Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mama and the W.onder.B.ra

Mama's hard on her clothes. Really, really hard. If there's a shirt she likes, she will wear it every single day. Every. Single. Day. And she'll, occasionally, sleep in her clothes. We try to catch it, and get her to change into her pajamas, but dang. She is hard on her clothes.

Most of all, Mama is hard on her brassieres. Now, you know how, sometimes, after too many washing and too much wear, the hooks from a bra will start to become misshapen? Mama's go straight. As in uncurled, flat, straight. I still haven't figured out how she accomplished that trick.

A few weeks back, Mama and I went shopping. I took her to a local outlet mall because they had a big bra shop. Mama is a 38A, just to overshare. It's hard to find her size.

When we arrived, I had her fitted, just to be sure. (Yup. 38A). "We're you looking for anything in particular today?" the salesgirl (she was in her teens; I can say 'girl').

"I'm looking for a man," says Mama. (It's her usual response. Sexual urges do NOT go away, it seems).

Now, I'd like to interrupt this anecdote and mention a few things: first, a description of Mama. She's 81, a little over 5 foot tall, and a bit thick. (She weighs twenty pounds more than me, and I've got about 4 or 5 inches on her.) She demands to be taken to the beauty parlor whenever she notices her roots growing in (Vainful urges do NOT go away, it seems) and no matter how we beg and please with the hairdresser, Mama always comes out a redhead. A really RED redhead. Add to this a little rosacea, orange nail color and a too bright lipstick (someone, somewhere slips her the lip paint: I have yet to track them down) and you've got Mama. She's also prone to break out in song or dance when she feels like it. Not a shrinking violet, not your typical frail old lady, that's my Mama.

"I'm looking for a man," says Mama to the teen-age salesgirl, who takes one look at Mama and points her to the W.onder.bra.s.

"Um, NO," I say, valuing my marriage and knowing that my husband will not appreciate me bringing his sainted mother home all tarted up. But Mama was intrigued and started for them. Again, please note: I usually put Mama in the wheelchair for such excursions, so for Mama to "start moving toward the display" involved her having to figure out how to (1) unbuckle the chair's seat belt (2) stand without assistance (3) walk without support. All of which she did, none of which is an everyday occurrence.

Behold the power of the W.onder.bra.

I direct her to the moderate ones. Simple designs that are not too daring. Neutral colors that kind of match her skin tone. Calm bras that will not get me in hot water with her son.

"I want that one!" she cries. And selects this one:

Oh, God.

I'm dead.

I try to get her to reconsider. I tell her it's a push up bra (which it is). I tell her it's too provocative (which it is). I try to reason with the Alzheimer's patient.

It's hard, if not impossible, to reason with an Alzheimer's patient.

"They don't have your size," I say, finally.

"Oh, no," corrects the salesgirl. "Here's a 38A." And hands it to Mama. "Would you like to try it on?"

I mean, really. Where's all that crappy customer service I've come to EXPECT in a New York City Shopping Mall?

I accompany Mama into the changing room, and she encounters an obstacle that she can't overcome: the clasp. Her "old" bras are the sturdy standbys. Lots of give and plenty of buckles. The W.onder.Bra is not nearly as forgiving. In short, she can't get it on.

I suppose a different person would have just said, "hey! It's broken! We're done!" and wheeled her over to the 18-hour category. But we'd gotten this far... so I helped her into it.

And watched her fall in love.

"Nica! Look! I am sexy!" She admired herself from several angles. She even dug out her glasses so she could see clearly, then whipping them off because they spoiled the, um, sexy look she was going for.

I tried to talk her into the more moderate bra, but it backfired on me: she would take those she said, but the animal-print one as well.

Oh, goody.

And then she refused to take the bra off.

"Um, Mama," I try to reason with her. We have to take it off so we can pay for it.

"I show them," she reasoned, "and you pay."

"But what about this?" I ask, fingering the anti-theft device firmly snapped to the bra.

Mama shrugged. "They take care of it."

I'd had it. I got Mama dressed, and rolled her out to see the ever-helpful salesgirl.

"Please tell her that she has to take the bra off to buy it," I ask politely.

"Nope!" says the salesgirl, not getting me. "All I need is the tag!"

Mama raised her shirt, in the middle of the store. I headed to the checkout line, pulling her shirt down as I went.

"Well, what about the anti-theft device?" I asked. "Can you take THAT off? Or should we take the bra off so that you can remove it?"

"Hmm," thought the salesgirl, her creaseless forehead creasing. "Well, if you don't mind having it, I can leave it on..."

"Good!" cried Mama and off we went, triggering every alarm in every store we went to for the rest of the day.

And now she wants to get something "low cut" to show off her breasts.

Help me.


squarepeg said...

priceless!! I'm not so much a believer in god and heaven and all that, but if I'm wrong - you'll be there.

seriously nice - a book. Please. I want to read it...

Knock Me Up said...

Love it! Gorgeous bra -- and her son shouldn't be seeing her bra so he can't yell at you. This is a girly thang!

Thanks for your comment on my blog. Always happy to see a fellow New Yorker in the mix.

I'll be checking in.

Heather said...

I love, love, love your stories. It reminds me of my great aunt.

tipsymarie said...

That is hilarious! I came to your blog by . . looking for two pink lines, I think.

Dianne/Flutter said...

OH MY G-D! Thank you for sharing it....that is histerical! Give Mama a big hug for me.

Sarah said...

this is the first time i've visited your blog and i'm so glad i stopped by. i so needed this kind of hilarity today (sorry it's at your expense). but thank you!

SULLY said...

Thank you for a much, much, much needed laugh today. This is a moment that in the future you will look back on and laugh about.

Go momma! Thats all I have to say!

Bea said...

This is hilarious! I've sent it to the Mr to read. I guess you can't complain your life with MIL isn't interesting... Whether you consider interesting to be a good thing...