Friday, May 12, 2006

Shop drop and...return.

Wal-Mart. I’m on my way to tablecloths and kitchen chair cushions, but get side-tracked in ladies underwear. It's this sick obsession with finding bras that are not sport-style pullovers or body armor with padding so thick you could use them as floatation devices. (We are evacuating the plane. Please put on your life-bras and exit in an orderly fashion.) I’m bloody fascinated by these things. Today, I braved touching one, just to see… And yes, they are three inches thick. You could ship dinosaur eggs in these without fear of breakage. They are more appliances than underwear. What happens, I wonder, the first night you decide that a man you’re dating is worth taking off your clothes for? What look is on the man's face when you undress and remove your... breasts? Just a thought, just a thought. Never mind. You know how I digress. On to the tablecloths.

Jogging the requisite half mile to the back of the store, I wander around blinded by towering walls of fake flowers so lurid they approach menacing….move on to the notions isle of the sewing section and discover that the lowly snap is extinct and has been replaced entirely by ugly Velcro fastenings. Soon, shoelaces will be an endangered species. I spy an area that looks like it has householdy stuff and travel through the country of Beds in Bags and its neighbor, Towels and Shower Curtains. Finally, I find tablecloths.

None of them are navy blue, which is what I need. They are sage green. And maroon. Mostly. I locate blue striped woven cushions, a couple white lace tablecloths, and a table “runner” – an idiot item I’ve never considered owning before but which coordinates with the cushions. And then, without even having to consult Map Quest, I blunder my cushion-bulked way to the cash and get the hell out of Dodge a hundred dollars poorer.

Drag the loot home and wrestle packaging, fishbone tags, and cardboard inserts. Everything is wrong. The chair cushions stick out five inches beyond the edge of the chairs. The “runner” is as stupid an idea as I originally thought it would be. The colors are wrong. So very very wrong. And what would be better? Plain navy blue. Why didn’t I think of that? Oh.

And, by the way. I found a bra. It was the right size, black, not ugly, didn’t have padding and hooked at the back. When I tried it on at home, I found that the straps were designed for a woman whose breasts emerge slightly below her chin. And that “firm support” means “ Skin abraiding elastic and cups made from the finest ground glass.”

I’m beginning to believe that this consuming thing is not as satisfying as it should be. Could that possibly be?


Katie said...

Ironic you should mention the bra dilemma. After literally months of searching, I finally found one that does not pinch, bunch, bulge, constrict, over-enhance, or under-enhance. Its really quite the workout. On to other things though, I loved the post. I got caught up in your day at WalMart and thoughroughly enjoyed myself! I hope you soon find the home decor you need :)

Georgette said...

Haha! Terrific post! You bring back the WalMart Shopping Experience perfectly! There are no Walmarts where I live now (India) and as much as I loved to hate them when I was home, I must say I am feeling rather nostalgic for them now!

Koru's Daughter said...

"I’m beginning to believe that this consuming thing is not as satisfying as it should be. Could that possibly be?"

No! How dare you think that! If you continue this strange line of faulty thinking, big marketing brother will interrupt your entertainment every 15 minutes with the message that you can not be happy until you spend.

The perfect combintion of stuff = happiness. Also, the perfect combination of stuff keeps changing. Never forget that.

Mary said...

Bra shopping ... not for the fainthearted, and this is no doubt particularly the case with Walmart - I don't know, I've never bought one from its UK equivalent.

May the shopping gods be in a better humour on your next outing.

Can you take the stuff back for a refund?

LJ said...

A Girl - Honey! You didn't buy five? It'll be 10 years until you find another one that fits!
Georgette. Good grief. You can HAVE Wal-Mart. Just give me a few of your outfits. How stunning they are!
KD - I was waiting. You wouldn't be worth your Ps, Hs, and Ds if you didn't comment on this one.
Mary - All taken back, as you can see.
Not that that was my dream way to spend my time. And I KNOW better than to buy a bra there. It's my own fault.
Payment for impatience, all around, this experience. And a sign from the universe that I should live in a pup tent and wear long-johns and a parka.

Jess D'Zerts said...

Ah, so, we have found our way back to the subject of underwear, always good for a bellow and a hoot, although that photo looks more like sculpture than lingerie. Before my trip, I was picking up a few things at the elegant French shoppe, Tarzhéy, and thought I would consider purchasing a bra in some lovely color, the reason being I had two sleeveless tops I wanted to pack but both tend to permit peeks at bra straps. Being rather old-school, I think it's gauche when your outerwear doesn't cover your underwear, with the one possible exception being that you are wearing underwear that's designed to be seen. Well, I found a baby blue cotton knit bra which was perfect with the blues of the two tops, its only flaw being underwires, a concept I will never understand. It seems to me for that structural concept to actually be of use, you would need not just a borderline but a whole cantilevered fence to hold the goods. But hey, whatever, the price was right and I personally didn't need the fence or the wire, just the blue straps and some gentle containment. I did set off the metal detector trying to get out of Mexico, but after three trips through the doorway, I think they were afraid of what I might take off next, so they just gave up and let me go.

LJ said...

Jess. Seeing an area the size of a city block displaying these things is absolutely surreal. I get into my try-to-find-one-single-deflated-bra mode immediately.
And the underwires work. I'm not sure of the architectural principle involved, but they seem to do the trick. And yes, they set off alarms. If you visit a prison wearing one - you'll likely lose your visit going through the metal detector with support system. (In case a prison visit - or another border crossing - is in your future plans. Similar experiences in some ways.)
I had to laugh, picturing you going through the metal detector over and over - disrobing with each trip.

mauser*girl said...


I absolutely understand your bra woes. Why is it nobody can make a bra that is nice, comfortable, AND fits well? Is that so hard? That should be a very, very basic thing.

My biggest gripe with bras is that the straps either make my breasts hang much further south than they should be, or they're so short that not only are my breasts smooshed upward, but the back of the bra is riding up as well becoming thoroughly uncomfortable.

Those padded foam bras just frighten me. I tried one on for the sheer hell of it two years ago just before Halloween. I already have pretty big bosoms, but with that thing on I was knocking things over. I was getting in my own way. Needless to say, I didn't buy it. It still scares me.

LJ said...

Got me laughing, MG. The one I bought (and returned)"smooshed upward". Honestly, I put the stupid thing on and suddenly points were emerging from slightly under my collar bones. I figure even a 14 year-old ain't that damn perky. Not to mention the discomfort of having body parts hoisted into unnatural places. You must have been pretty comical on Halloween. Did you wear it with a drindl?

phlegmfatale said...

the perfect bra has always been a brutal quest, many a pitfall along the path. *sigh*

Tablecloth quest not much better