Oh Lord - it's a task I can put off no more. Me boobs need some new uplifting support.
Anyone else out there hate shopping for new bras? No need for the men to respond here, unless you really want to, or have a great story to share - in which case, please let rip with all the juicy details.
Now - I should start off by reminding you that I am British and therefore my bust has been lovingly looked after, lacily dressed and received unfailing support from Marks & Spencers for as long as I can remember. With matching knickers of course. You've got to match. M&S is synonymous with women's underwear. There is no other.
I should also add (to great sighs of relief, no doubt) that there will be no photographic evidence of my own on this particular entry. Any weird voyeurs out there will have to make do with cut and paste adverts.
So - I live in Canada now - where M&S is no more. I have managed to last nearly three years without purchasing a new bra here. Now, before you all log off, horrified at the thought of my ancient underwear, visualising some grey-just-about-hanging-together bit of knackered fabric holding me in place, I would like to state for the record that I have purchased new bras on several occasions in those three years. But I cheated and bought them in the UK - just picked up replacements of the same ol', same ol' when I was back there for holidays ('cos that's what you do when you go on holiday, isn't it? Fill your suitcase with new bras. OK, that's just me then).
So I have been scouting out the talent, so to speak. I have dismissed La Senza which appears to stock the same "t-shirt" bra in 73 colours and would never normally frequent stores like Walmart for boob coverage because I have a snobbish aversion to cheap fabric triangles wrapped in clear cellophane.
Independant, pretty stores are built for petite women with no need of anything bigger than a 34B. So that's me out then.
I took a recent glance around the lingerie department at the The Bay - where the range and choice is vast, if not a little pricey. All the recognisable, international brand names in a variety of colours, leopard print fabrics (I'm too old to get away with the trashy-sexy-possibly-a prostitute look), bras of seemingly improbable designs and then there are the matching knickers for a mere $80 each.
Now all I have to do is just hazard a guess at the most appropriate cup size I am aiming for (cos those ladies that measure never get it right anyway) , and then take a selection of about ten bras into a changing room. Then begins the battle to wriggle myself and my boobs into submission - all the time trying not to dislocate a shoulder or scare some small child when the changing room curtain wafts open, releasing the girls into full view.
Speaking of bra designs, have you seen all the names for bras these days? No wonder I am feeling daunted at the prospect. Who invented padded bras then, eh? If there is one thing I do not need, it's extra fabric stuffed down my blouse.
And push-up bras? Plunge bras? Cleavage is good in the right circumstances, but boobs shoved up under my chin is neither flattering (because I have three chins there already) nor comfortable. And I really do feel sorry for the poor bloke or girl who thought they were getting the real deal, but when they got back to the bedroom, the real tragedy collapsed somewhere down near the belly button. It's just false advertising really.
And how come my hair doesn't swish gently in the breeze like this blonde purring madam? And if the wind machine was going that strong in the studio, where are her chilly nipples? See, false advertising. It'll come to no good.
Balcony bras ? They're the ones I used to be able to wear one bra and three cup sizes ago. I was vaguely cute and pert once. It was a Wednesday in 1984.
Sports bras? Oh sexy mama!! Bloody marvellous invention when you find the right one though. Not that I advocate exercise too often. It's not good for you, and the red ring left around your rib cage when you remove said sports bra is like a branding symbol for about 24 hours, due to the incredible grip and feat of engineering it had to complete when you dared to jump up and down, go running or touch your toes.
Racerback, demi cup, convertible, diamante straps, hooks, clips and gel padding...My head hurts!
C'mon ladies, I can't be the only one that dreads this one particular shopping expedition. Share your boobalicious stories with me and give me strength to brave the lingerie department once more.