Monday, June 4, 2012

Awkward Shopping Trips: What Breast Friends are For.

My plastic surgeon recently told me that she wants me to buy a bra that is roughly the size and shape that I wish to be next year when the reconstruction done.  Sadly, because of my chest size she will not be able to make my breasts even unless I go a bit bigger than I am.  Also, in the future if I gain any weight I will look strange with a smaller chest and a bigger waist.  Therefore, I am now in the market for bigger breasts.  I have mixed feelings about this, but then again, I tend to have mixed feelings about everything.  At least by providing my plastic surgeon with a bra she has an idea of what to shoot for when she’s pumping me full of saline and also has a limit for how much bigger I want to be. 

As soon as I was diagnosed with breast cancer my friends were super excited about the prospect of helping me pick out new breasts.  Therefore, it only made sense to call these friends and invite them on my breast shopping excursion.  Away we went to a department store looking for a cheap bra that will double as a model for my surgeon.  Two friends opted to come with me (one, I shall call Jane and the other, Joe).  The three of us wandered around the store looking at bras.  Honestly, if anyone ever wants to see how absurd our world really is then they should wander around the lingerie department.  Everything was covered in zebra stripes, sequins, glitter you name it and I bet you could find it there.  Also, why does every bra have so much padding?   To quote a friend’s mother, “There must be several disappointed young men around.”  After some finicky searching, I finally took the few that I found without padding into the dressing room.  This task was awkward because I would try on a bra, put my shirt on over it, and then come out and ask my friends what they thought.  I’m sure that anyone in the dressing room or passing by thought that we were absolutely nuts.  Our comments were not exactly of the usual kind you hear in a dressing room.  However, I did manage to find one bra slightly bigger than I currently am that seemed okay.  You would think that I would be done, but oohhh no, Joe insisted on parading me around the store just to make sure I could be comfortable with these new accouterments.  Joe and I proceeded to the men’s department while I attempted to keep myself from looking like I was wearing un-purchased, over-sized, store merchandise under my clothes.  It has been my experience that this practice is generally frowned upon and I was mortally afraid of getting caught and trying to explain myself to the store clerks.  We continued on to discuss ties and shirts as if everything was cool.  However, it was a struggle to keep myself from crossing my arms over my chest or to keep my face in check. 

On our walk back to the dressing room the unexpected happened.  Someone I went to high school with was waiting outside the dressing room for his girlfriend.  Also, there was a line outside the dressing room, meaning that Jane was stuck inside, guarding my dressing room and that we were holding everyone up.   Not knowing what to do, I had Joe take a sudden hard turn and figured that, maybe if we walked around the store a bit more things would be better and the dressing rooms would be empty (especially of people I used to know) by the time we got back.  Sadly, this did not happen and before I could escape, my brother who had been in the store doing his own shopping elsewhere said, “Look, Michaela, it’s so and so.”  There was no escape this time.  I did what had to be done.  I straightened my shoulders, quickly made sure my oversized bra was straight and marched passed him into the dressing room giving him a quick nod and a “How’s it going?” as I went by. When I rounded the corner into the dressing room I found the door open, but could not see Jane inside.  I peeked around the door and found Jane awkwardly hiding behind the door.  I asked her what she was doing and she explained that she didn’t know what to do as everyone came in and saw her standing there, but not trying anything on.  I asked her why she did not close the door and pretend that she might be trying something on, but she said that she felt it was too late by that time and therefore, could do nothing but stand in the corner hoping we returned soon.  Of course, we did not return quickly because I was desperately trying to avoid meeting anyone I knew.  She was left, standing there hoping that we would return and trying to avoid looking people in the eye.  I quickly changed back into my normal, comfortable bra size and we got out of the store.  So yeah, mission accomplished.  Although, I have to admit, buying new breasts was a lot more fun and even more awkward than I imagined it would be.  

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