So, I’m a bit of a chesty woman.  I say “a bit” when I really mean that the kind of crying childbra I need takes actual engineering.  By engineers.  People who went to school to understand vectors and gravity and geometry.  The sort of thing that they produce is on par with what NASA scientists are working on.  Complete with a price tag just shy of $100.  This being the case, it is perhaps not surprising that I loathe bra shopping like one might loathe small pox or crying children on planes. 


Of course, I know that this is not something unique to me, or even to big-busted women.  While men may assume that they are the only ones who know the thrill of the hunt, we women know how wrong they are.  We simply hunt a different sort of creature.  The acceptable undergarment.  It is a rare and invaluable beastie, often sought and rarely captured.   Once obtained it msnowflakeust be cared for carefully and lovingly.  And once it dies, you can never find another just like it.  Each one is beautiful and unique, as intricate as a snowflake and equally ephemeral.  Thus, I know that it isn’t just the women in the other half of the alphabet who will appreciate my thoughts on this subject. 


As I said, bra shopping has always been a hellish ordeal for me.  It began with a thoroughly humiliating mother who felt that the random fitting room attendant at Wal-Mart needed to be involved in the selection process.  Then, as I…grew…it became less about the embarrassment of consulting someone , and more about the fact that fewer and fewer stores had enough sail cloth in the back to keep the girls under control.  I actually spent several years in high school wearing three bras at once (all the time) to try and keep things reigned in, so to speak.  PE class was sort of like a refined and exquisite torture.  Then I went off to college. 


oprahMy ever-loving mother always kept my problem in the back of her mind.  I would periodically get emails and phone messages telling me about this or that bra that I should try (as though there is a Costco bra sample kiosk I can just swing by).  Then one day I get another email.  This time it is none other than Oprah Winfrey who is telling me that, for those of us with our junk under the hood, our salvation lies at Nordstrom.  Unlike the random fitting room attendant at Wal-Mart, the women at the lingerie counter of Nordstrom have been thoroughly trained and prepared to deal with…large issues.


safariI’ll be honest, my first excursion on the Nordstrom safari terrified me.  All my previous issues with stripping my top off with someone in the room came back to me.  All my current issues of outclassing any store’s ability to help me came back too.  But I am, to quote a friend, a mature, well-put-together woman, so I conquered my fears and entered that fitting room withdr.doom my head held high as a shockingly petite girl with perfect hair and makeup politely asked me to take my shirt off.   She was very sweet and best of all, she was just as helpful and knowledgeable as Oprah promised me that she would be.  That first hunt was extensive and thorough.  We tried many of the little critters and, though the letters kept getting depressingly deeper in the alphabet, we did eventually succeed in bagging the prize.  For the first time in my life I was wearing one single bra that actually made me look like a woman rather than a strange blob person of doom!


I have since made a few more trips to Nordstrom.  I have dealt with a few more cute, petite little sales girls who have all been just as knowledgeable and respectful as the first.  I have captured not just one, but I think six of those precious animals we’re all searching for.  I am now willing to say, with Oprah, that for those of you who are currently hunting, I think Nordstrom lingerie department is a very good idea.  Don’t be afraid.  Though she may look tiny and defenceless, the woman behind that counter is a trained hunter and she will safely navigate you through the treacherous terrain you are facing. 


And so it was that yesterday I set out for another expedition.  I was in need of some support, but I didn’t have the time for an extensive search.  As always my helpful saleslady was right there for whatever I needed, in this case as near unto an exact replica as we could manage.  It was a dynamic shopping experience, the kind with which I am not especially familiar where you go in, get exactly what you want, and get out again.  But then, as she was ringing me up for my merchandise we started talking.  Somehow we managed to get on my favorite topic, comicConTwilight.  Don’t worry, I managed to contain myself.  But from Twilight we segued into just books and things in general.  Turns out Cherise is a bit of a freelance writer.  Beyond that, she reviews things.  Things like movies and books.  She researches these things that she is reviewing.  Really hardcore research, like going to ComicCon.  Yes friends, on a routine bra expedition, I found a fellow nerdette there behind the lingerie counter.  Here’s her website, LoveitLikeitHateit.  I haven’t really looked around too much since I’ve been in a bit of a Chuck coma for the last three days.  But the cursory glance I gave it on my first view revealed a fairly kick-a website.  It’s a bit out of date because apparently her web-girl has had some family issues, but she assured me that it would be live again soon (I can only assume that this means that something has gone wrong in the life of her mild-mannered alter ego; or perhaps she just broke up with Peter Parker?) 


I still find it just the teeniest bit amazing that I found a sister geek on a shopping trip to the mall.  We are everywhere it seems, and we find each other in the oddest places.  Whether it is bra shopping, or standing in line at a Jamba Juice, we put out the geek vibe and we make connections.  It is something that takes strangers and makes them into instant friends, and ladies, I salute us for that.  It is an achievement to be proud of!  So keep your eyes open and you never know who you might meet.