I am a woman of both a certain age and a certain size. These two criteria conspire to keep me in uncomfortable undergarments.
The old standard for measurement (still found in most places) is…

  • Take a snug measurement around your rib cage, under your bust and shoulder blades.
  • Add 5 inches. Example: 40″ + 5″ = 45″ Add another inch to reach an even number.

This clearly requires some lifting, so unless you are standing on your head you will need a third hand. Perhaps a fourth. In the right neighborhoods, volunteers are plentiful.

So you get the girls out of the way and wrap the tape around your ribcage. And then tack on a whomping half a foot.

And the net result is, for me, roughly the girth of a small pony. And a bra that rides up so far in the back that I get hook marks in my neck. For the first 30 years of my bra-wearing life I lived by that number, and spent my waking hours pulling my bra down in back. I still have strangely flexible elbows from decades of reaching and tugging.

Then in 2005 Oprah changed everything. DON’T add the six inches, her experts said. You want your bra band “snug and low.” Translated into real life, that means “too excruciatingly tight to ride up.” But it’s still better than wearing a thick cotton necklace with breastial pendants.

So now I put a vise around my ribs every morning, twitch all day long (seriously, there’s rarely a moment when I don’t notice a band binding, a strap slipping or a cup runnething over), and count the moments until I can take the damn thing off – usually the first order of business when I get home.

Even my husband knows that “the girls are free!” is one of the happiest phrases in the English language.

Once they get a taste of freedom, they desperately want to keep it. So all out-of-house activities are judged on the basis of braworthiness. On most nights I would rather have a bowl of cereal than suit up and go to a restaurant. It isn’t the price of tickets that keeps me out of movie theatres, it’s that Netflix doesn’t require supportive undergarments. And if you’re coming to visit, please call first, so I won’t have to decide at the door if you’re worth a mad dash to the bedroom and bondage.

wow! really, wow! in a good way.

I got a response to my complaint letter to the Mercy Home Therapy Shoppe! And it’s a doozy:

“Thank you for your letter. I am sorry you had a bad experience at the Mercy Home Therapy Shoppe on February 6, 2012. When I read your letter I was extremely disappointed, because this is certainly not the culture or behavior we promote here at Mercy Home Care. I am thankful you took the time to write such a heartfelt letter. This gives us the opportunity to learn, grow and change our behaviors. It is our goal to work as a team to hold each other accountable to provide excellet service for our current and future clients.

I have shared your letter with all the staff at the Mercy Home Therapy Shoppe. They want you to kow they feel remorse over your experience and have all expressed a desire to improve and better serve our patients. I have spoken personally with each of them and will meet with them as a group in the near future to discuss specific ways we can improve the customer service we provide. In addition, I have asked each of them to bring a commitment to serve each of our patients with compassion and respect and to do all they can to meet customers’ needs.

Thank you again for taking the time to write down your concerns and sending them to us. We again apologize for what you witnessed. If you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.”

I’m so impressed! Really, this is the best response to a complaint I’ve ever received. Ever. Take note, companies with crappy employees.