If I was ever professionally fitted for a bra before yesterday, I’ve repressed the memory. The first decades of my so-called adult life I spent in a state of permanent embarrassment and apology for my perceived inadequacy in the breast department.
“Two eggs in a handkerchief,” quipped my mother. I was 15 and had been suffering torments of shame for several years. Mum, I should add, was generously endowed. So for years I donned my 10As in the privacy of the changing room and repelled all attempts to join me, professional or otherwise.
Then along came feminism. On a wave of ideological optimism, I ditched bras altogether (note: ditched, not burned. Did anyone actually ever burn a bra?). It was a good thing to do, because eventually I came to accept my girls the way they are, feel glad even for not being full-breasted – nothing to sag or to garner unwelcome male attention.
Then, when I decided late last century, to relaunch my breasts into a bra, I discovered a 10 would no longer do. Welcome to middle-age, I thought, fastening a 12A. My back had broadened, obviously.
Of late, though, I’d noticed that part of me – a small part – was escaping the top of the cup and giving me that tell-tale double bulge. This is what encouraged me to consult a professional. Still, I was taken aback to be informed, in Bras and Things somewhere in Melbourne, that I am actually a 12B. Ta-da! Not exactly melons, Mum, but definitely large eggs!
While S and I faffed around in adjoining changing rooms, we were subjected to a looped tape of a manically cheerful female telling us of all Bras and Things had to offer. It included something called “level three cleavage”.
When questioned, our flesh-and-blood bra operative said what we were each trying on was level one. She passed me a level three to try.
It barely contained my nipples, so stuffed were both cups with jel and foam and god knows what other packing materials. While the part of me that wasn’t nipple was cantilevered in the direction of my chin. The effect was gruesome. I couldn’t get it off fast enough. I’m fine with level one, thanks. Level one, 12B.