(Note: If you’re my dad or my uncle or one of my more conservative coworkers, you might not want to read this entry. Consider this fair warning.)
Victoria’s Secret model.
These were all things I wanted to be “when I grew up.” And now, by a twist of fate, it appears that I stumbled one step closer to one of those career goals.
On Tuesday, I had to take a trip to the mall to pick up a dress for an upcoming wedding. I was NOT looking forward to this journey. I’m a buy-it-online-so-that-i-can-avoid-the-crowds-and-the-salespeople-and-the-dressing-rooms kind of shopper. I’m also all skinny and pale right now, so the idea of standing under bright white lights while commissioned employees pretend that something looks good on me literally had me lying in bed with the comforter pulled over my head for an extra two hours that morning. Eventually, I kicked myself into semi-high gear and headed to Arrowhead Mall.
After finding a dress, I headed to Victoria’s Secret. I needed new bras. I should have done this six weeks ago. The expanders I currently have in are way bigger than my breasts used to be, so when I try wearing my old bras, they literally sit right underneath my nipples – like I’m showcasing them for a porn magazine or something. And technically, my breasts don’t even REQUIRE a bra anymore. In the strictest sense, the purpose of a bra is to support those babies so that they don’t hang down and form a three-way friendship with your belly button later on in life … but in the world of expanders and implants, those puppies are PERKY – POR VIDA. If I never wore another bra again for the rest of my life, my melons will *still* never know the product of time and gravity. There’s just one thing. When a breast cancer patient gets a nipple-sparing mastectomy, her nipples post-surgery become permanently semi-hard. This might be great when it’s time to get your freak on, but when you’re going about your everyday life – doing things like teaching teenage boys, for instance, or spending some quality time with your father – the last thing you want is for those high beams to be peaking out from underneath your shirt. So … bras are still a required part of my daily wardrobe.
Since 8th grade, I have been obsessed with bras. I had my first black bra before any of my friends, and by high school I would not even leave the house if my bra didn’t match my underwear. I used to tell my friends that I was going to be the first petite Victoria’s Secret model. It didn’t matter that I was a good six inches shorter than Frederique van der Wal, my favorite Victoria’s Secret model at the time (of *course* I knew all the models’ names! We were, after all, going to be coworkers some day). It didn’t matter that my size “A” cup would have been more appropriate for the Delia’s catalog than for a lingerie advertisement. It didn’t matter that I was Irish-girl-white and had curves in my calves and thighs that would have required an extra half hour alone to Photoshop into the beanpoles that are featured on those VS magazines. I had a goal. I was going to make it happen.
Needless to say, I fell short of reaching that goal … and it’s been about twenty years since I have even thought of those career plans – until this week. After getting that dress for the wedding, I pouted my way over to Victoria’s Secret to get myself fitted. I didn’t want to go. My energy is down, my cancer patient body does *not* look cute under the fluorescent lighting of those mall stores, and my expanders are currently uneven in both size and height (the surgeon reassured me that this will be fixed when I have them replaced with silicone implants). Regardless of my resistance, however, I needed to do this. I had no idea what size I was, at this point, and Victoria’s Secret has employees who are eager to pull out that measuring tape to figure out your starting point for buying overpriced (but so wonderfully colorful!) undergarments. I walked into the store, noticed the one employee who was wearing a flannel shirt tied around her hips and clearly calling the shots into her headset, and I headed her way to explain my situation and request a fitting. She took one look at me and said, “Looks like a 34 D.”
I laughed. “Um… I doubt it. I was originally a 36B, and I told my reconstructive surgeon I wanted to go up a cup size. I’m pretty sure I’m a 36C – maybe a 38C?”
She took her measuring tape and wound it around my rib cage, then moved it up a little to measure a 2nd time. Actually, you’re a double D. 34 double D.”
I just gaped at her. “A double D??? That can’t be right.”
She guided me to a room, then handed me a plain cotton black bra. “These are the bras we use for fitting purposes. Put this on, and then push the button right here to let me know when you have it on.” I couldn’t help but notice that she didn’t give me multiple bras in different sizes – just the one in the size she had stated. I tut-tutted in my head about how it was going to take extra time out of my day to have to ask her in a minute to give me a bra in a different size, then did as she said – well, except the part about remembering to push the button because once I had that bra on, I just stared at myself in the mirror for I don’t know how many minutes. It. Fit. Perfectly. She was right. I was a double D.
So, yeah. When I was going in for those tri-weekly expansion appointments with Dr. Walsh, I had no clue that I was getting myself ready for some tig old bitties, but apparently that’s what I ended up with. Perhaps it’s not too late to submit a resume to Victoria’s Secret and achieve one of my adolescent dreams, after all.