I’ve always wondered exactly what Victoria’s Secret was. Now I know.
She has never worn any underwear.
Having just visited the LA store of the same name, it is the only conclusion I can reach. Had I been a hippo in the bra section, or a weasel in the knickers section, there is a chance the garments might have looked halfway decent on me; but as a relatively normal shaped woman, I could not have looked more ridiculous had I strapped myself upside down to a giraffe on roller skates.
I confess to not having worn a bra for over 20 years, and no knickers for 10. It’s not that I’ve been trying to make a statement; just that owing to my broad back, bras always felt uncomfortable and left me with scars; as for knickers: well, did they get smaller, or did I just get bigger?
I suspect that my aversion to bras is because my first one was so small, a couple of contact lenses would have done the job just as well. It was a 28AA white lace doily thing that Mum bought from Marks and Spencer, and I was utterly embarrassed.
My friend Pat had been the first girl in the school to need a bra, and we had all gathered round at break to admire the aircraft hangar it undoubtedly was, so I knew that I was painfully inadequate in that department. I felt rather sorry for Pat’s mother, who must have spent an entire week’s grocery bill on the monstrosity needed to house her daughter’s growing mammaries.
I stopped wearing them round about the age of 30, but as I have been contemplating having a boob job in California, thought I might try something a little less drastic first. Having lost over 2 stone, and now weighing just 7 stone 6 (104 lbs), I fantasised about slipping into the sexiest cups that would instantly transform my 50 year old chest into that of a buxom, desirable 23 year old, and set off for the Victoria’s Secret sale with high hopes.
The last bra I bought cost about £2.99, so a $19.99 reduced price tag didn’t seem much of a bargain to me. Heck, a boob job suddenly looked like the cheapest option. I didn’t even know what size I was. The last time I was measured I was a 36B, and thought that with my weight loss I must be down at least to a 34B.
I rummaged around in the 34B section and came up with a corset type thing, a camel type thing (the animal, not the colour), and a tiger print thing (ditto). I have to call them things because they bore no resemblance to any bra I have ever seen. When I went to try them on, I had to perform my own manual surgery just to cover myself; even then, I looked like two ladles left to melt in a pan of boiling fondue.
I called the assistant, who suggested I try 36B; that meant I would be back where I was 20 years ago, which really depressed me. Not as much as when I asked her to measure me, though, and she declared me to be a 34C: not, it transpired, because I had grown in cup size, but because half my cup had transmogrified and was now well on its way to my back, via my underarms. Only the promise of a dam in which to contain it again seemed likely to convince it to return, and so off the assistant went in search of 36C.
The not very nice bras on offer at 34B were a veritable Impressionist exhibition up against the Salvador Dalis available at 36C. God, they were gross. Gross colours, gross fabrics, gross shapes. Had they been breathing, you would have taken them to the vet to be put out of their misery.
I had been contemplating a D cup, if and when I decided to go under the knife; but as I gathered up my underarm flesh and scooped it into the C cup, I thought that if I could just push a bit up from my now rather loose stomach, I would have enough not only to compensate for a boob job, but top-ups that would sustain the illusion for about the next ten years.
I didn’t even bother looking at the knicker sale, which looked to me like a dental floss convention.
I’m rather depressed about it all. When I was fatter, I had a great, smooth bottom; now, it has so many folds and creases, I could re-market it as a book. My once quite decent breasts are now barely bigger than my ears, and not anywhere near as pert. The reason I stopped wearing underwear in the first place was because nothing fitted me; now I’m thin, and it still doesn’t.
If Victoria has a secret, I’d like to know about it. Because from where I’m sagging, there’s no mystery.