I went bra shopping earlier this week and I have some thoughts about it. Thoughts that have been building since the first humiliating 32AAA shopping experience of my early years. And developing bona fide breasts didn't make the shopping experience any less awful, probably because by the time I actually grew breasts worthy of support I was paying for my own bras (this is a little-noted disadvantage to being a very late bloomer, often overshadowed in the literature by the more obvious psychological scarring of being the flattest girl in one's grade, lacking a bra strap to be snapped by the cutest guy in the 8th grade, not even remotely filling out the top of one's junior year homecoming gown, etc, etc.)
But anyway, bra shopping: I hate it. Possibly the only thing I have ever hated more than bra shopping was my afternoon section of Anthro 1001 last semester, but those horrible children are happily gone from my life forever and bra shopping will torment me until I die or become too demented to do it on my own. Speaking of undergarments and terminal illness, I took my demented grandmother bra shopping a little over a year ago, and I have to say that while the prospect of contracting dementia is crushingly depressing, it is cheering to think that when I succumb to my genetic destiny, someone else will be charged with the task of pawing through rack upon rack of tangled brassieres only to discover after no less than 30 minutes that they are absolutely out of the necessary size. And I think that's the best I can do as far as having a good attitude about bra shopping is concerned, so back to complaining, which in this case, as is often the case, is more properly described as honesty, or even better, as satyakriya, literally, truth-act, which in classical Sanskrit literature is often a speech, usually uttered by a woman in great duress, that by virtue of its its power as spoken truth, changes lamentable situations - bra shopping, for example - for the better.
Bra makers have us. They SO have us. They have us in a capacity that is possibly only rivaled by manufacturers of the sinisterly-named family of "feminine hygiene" (or, worse, "feminine protection") products. A machine-crafted piece of nasty ugly itchy polyester lace-encrusted spandex made in a Chinese prison just down the barb-wired lane from a prison that produces claw machine stuffed animals retails for a minimum of $25; a less odious, vaguely wearable piece of spandex-laced polyester, often with the brand name emblazoned on it in places that, in both their capacity as private and sexy, should not be functioning as advertising mediums, retails for $50, minimum. Actually, the price point for mid-range bras is more like $48, but screw them, that's effectively fifty dollars, FIFTY DOLLARS, half of one hundred, and once you throw in a few pairs of matching panties, you are indeed at $100, or nearly.
And regarding Victoria's Secret bras, with their inch-plus padding, Barbie-esqe rigidly sculpted cups, unimaginatively slutty styling, and absolute crap quality (the Secret is possibly that they are sewn with water-soluble thread), I have nothing to say except that people who seem to enjoy shopping there tend to refer to the store as Victoria's Secrets, suggesting that they may be illiterate enough not to be distracted or otherwise dismayed by the Victoria's Secret logos that cover every exposed inch of the store's products. Lucky them.
And then there are the bras that I would buy if I were either an investment banker or getting paid in British pounds - lovely, sexy, wearable and, you know, $98 or so. Which is to say one hundred dollars. Which is a lot more than boys pay for their undies. And boys' undies are also machine washable. Which is why the rage.