She's standing there, young, beautiful... just ask her. There's nothing wrong in asking, this is the place people come for such things. So, why are you nervous? You take a deep breath, she looks up and smiles, which should make it easier, but you croak a little as you say "I was just wondering if you...erm...do ... bra measuring?".
There's a pause and she slowly replies "No. We don't offer that service here", looking about as if she's locating the switch to open that hole in the ground beneath you. You've not said anything wrong, you're surrounded by beautiful little lingerie that you could have had a future with... so why do you feel... deviant?
WHY is getting measured for a bra so HARD? Hardly any shops offer it, and often lingerie shops are staffed with women whose breasts haven't moved a millimetre since they sent in their final note excusing them from PE. I'm at a stage where I need my boobs measured EVERY TIME - 43, on my second bout of extended breastfeeding after a six-year gap, with baps that go up a cup and back again one week every month - I don't so much have a bra "size" as an approximate range of co-ordinates. It would be easier to land a jump jet in my cleavage than guess if that bundle of lace will support dear Charlie and Lola. (These were the names my daughter gave to my bosom, which is awkward when I ask in public if my baby wants some Charlie).
ALL shops which sell these pieces of engineering need a qualified fitter. I don't mean a Saturday girl who thinks "tape measures" are the amount of alcohol you drink before allowing yourself to be videoed. Nothing against them, I just feel cruel showing a girl whose gorgeous boobs stick before her with a verve for the future, a bosom with a rather longer CV. I want to be measured by a woman in her 80s, whose breasts have lived the equivalent of a Ray Mears survival challenge. Who can handle a tape measure like a lasso, because she can make a dress out of a curtain and a doily. I can't even make a dress out of a dress.
Or measured by someone who adores the female form in all its lopsided glory, knowing we don't all look like a Rubens or a Botticelli, but some a Dali (which reminds me, I must buy some ant killer...). Someone who knows how to make all of us look our best. Station Gok Wan in every department store in Britain! You may think he'd be too busy, but seeing he's playing out his career advertising yoghurt that clears your bowels, I think he'd be thrilled.
And can we have bras that care for our soft pals? Walk into any underwear section and you're faced with wired, angry, solid armour- rows of them, coming towards you like a terracotta army, you feel like fleeing to the sock department screaming "They're alive! They're aliiiiiive!".
Who decided that breasts needed to be caged? Were breasts roaming free, savaging passing babies, until cornered by a torch carrying mob chanting "Muzzle it!"? My boobies are my friends, and you don't keep friends wired up in cages, unless you're Clarice Starling.
How did we get here? The softest part of your body, in need of the most protection which docs advise must not receive any trauma - "yeah, stick a wire round it, some thin, sharp metal, hang on, have this one, I'll just take my kebab off it..." What was rejected? Broken glass? Spare carpentry vices?
Maybe we need only women to make bras? Sorry to be sexist, I mean, I do know many men have breasts, but they seem to get all their support through consistent beer use.
The only time men have their undies wired up and solid is when someone's going to swing a cricket bat at them. My Bristols don't face daily attack from planks of wood, there are no flying picket fences, we are not having a hurricane, and if we were, the only clothing I want to prepare for it is a pair of red glittery shoes.
I can have people falling at my feet without wire in my bra thank you, especially if I take it out and stretch it across doorways. And if you can't bear the thought of losing your pre-shaped, solid cups, why not offer your vest to two hibernating tortoises this winter? It will look the same and you'll no longer waste the lettuce you pick out of your burger.
Of course I need some construction, a flood barrier to stop all my flesh pooling in my midriff. I've tried "soft bras" and had more support from the napkin tucked in my neck. The choice is a meccano set, or a delicate wisp of nothing... "Here's Madeleine with your soft bra, can you stand completely still whilst she blows the smoke rings at you?"
Fulfil my list of demands ASAP please. I'm a busy woman, I have less time than a Snapchat, and I really, really need a bra!
As many Snapchat users will testify.Suggest a correction