The Art of Bra Buying

The Art of Bra Buying

by L. Roger Quilter

“Let me know if you find a size 36B, dear!”

My wife scanned rack after rack of women’s brassieres in a department store, searching for ‘uplifting’ merchandise. Before I could comment, she vanished in a sea of female shoppers.

Sheer, filmy underwear no longer turns me on now I’m in my eighties, and there is something intimidating being a male wandering around the Ladies’ Lingerie department. The thought that a male friend might spot me in a feminine boutique makes me cringe.

“May I help you?” A husky, feminine voice made me turn around to face a sales assistant. Actually, they’re called associates and some are lithe, well-shaped women I wouldn’t mind associating with, but that’s another story! This one was spectacular, blonde hair, green eyes, aged around thirty—damn, younger than my granddaughter.

“I happen to be wearing the same bra your wife is looking for, sir,” she gushed, “just feel the material. It’s wonderful!”

Now I am no prude, but this blatant attempt to seduce me before a crowd of women, shocked me. She knew my wife was in the vicinity, too! She didn’t appear to be the type of girl that would do such a thing, looking fixedly at me, phony smile on her face.

I hastily dropped my eyes, and noted she held a bra in her fingers. If I had touched the one she wore she would have slapped me, disturbing my wife’s concentration on thousands of boob-bags. I would end up in traction. I managed to run my coarse, stubby fingers across that wisp of cloth. It did nothing for me.

“Thank you,” I mumbled. “How much is it?”

She mentioned an astronomical number, far exceeding the funds in my wallet. I slunk away from her, tail between my legs.

There is something about the way women shop that gets on my nerves. Once inside the store, everything that matters goes out of their heads. Family, friends and occupation are forgotten, cast aside like garbage. A nuclear device exploding across the street wouldn’t penetrate the female mind. There might be a slight look of annoyance at the radioactive dust wafting by, and then back to the important things like I wonder if this is too tight? or, I don’t care for the color.

The screeching sounds of wire hangars grabbed by clutching, feminine hands, scraping along metal rods torments me. I feel like leaping up in the air like a disturbed cat. Mind you, my hair could not rise up like a feline’s, as it is very sparse. Discarded items are thrust aside haphazardly as these ladies search for their ‘weapons of man’s destruction.’

They stare fixedly at nothing. One hand cups the other elbow as the other hand touches their lips. There are no frowns or smiles, just a vacant stare; they are completely mesmerized. You could walk up to them, burp in their faces, stomp on their toes, and they would not notice.

Size sixteen women stuffing their bosoms into bras several sizes too small, enhancing their rolls of fat, is supposed to create a sudden urgency in men. They dress in revealing attire emphasizing the feminine shape to attract men, but once a man is in their power they feign a headache!

My wife has no need for headaches. She uses a far more subtle way to subdue me.

“Dear?” I call late in the evening.


I get the message. Now back to the subject of bras.

“I need your help. Can’t you do anything but gawk around? You never give me your opinion.” My dearly beloved has crept up on me.

Give my opinion? I dare not! If I did, she would be back in her trance.

“I wouldn’t be caught dead in that color,” my wife says, “I hate black.”

I refrain from reminding her about the black looks she bestows on me.

Why is style and color so important? Unless a woman is wearing a see-through blouse, bras are never seen except when they are washed.

Women tend to buy a bra that changes the shape of their bosoms drastically. They select a tiny piece of material filled with wire and foam that twists, turns, bends, distorts, flattens or thrusts their mounds of flesh into a different shape. Removing this contraption bring cries of ecstasy as mangled flesh reverts to its natural position, albeit down to their knees. They massage tender areas where the device has rubbed them raw. And you thought that those old methods of torture were gone: the rack, the iron maiden and other evil machines.

There is something intimidating about the frosty glances that women give you as you walk through the lingerie department. That ‘What the hell is a man doing here?’ expression appears on the face of every female, making me feel like I am a would-be rapist, or lecherous molester.

I tell my wife that I feel uncomfortable. “Take your time, dear,” I say quietly, “I’ll be in the bar across the street. Come over when you’re done.”

“OK dear,” she smiles back, “Enjoy yourself.”

For a moment, I am, surprised. Then I realize the bars aren’t open for another three hours. No wonder she doesn’t mind.

Just to annoy her, I stay.

Three hours later, she selects two cheap models and disappears into a fitting room. Another hour passes before she reappears. I have no idea why she spent that long with just two bras. I am even more mystified when she says, “They’re no good. They didn’t fit.”

We leave.

Two days later, my beloved found two new bras, still in their boxes in a drawer. She had no idea she had them. How long they rested there I’m not sure, but I think they had whalebone in them!

◊ ◊ ◊

Leslie R. Quilter
Now in his mid eighties, L. Roger Quilter, a retired Canadian serviceman has written mostly short stories for over thirty years. He writes humorous tales, but THE CRATER is an anti-war themed story about the futility of war. He lives with his wife, Kathleen in Victoria BC Canada.


KJ Hannah Greenberg new book, Friends and Rabid Hedgehogs, just launched. This collection of short fiction includes a work initially published in Flash Fiction Press; “A Line Producer’s Beneficent Notes”. It is available at Amazon in Kindle and print.

4 thoughts on “The Art of Bra Buying

  1. Women’s brassieres? Isn’t that redundant? This story might have seemed amusing in the nineteen-fifties, but it seems old-fashioned now, and insulting to women. I’ve shopped for lingerie with several men. It’s no longer odd for a man to be in the lingerie department. This has a strong “Eek! A man!” feel to it that’s very dated.

  2. Hysterically amusing, we’ll written and all around enjoyable. As a woman I can’t stand wearing those, but unfortunately it’s a necessity.

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