14 September 2007

Only so much patience

Yesterday's bra shopping excursion was sans boots. Familiar self-conscious, shallow breathing, overwhelmed person- ah! there you are.

I had tried to psych myself up for the outdoor outlet mall. Maybe there'll be a cute girl working at the Calvin Klein Underwear store. Then I'll be willing to ask for help looking and with sizes.

What if it's some disgruntled, 45 year old, chain-smoking woman?

No, cute girl. Think positive.

What if she's really cute? Do I really want to be the spaz who can't find a bra?

It could be a funny how-we-met story, I guess...

In the final stretch approaching the store, I thought, Oh god, what if it's a boy? They carry men's and women's underwear. Some aloof, sleek, black haired, could-be-a-model with scorn in his eyes. I stopped and forced myself to breathe.

He could be gay! Ok, an obvious gay boy- that would work. No wonder Queer Eye was so popular.

In reality, she was standing in the open CKU doorway, soaking in what she could of some gorgeous fall weather, when I approached. She was young and good looking, but more than anything else, I registered her intense I-don't-want-to-be-here vibe. Of course. What was I thinking? It's fucking retail.

Two women, friends, were consulting with each other on various bras hanging on the wall. The store was the size of shoe box, men's on the right, women's on the left. There was a large poster of a sculpted male body in underwear advertising some new "pouch" style. The young woman who worked there returned to the back behind the counter. An open door behind her lead to storage and an unfinished back area. To her right, was another white door, closed, with a black scuff on it near eye level.

That might be a dressing room. It doesn't say so though. I couldn't bring myself to ask, so I looked at the wall of bras and kept track of the other shoppers in case they went to try something on. They didn't; one just picked some things out and bought them.

The store didn't carry the t-shirt bra that Jenny had recommended or the other style I'd been interested in from their website, so I bailed. The place was too cool, compact, and intimidating for me.

I felt like a wuss when I walked outside, but the sun felt nice on my face, the air, cool and fresh. I would try again.

To temper my anxiety and frustration, I decided to walk the entirety of the outlet center, stopping in anywhere that struck my fancy. In a somewhat masochistic twist considering my abysmal shopping record with shoes, I found myself looking for a hot pair of knee-high boots.

It was an externalized attempt to recreate the confidence I'd felt the day before in footwear a bit more comfortable. Also technically, my cowboy boots are shoes that just look like boots under long pants.

Back in San Francisco, I had once borrowed an exquisite pair of black, leather, calf-encasing boots with a chunky 4 inch heel from my bud Chala. Despite being difficult to walk in, they were pretty spectacular. I've often thought that if I had the right pair of boots, I might actually wear skirts. Shoes have always been a major stumbling block to dressy attire for me.

Flats, pumps, heels: they just aren't my style. Tall black boots with a square toe and say, a chunky two inch heel, that I could do. As typical of my shoe shopping experiences however, no one had anything remotely like I wanted in a size I could wear. I knew I disliked the hunt for bras even more than shoes, but I hadn't expected it to be for most of the same reasons.

I looked in the remaining three "intimate apparel" stores, even trying on several bras at one where I was totally fine with no saleswomen offering to help me. Sometimes (i.e., all too often), I'd just rather do things the hard way.

In the end, all I purchased were some birthday gifts: one more for Mom, and two for me. I just can't pass up $2.99 hard cover books from Borders's outlet store.

One year ago at TTaT: Coolness
Technorati tags: , , , ,


  1. i love women wearing boots!

  2. well, it happens to be what i like to see too...

    ps. the second part of my name got cut off last comment...