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My friend from work (who is also a foreign teacher) and I went out for some late night shopping. I had asked her to help me pick out new eyeglass frames since my old ones had broken a couple weeks ago and I was tired of being blind. She agreed to come along if we could stop by the candy shop. We didn’t have a particular eyeglass shop in mind, but we’d been told that a particular mall has a few good ones. We decided to hit the candy shop first, but were having trouble finding it. Along our hunt, we passed many lingerie shops and got into a good long chat about how badly we both needed new bras, but how apprehensive we were about buying them in China.

As if bra shopping weren’t enough of a pain in the butt (or boob if you like), most of the bras here wouldn’t fit the girth of my thigh. Listen folks, I’m not a big girl, but Chinese girls are tiny. They also come heavily padded. Some of them have those gel enhancement inserts that add weight to your bra so you actually feel like you’ve got bigger boobs. It’s very clever, but I don’t like giving false impressions. If you can find the rare bra that isn’t three inches thick in padding, you can bet it’s still a push-up. Apparently, Chinese girls love push-up bras. Heck, what am I saying, everybody loves push-up bras, but these are so damn extreme. Worse than the padding and the weird things that a push-up does to your real boob is all the fabric that goes into making one of these suckers. No matter how much lace or how many gemstones are thrown on, they’re cut like maternity bras. They’re huge. I don’t get it. Even the A cups have three hooks in the back and elastic reinforcements. Maybe it’s a consequential necessity when you load five pounds of gel into each cup.

The more lingerie shops we passed, the more disappointed we got until we arrived at a place called Fandacie, which I assume is a playful spelling of “fantasy.” My friend exclaimed that she recently tried on a Fandacie bra in Guangzhou and that, surprisingly, it fit very well. We went in, forgot the glasses and candy, and starting trying on bras. With the first contender on, I opened the dressing room door and called for my friend to give me her opinion. The sales lady immediately rushed over and started adjusting me. By “adjusting,” I mean that she stuck her entire hand in my bra to smoosh my boob into place. I instantly turned red and told her that even my boyfriend doesn’t make me blush that hard.

I tried on a few more bras, the saleswoman groped me a few more times, I turned a few shades redder, and within twenty minutes, I had two new bras! What can I say? Chinese ladies drive a hard bargain! Truth be told, once I got over the shock of being adjusted, I appreciated her help and admired her hard work. Here’s the really funny thing: I was wrong all along. Both bras are padded push-ups with three hooks in the back, but without a doubt, they are the most flattering, most comfortable bras I’ve ever owned.

After the whole bra ordeal, I remembered that my original mission was to find a new pair of eyeglasses. The Fandacie saleswoman directed us two doors down to the eyeglass shop.

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