Holding Up

Never did I think I would show up on “People of Walmart.” 

My mother-in-law, Ms. Larda says it is my own fault. 

I got to explain.

I bought a bralette— you know, a little elastic bra with no hooks or nothing. Slips over your head like a t-shirt. They are supposed to be very comfortable. For some reason, I mentioned it to her.

Well. The minute I say “bralette,” Ms. Larda’s hair practically stands on end.  And then, out of the blue, she goes on a rant. 

“Bra-LETTE? Bra ain’t good enough? Now it’s bra-LETTE?

“Back when I had boobs that meant something, I stuffed them into a brassiere. Brassiere. Not even a bra.”

“Brazier?” I say —“the thing  in a fireplace?”

“I don’t know about fireplaces wearing them, but WE did,” she says.

 There’s no stopping her.

“And we bought them in the Foundations Department at nice stores like Krause’s, not no Vic-tor-i-a’s Secret. Foundations. What goes under and supports everything. Brassieres didn’t let nothing flop around. 

“And we had girdles made from steel elastic. They flattened your stomach like a board, and made  your backside firm as a football fully inflated. No jiggling allowed.

Strapped up in one of those things, you could take on anything. Maybe that’s why we had less problems with that  ‘me too’ stuff that men try to pull these days. Girdles and good manners. That stopped them. 

 We were women of steel. Now we are women of jiggle and flop.

Now they wear — what— Spanx? I don’t like the sound of that.”

“‘Flat Gut; Great Butt,’ that’s their motto,” I say.

“Just like loading a streetcar,” she says. “Push it to the rear.”

“Used to be, you wanted to minimize your rear end. Nowadays, the bigger the butt the better. We weren’t even allowed to SAY butt. We said hiney. 

Then the hippies changed everything.

I don’t know if anybody actually burned their girdles back when they burned their bras. I heard some did. It would have have stunk, all that rubber.

Anyway, they thought they were free FREE FREE of all them restrictive underthings. Then they looked in the mirror.

And now we have Spanx. And bralettes. 

I don’t know if it works for Spanx, but you could hide $10 bills in a girdle. For emergencies. It was a lot more reliable than putting it in your brassiere.  Once that $10 bill was wedged in, it stayed. It was a little sweaty when you finally pulled it out, but you could just wave it around in the fresh air. 

And I’ll tell you this; before driers, when we put underthings out on the clothesline to dry, we hung them inside a pillowcase for the sake of modesty.

And by the way, we never had to shave our private parts.” 

That gives me something not to think about.

Next day, I wore my new all-elastic bralette to Walmart. I am not particularly endowed boob-wise, so I always slip in contoured boob pads to fill things out. I should have skipped the boob pads that day. 

What happens is, I got pickles on my shopping list, and they are way up on the top shelf. I stretch up for them, and —  thwack!— my bralette slides up above my boobs.

I grab it through my clothes to pull it down, but it fights me. It wants to stay right up there under my collarbone.  It must look like I got two sets of breasts, one above the other.

You can’t wrestle with your bralette too long in a public place. I know I have to get to the restroom, which is a few acres away on the other side of the store. So off I go, clutching my purse up high under my chin, which I hope might hide the top set of boobs. Finally, in a stall, I manage to fix the thing without strangling myself. 

But somebody already saw me.

Next day, my daughter informs me I have gone viral.  

They say we only get 15 minutes of fame. I am counting on that. 

I wonder if anybody still sells brassieres.


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