>On Monday, my sister showed me a bridesmaid’s dress that she will wear to a wedding in August. The top was a halter top, and it was cut very low on the sides, exposing my sister’s bra. She thought a new bra would help, and I suggested that we go to the infamous Schartz Intimate Apparel, which has what is possibly the worst website in the history of websites. Schwartz’s is a family business that has been outfitting the boobs of the Chicago suburbs for ages. Generally, my sister loathes going there. She insists that the saleslady, who are typically in their 50s and 60s, purposely feel her up. However, this was a special situation and she agreed that it was her best bet for finding something that would look decent with the top.

When we arrived, I decided that I should buy some new bras as well. I was somehow convinced to buy a ridiculously tight $64 Chantelle bra. I admit that I was dazzled by the bra’s flexibility. The straps could be worn regular bra style, halter strap style, or criss-crossed. While I never seem to need these alternate bra strap styles, I decided that I would save money by buying this magical contraption now, and thus if the need ever arose, I would not have to run out and buy yet another bra. I also bought a less fancy model that was on sale.

The logic of my decision wore off after we left the store, especially when my ribs began hurting when I wore it for a few hours the next day. On Wednesday, I went back to Schwartz’s with my mom to return it. The saleswoman asked me if there was anything I would like to exchange it for, and I decided that I wanted another bra like the one I was wearing, which was the one that I bought on sale on Monday. While standing by the check out counter, I lifted up my shirt. “This one is great. Do you have any more?” I asked. My mom was mortified. “I can’t believe you just lifted your shirt up in the middle of the store!!!” The saleswoman was totally unfazed, though, as were the other patrons. “That style is still on sale. I’ll get you one in beige,” she said and hustled off, and a female customer noted, “We’re all women here – it’s nothing new.”

There was real camaraderie in that moment.