Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fitting Room Epiphanies: Part 2

Because I don't know exactly who is reading my blog at any given post, my disclaimer is this: I will be talking about bras and very bold bra fitting room attendants in this post. Just in case any males or family members or those who are prone to awkwardness wish not to proceed.

Her name was Martha.

I know this not because I asked her, or asked for her help in any way. She basically screamed this to me across the lingerie department as soon as my foot crossed the Dillard's threshold.

She seemed innocent enough. After all, Martha was pushing 80 and by all accounts looked like a frail little old person that you think will snap in half if you shake their hand too hard.

I didn't even go into the bra department on a mission or anything like that. I just thought, Hey, I could probably use another good bra. She didn't even give me time to get to a rack of Maidenforms before Martha was on me like flies on shit.

Are you looking for anything in particular?

Can I help you find a size?

By the way, sweetheart
(I hate when people call me sweetheart; strike one, Martha)......I'm a certified brassiere fitting specialist!

I had a couple of problems with Martha already after this first encounter.

1. She called me sweetheart. I get it, she's old, but it still kind of chaps my ass.

2. She used the word brassiere. Again, yes she's old, but come ON Martha. It's like I needed to coax her out of 1938 before we could move on.

3. What in the HELL requirements qualify an individual to be a "certified brassiere fitting specialist"? Having a tape measure in your hand at the time when you made your claim? Having seen a lot of boobs in your day because you're 200 years old? Having the name Martha and being the only employee currently working in the Dillard's "intimates" department?

I managed to shake her and meander around the racks for 15 minutes or so. I accumulated about 6 or 7 specimens and headed to the fitting rooms. (Which were very obviously located directly behind the register, but Martha still pointed them out to me and called them *her* fitting rooms.)

So there I am, in my horrendous fitting room. Flourescent lights, grimy moist-feeling department store carpet, not enough clothing hooks, check-check-check.

I heard a woman rustling around in the room next to me. Good, I thought. I hate being alone in public bathrooms and in fitting rooms. My irrational paranoia inevitably creeps in and taints my experiences in them.

I hadn't even tried on one bra when I heard Martha basically sprinting past my room to this poor woman next to me. Apparently she had not escaped into the fitting rooms Martha-free like I had. The following is an approximation of the conversation I heard going on between Martha and this doomed soul next to me.

Martha: Do you have it on? (she does not wait for a response) .....I'm coming in!

Martha: Oh now that is just beautiful! That is JUST... BEAUTIFUL! And those are perky! Oh and look at that nice tan you have! Did you just come back from the beach?

*various noises: the popping of bra straps, indistinguishable sounds coming from the woman, Martha's feet scuffling all about the dressing room, someone exclaiming "oops!", nervous laughter, etc.*

Woman: I don't know, this one doesn't really feel right.

Martha: Oh no! You just don't have your breasts in it correctly. You need to JIGGLE them!

You can use your imagination as to how the conversation continued after that. And it repeated itself over and over again. Martha would run scurrying from the fitting rooms, come back with new garments, and that poor woman would be back at square one.

Meanwhile, I've tried to stay as silent as I possibly can, contorting my body into bras so that the straps wouldn't snap and nothing would make noise and give me away.

But then my phone rang.

I could curse Steve Miller Band to hell for "The Joker" blasting out of my Blackberry at full volume at that particular moment. I would also curse the person who called me, but Suz is a saint and I would never do that. Plus, how could she possibly have known the crazytrain that was about to make its next stop in my dressing room?

The next 5 minutes went by in a blur.

Martha rapped on my fitting room door. Martha asked if I was doing okay. Martha did NOT wait for a reply. Martha is literally inside my fitting room with me. A tape measure appears out of nowhere. I am being felt up by an 80 year old woman. I am wrapped in her tape measure 4 different times. Martha gets to second base! Martha yells at me for wearing the wrong bra size "my whole life." Martha performs the "scooping" maneuver on me. I am scarred for life by Martha's scooping of my girls. Other "bra fitting" procedures occur.

Martha finally left my dressing room. I had been prodded, fondled, and measured by her. The last time I was so thoroughly investigated, I had just come out of the womb.

To my horror, Martha repeated this process with me, much like she had with my dressing room neighbor, for a solid 30 minutes.

I didn't sign up for this shit. I had innocently strolled into Dillard's for a casual perusal of the bra merchandise. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever escape this horrible woman.

But then I saw a shining, gleaming light at the end of the tunnel. My fitting room neighbor was ready to check out! And she was telling Martha that! And Martha was the only employee in this department! She would have to leave me unattended in the dressing room to go sell this woman her bra.

I heard them gather things up from the next room and make their way out of the fitting rooms. They were walking slowly enough, however, for Martha to shout a little "I'll be right back sweetheart!" in my direction as she passed.

From inside my fitting room, Martha's words repeated themselves in that slow motion, deep drawn out voice from the movies...... I'lllll....beeee.....riiiiiightttt....baaaacckk.....sweeeeetheaaaaartt..., followed by evil laughter and mental images of Martha with blood dripping from her tape measure and from the fangs she probably had flashing through my head.

As soon as they cleared the door to the fitting room, I got dressed faster than I ever have in my life. I grabbed my purse and crept out of my fitting room. I peered around the doorway. Martha was at the register with the woman, asking for her address.

I literally fled the scene.

I wasn't running, because I thought that would attract too much attention. Instead, it was a kind of speedwalk/hop/skip combination that got me the HELL out of Dillard's while Martha was preoccupied.

I had escaped.

And so it was discovered. There IS a fitting room experience that trumps bathing suit shopping. Next time I want a good feeling-up, I think I'll opt for a doctor's appointment.



  1. Best post ever. Oh lord how AWFUL! I shuddered for you.

  2. OMG, I don't know how you did it. Old lady or not i would have yelled at that woman to leave me alone. I probably would have yelled something about invasion of privacy and threatened a lawsuit or something (because that's my default mechanism). UGh, this is why i never make eye contact with salespeople in stores

  3. Oh HELL no. Nobody comes into a fitting room with me, and nobody EVER touches me. I've told attendents that I have leprosy just so they will leave me alone. You are way more patient and accepting than I am.

  4. I'm dying. I'm big on personal space. And not having strangers feeling around on me. I can't believe you were able to write about it—I'd be in the process of blocking the whole thing out...

  5. HILARIOUS!! Great post Shannon!

  6. Oh. My. Goodness!! I think I would have literally died if that had been me!!I'm so grateful my favourite department stores ask if you need help before deciding for themselves that I need help!!

    I'm glad you survived the experience and hope you don't need counselling from it!

  7. hahahaha this is hilarious although quite disturbing that such an old lady knows so much (or so little) about boobs.


  8. Omg. This is high on my list of things that are NOT okay. I barely let people I know touch me let alone strangers. Although I was accosted by an elderly woman in line a pharmacy the other day who practically stripping me to look at my tattoos. You'd think she would know better considering I was buying tampons and chocolate


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