I’m what you’d call well-endowed. Or, if I happen to be walking by and you are drunk or wearing a construction hat, you might call me a brick…house (which, well into motherhood, is A-OK with me, and thank you, sir!)
Dealing with my boobs has been an occupation of mine since they first arrived on the scene — demanding an underwire bra — when I was 12. Hoisting them up, keeping them under wraps, fitting them into shirts without the dreaded button gap. Back when I was an aspiring actress/singer/dancer, I used to bind myself with an Ace bandage, trying to effect a more aerodynamic silhouette. It was a huge no go, as the Ace bandage was no match for my mighty ta-tas, and I would be popping out all over in no time.
I’ve been contemplating breast reduction surgery since my 20s, but I am terrified of general anesthesia. (What if I’m paralyzed but can FEEL EVERYTHING? This could happen, as evidenced by TV.) Instead, I pursue the perfect bra. The Holy Grail of bras. One bra to rule them all. This Avalon bra is supportive, comfortable, cool, and attractive enough that, if a strap should happen to slip out, it doesn’t look like I’m wearing a scoliosis brace. Ideally, it will make me look like a delightful flirty C-cup, like I don’t even need a bra, but choose to wear one just so my perky perfection isn’t too distracting to others.
Assisting me in this quest for the past 6 years is Intimacy, a very posh bra specialty shop on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I first visited them in the summer of 2005, when I was approximately 14 months pregnant during a heat wave. The rack situation had reached unreasonable, watermelon-like proportions (I was a brick…condo complex), and I was chafed, miserable, sweaty and unable to see my feet. The kind ladies of Intimacy got me outfitted in a bra that could double as a baby carrier after the birth, and sent me on my way with instructions to return after the baby came, to get fitted for nursing bras. And return I have, every six months, upping the ante every time in my ongoing quest for the magic bra of transformation. Last time I was there, I spent $200 each on three French bras. They are very pretty, and do many things well, but still — the poke of the underwire, the squeeze of the band.
I despaired. And then there was a miracle.
Like many miracles, it involved the dark, small hours of the night and perhaps a touch too much Maker’s Mark.
Late one night, when Jon and Emmy were sleeping peacefully and I was channel-surfing looking for anything with Russell Crowe in it, I got sucked into an infomercial for the Genie Bra.
Now look, not only am I a very experienced bra shopper, I’m also in advertising, and my mother was an account executive at a private label lingerie company for most of her career. I know bras, I know persuasion, and I know that no good can come from middle-of-the-night drunk ordering.
But these women, they looked so happy. So supported. So cool and comfortable.
I went into some kind of fugue state and ordered SIX OF THEM. For $59.99 (plus P+H).
The next morning I confessed my folly to Jonathan, who laughed heartily and asked if the TV had talked fancy to me. I hung my head, but inside, I dared to dream.
They arrived in about a week. I steeled myself against disappointment, ripped open the package, and pulled one down over my head (they’re styled sort of like a sports bra). There was some adjusting, some pulling and tugging, and then . . . nirvana. I don’t look like a C-cup, of course, and they don’t provide the lift and heft of the $200 French numbers, but they are as promised: light and airy, supportive and comfortable, no digging or chafing.
Jon says they “look like Saturday.” Since they feel easy as Sunday morning, I’m taking that as a compliment.