I went shopping for a bra yesterday. After watching me undress to try on the sequins and polyester required to sing barbershop harmony in my group's upcoming show, the costume lady told me I needed a new bra. Something beige. You got a problem with my ten year old white sports bras? Apparently so. So I went to Betty Schwartz, the local chain of lingerie shops for boobs and butts of every size and configuration, hoping to get something that wouldn't cause alarm.
While my daughters and women with men in their lives might choose Victoria's Secret for their panties and other underthings, I've moved on. At my age, bras have one job, and it isn't to be removed in a luxury suite in Vegas. Nope, Betty Schwartz is the intimate boutique for women who've been there, done that. Her stores have all the sex appeal of Home Depot. Well stocked, but no frills. Victoria's Secret on the other hand, is wallpapered in a vaginal pink and smells like a really expensive douche. No thanks. Give me the scent of Latex and foam. Give me racks and racks [pardon the expression] of elastic and microfiber that only an orthopedic surgeon could love. Give me Betty Schwartz. Even the name says, "Sex? You're kidding, right?"
But I have to admit I wasn't prepared for the saleswoman. I thought Betty Schwartz would hire sensible middle aged women who insist that beige your best color. Instead I was looking at someone who had the big blond hair and turquoise painted nails of a carnival worker. Okay, let's be nice -- she looked like a stripper who retired in 1950. In fact, you know the term, blowsey blond? I never knew what blowsey meant until I saw it standing in front of me. A mountain of teased blond hair cascaded past her shoulders, but failed to provide cover for her time-ravaged, though well-lacquered face. And when she spoke, she was channeling Selma Diamond.
I was staring at her in disbelief as she finished doing whatever it was she was doing. "I need a bra. In beige, please. I am not allowed to wear a sports bra for this show I'm in." Show? The saleslady perked right up. We had bonded. After measuring me with a few "tsk tsks" she brought me four of the most humongous contraptions I'd ever seen. Full metal jackets. I couldn't be that big I thought, worried that my chest was going to look like the deck of an aircraft carrier. But after a couple of tries, I was actually surprised to discover that once everything had been folded and stuffed into place, my chest looked years younger. Mainly because everything going down to Florida got moved back up to Northern Illinois. So I bought one with an underwire and one without. One for annoying the airport security people; one for showbiz.
Now you'll have to come to the show to see how good my new bra looks with sequins and polyester. Too bad I'm not telling when or where it is.