This one’s for Stephanie, one the funniest gals I’ve met on WordPress. Sister in writing and in underwear or, I suppose, blogging and bra-gging.
WordPress suggests that I write about my strongest memory of heart-pounding belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did I respond?
Q: What caused the adrenaline?
A: I wanted to ask my Mom when I’d get a bra.
Q:Was it justified?
A: Of course. I needed to have “the talk” and didn’t have the vocabulary.
Q:How did I respond?
A: I nearly fainted.
When asked the questions above, I wracked my brain to recall a time when knickers were a-knot and tummy a-flutter. Nothing surfaced. In most situations, I’m one cool cucumber. Or a class clown, take your pick. Either way, I never shy away from public speaking or performance. I’m not particularly well-spoken, or captivating in a role. It is simply this: I have a well-developed ham-bone.
When have I been really nervous? When did I faint? Once, post dental surgery I nearly blacked out, but that was the drugs. Then there was the time during a spectacular thunderstorm, the hair stood up on the back of my neck. A lightning bolt just missed our house. The hair-raising event was more the mechanics of a thunderstorm than sheer nerves. That said, science was not much comfort during the rest of that storm which I spent under the covers, whimpering like a puppy.
Then I remembered: the time that I finally screwed up my courage to ask Mom about getting a bra.
I would have been 11 or 12 and was one of the few girls in my grade who had not yet “matured” beyond the undershirt. Since it was a topic in the coming-of-age stories in books and teen magazines, I identified strongly with the Ugly Duckling and wallflowers. On one hand, I was mortified that the boys made a game of snapping a girl’s bra straps, but at the same time, I craved that attention.
I hesitate to confess: my brothers were not the only ones who lingered over the lingerie pages of the Sears catalogue. But it’s true. I wanted so badly to wear a bra. The idea consumed me and morphed into an obsession.
But how to go about getting one? The only way to the shops was through the lady of the house, the keeper of the purse and the purchaser of all things lingerie related.
So, ask already, you say. What’s the big deal?
I didn’t know how. Mom and I had not yet had “the talk”. (Nor would we, as it turned out. She plunked down a pamphlet from her girlhood and said, “Read this”, and that was all there was to my sex education.) The obsession was not only about possessing something, it was coloured through and through by a blend of shame, desire, and a measure of excitement.
I rehearsed my speech and waited for the right timing. Finally, the moment arrived. Mom was at the stove situated just inside the doorway leading to the front hall. I stood at the threshold (oh, come on, how corny is that?) and hung onto the jamb for dear life. I rocked back and forth. I addressed her in a voice just a notch above whisper.
“What?” Abrupt. She was busy.
Swallow. Rock. Swallow.
And then I started to black out. My eyesight blurred and my ears buzzed. All the while I was swallowing and rocking, I had forgotten to breathe.
“What is it, Margaret? Make it quick, I’m busy.”
The jolt of her words slapped me out of my dilemma.
Recovered, I finally blurt, “When am I going to get a bra?”
“When you need one.”
With that she turned from the stove and carried on with her chores.
At the time, I thought, “Not the right answer, Mom!” But I was not going to argue. I took the dismissal as a lucky break and skedaddled back to my room.
Today, I see that she rescued me from my overwrought self. Jean The Pragmatic had reduced my overblown obsession into a simple matter of timing.
Sometime afterward I got my bra. I have no recall of the event. I can only imagine it was slightly more involved than shopping for underwear or socks. It was a “training” model. Unlike my friend Stephanie, I did not require the use of the word cleavage until my forties. Today it would seem that I can claim more than a well-developed ham bone!
Ugly Duckling http://www.dailymail.co.uk/
Queen of Hearts http://thedisneyvault.webs.com/