Holding Their Own

Troubles with bras

LORI OSIECKI ILLUSTRATION

My friend Awlette says she puts all her money on her back. By which she means that she spends it on clothes.

The Gunch women put all their money on their fronts. By which I mean they got tremendous gazooms, and all their lives they been searching for a comfortable bra.

My mother-in-law, Ms. Larda, who’s very religious, says the generous boob problem is the Gunches’ cross to bear. I, for one, wouldn’t mind if God gave me that cross.

Me, I’m OK in a K-Mart bargain bra, being as I don’t have that much boob-wise. I don’t have to tame them down or prop them up or nothing like that. I am the oddball out in this family.

Anyway, me and the Gunches happen to be at Ms. Larda’s having coffee and figuring out where we can evacuate to this year, just in case. My sister-in-law, Larva, gets off the subject and starts talking about this new shop right there in Chalmette, which sells just bras. It is called Bella daBraz, she says. They guarantee to fit you perfect and they got all sizes, up to a 77 double J.

Us ladies decide to take a ride over there.

We all want different things in our bras. I want to maximize my assets.

Ms. Larda wants to haul her assets up so they don’t point down at the floor no more.

My sister-in-law, Gloriosa, wants her assets to look intriguing yet ladylike.

And Larva wants hers not to thump up and down every time she walks fast; but she also don’t want a bra so tight she never knows if she’s having a heart attack.

When we get there, I look at the sign. It ain’t spelled Bella daBraz. It is Belle of the Bras. Belle herself runs the place. She turns out to be like the “Soup Nazi,” only with bras.

She looks over the three of us and announces that not one of us is wearing a bra that fits – but she’ll fix that today.

She tells Ms. Larda that she’ll never again have to lift her boob to buckle her belt once she’s wearing the Queen Victoria Bra. And then she clicks through the rest of us: the Lusitania for Larva and the Queen Mary for Gloriosa. When she gets to me she says, “The St. Jude bra. It works miracles.”

She gives us each a bra, points us to the dressing rooms and tells us to bend over and fall into our cups and she’ll come check us, one by one. Poor Larva bends over and falls into her cups and keeps on falling until she’s on the floor and Belle has to come running and haul her back upright again. Happens a lot to the big-busted ones, Belle says.

My St. Jude bra fits real nice; actually gives me a little cleavage, so I decide to go for broke and buy it in three colors. It turns out that each one of us leaves with three bras.

That pretty much broke the bank for me. I lead walking tours in the French Quarter, and this time of year if it ain’t steaming hot it’s raining, so business ain’t good. And I forgot I need a dress for a wedding. My friend Sandy from high school has a daughter getting married (very fancy at the Windsor Court) and I don’t have a decent dress to wear.

Gloriosa says she has one that will look gorgeous on me, and it does, except it has darts in front to outline a bosom that I ain’t got. Even my St. Jude bra ain’t up to it. So she lends me her new Queen Mary. That fills it out fine, but I don’t fill out the Queen Mary. I am going to have to stuff it with something. I look around and I temporarily take leave of my senses and grab a bunch of bubble wrap from some packages I got in the mail. I stuff it in there and it looks terrific. I don’t think of the obvious problem.

So I go to this wedding as a big-bosomed woman. People I ain’t seen in years must think I used Miracle Grow.

But when they hug me, I hear little explosions from the bubble wrap popping. I just hope they think it’s part of the music.

If that ain’t enough, I get a stabbing pain under the bosom. Evidently Queen Mary’s underwire has worked its way loose. I probably stuffed in so much bubble wrap I bent it out of shape.

I slink off to the ladies room, duck into in a stall and look things over. The bubble wrap is so jammed in, I can’t wrench it out; so I got to do a quick breast reduction by popping a lot of bubbles. When I come out the stall, my bosom is half the size and the ladies waiting in line are looking at me weird.

Still, I’m OK for a little while. But the next time I get hugged, I get stabbed again. I give up and go home.

I feel really bad about the Queen Mary, because Gloriosa paid good money for it. Since I broke it, I’ll pay her back if Belle the Bra Nazi won’t fork over a refund.

But when I take off this bra and examine it, the underwire looks just fine. Not bent, not poking out anywhere. I can’t figure it out.

Then when I go to throw out the bubble wrap, I prick my finger. Oh! There is a heavy-duty staple sticking out of it. God knows how that got in there.

Unless ... I’m being told that big boobs ain’t never going to be my cross to bear. Not even bubble-wrap ones. I got to settle for St. Jude.

So be it.

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