapless device). Everybody stayed where they should.
Lilly pointed out that I was “getting good separation” which sent me reeling back to those old Platex bra commercials, “lifts and separates!”
So ok. We shook, shook into a couple more and decided that device number two was a winner!
Ok, so bra is done. That wasn’t so bad.
Now we needed a garment for the rest of the stuff that has to look good in a nice dress.
Out came the Spanx. You’ll recall the “Spanx and a sash” advice previously discussed.
So I was cool with the Spanx idea.
Until my little friend Lilly suggested I should get a “heavy duty” pair in a size smaller “to really hold you in”.
Uh. Well. Ok.
So she brought in this wrestler’s suit. Which is appropriate, because that’s what we had to do to try it on.
Lilly actually chose to HELP ME with this task.
This was more than a shake, shake, folks.
As we grunted like overworked longshoremen to get the device installed, about halfway through the job, I started laughing.
I remembered, “never do that in front of me again” and wondered what The Good Man would have to say about all this. Two women wrestling a recalcitrant pair of Spanx. Hot? Yeah, probably not.
Not to be deterred, Lilly demanded that I focus.
Give it up for Lilly’s tenacity. She got that damn thing on me.
There I stood in all my pre-matrimonial glory. Highly steel belted Spanx lashed to a sturdy strapless bra, all my bits and pieces sucked in to within an inch of my life.
And I looked at me in the mirror and said, “yeah, ok, that will work”.
Blessedly, on the removal, the Spanx shot off of me like Evil Knievel out of a cannon, and I was free to breathe once more.
The rest of the day I walked around like a chastened dog, tail between my legs, terribly embarrassed but glad I got the “framework” for my new pretty dress.
It didn’t erase the “incident” at Mervyn’s in the early years, but it helped. Turns out “getting measured” isn’t all that terrible. I also bought a couple of pretty, nicely fitting bras for everyday wear.
With lace! Man, has bra technology improved.
Wonder if my best good friend and Matron of Honor will be as kind to me as Lilly was when it comes to getting those Spanx back on…
She has until August to think about it.
Oh, dear Lord… This made me laugh out loud! It also reminded me of when I worked at Mervyns , one of my very first retail jobs, in the men’s department.
A woman came in and told me she was looking for underwear for her son. I dutifully walked her to the area, looked her in the eye, and asked her what his “cup” size was… and she burst out laughing.
Tsk… I was 17 and, obviously, had no idea how those things worked.
The last time I was measured was at Dillards. The woman used the term “breast flesh” when describing how to put on the bra. I still use that term and crack up. Of course, I say it in my best Julia Child voice.
Your bestest friend needs to adopt that voice for any further trying-on adventures.
It’s hard to not laugh…
Here’s hoping you can breathe on your wedding day but, maybe, not too much ’cause, you know, maybe all of those under garments are supposed to keep you from hyperventilating!