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Samantha Bee and Allana Harkin

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Samantha Bee is a Correspondent on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. Her writing has appeared in Chatelaine Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and she is the author of I Know I Am, But What Are You. Her body of work is best characterized as "unserious."

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Bra Shopping 101: Scoop It Into The Bag

By Samantha Bee |

Many of us are appreciated for our biggish bosoms.

Let’s talk about boobs again, specifically, mine.

Whatever I have or have not said about them in the past is not important here.

What is important, is that I finally recognized something pretty major; the bras I was wearing were the aesthetic equivalent of wearing my husband’s sweatpants with a belted maxi-pad on the outside. Slightly loopy and with a lot of ugly straps everywhere, read: eye-searingly unflattering.

It was time for a visit to The Bra Shoppe. The extra ‘p’ and ‘e’ are for the old-timey goodness of all the old-timey women who work there who will immediately fling your changing room curtain aside to come in and fondle you. As if they care. To them, the only thing remarkable about someone’s breasts, would be if a person showed up with three instead of just two. And honestly, I bet they have a bra for that anyway.

These women are breastal geniuses. They don’t judge. They simply see your breasts in vectors and cubic measurements, like a physicist. In fact, a famous physicist, Matthew Wright, sent me a link to a paper he wrote about applying the laws of physics to the very task of bra shopping…which I think means that I am also a famous physicist now.

At any rate, I’m sure that if the women at The Bra Shoppe put their minds to it, they could be navigating Mars and inventing a robot who will put socks on my children for me. But we can’t afford that as a nation; we need them right where they are, ensuring that the Women of New York are ‘scooping’ themselves properly into ‘the bag.’

That’s the technical term for the enormous amount of work it takes to mold a person’s bosom just so into the cup of a bra so that it hangs just right, and looks like it might leap up and out of the bra instead of sliding under, like a crepe. If you scoop properly, it will look like your boobies are butterflies impatiently waiting to alight, were it not for this lacy je ne sais quoi tethering them to Earth. Mon Dieu! Tra-la-la!

When the lady told me my bra size, I strongly disagreed, and in fact, I put up quite a fight; it just sounded like such a stupid size. And I am not one to care about numbers, I really don’t.

But who could ever take this bra size seriously– 30 Double D? 30? With a Double D? Now listen, I’ve never in my life been a 30. Even when I was a teenager I wore wider bras than that. And really? Double D? What am I—a sparrow with a couple of grapefruits strapped to my chest? How am I supposed to fly like that? And seriously, if I’m a Double D, then what the HELL is Dolly Parton? I fear that there may not be enough letters in the alphabet for those.

Then I think I learned something. When you have biggish boobs, you have to create a ledge for them to sit on—and that is why the band of the bra has to cling to you and squeeze into your flesh like a giant squid riding a submarine.

Not too many people are actually 30 inches around, but we’re all supposed to act like we are so that the band doesn’t crawl up your body and let your boobs slide down the other side. It’s a delicate balance — you either get saggy boobs or back fat.

I choose back fat. I mean, it’s definitely not for everyone, but I don’t care. What I can’t see, I can pretend doesn’t exist. Kind of like how when I do yoga, I’m a total swami, as long as there aren’t any mirrors in the room.

And now, as I bid you adieu,  I would like you all to picture my new bra, clinging to my body like a giant squid riding a submarine. Only lacier.

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About Samantha Bee


Samantha Bee

Samantha Bee is a Correspondent on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. Her writing has appeared in Chatelaine Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and she is the author of I Know I Am, But What Are You. Her body of work is best characterized as "unserious." Read bio and latest posts → Read Samantha's latest posts →

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13 thoughts on “Bra Shopping 101: Scoop It Into The Bag

  1. MK Martin says:

    Pretty sure Dolly Parton is a 36 TRIPLE G, baby.

  2. Kathleen says:

    The only thing more horrifying than seeing my mammogram projected on the wall (“Dear god, it’s bigger than MY HEAD!”) was finding out that I’m a 40GG. I thought you had to have a prescription for a bra that size.

  3. Michelle says:

    I was a natural 34H pre-pregnancy. Now 4 months post partum and still breastfeeding, I am a 36K. Most people freak out and don’t believe I’m that size (I guess it just fits my shape, despite only being 5’2 and 160lbs), including those special bra-fitting gurus. I have only been able to find one bra made in my size after feverishly searching the internet….and it’s absolutely hideous.

  4. Mature Canadian says:

    I have ribs and my ribs are made of bone. When I wear the “right” bra size, I manage to crack my ribs and am unable to breathe! Thank goodness for spandex!

  5. samthenewmom says:

    I hate that most of the nursing bras that I have seen are so plan. I feel like all these nude color shapeless bras are saying “you have a kid, your sex life is OVER so just give up and buy me already!” No I will not! even tho it took me forever to find them, I managed to find two nursing bras that I will allow my husband to see me in (one is leopard which i love!). Besides, I believe that crazy patterns on your bra helps your baby focus on feeding and help with brain develop and blah blah blah

  6. Heather says:

    Try CAKE lingerie or HotMilk they come in lots of sizes (I’m a 32G) and are both pretty and supportive. I’m talking lace overlays, bows, even some with bling!

  7. Hollie says:

    I second Heather’s comment. Zulily actually has HotMilk on sale this week. I was a 38D prepregnancy, and breastfeeding + crazy elimination diet had me in a 34J for a while. WTF kind of cartoon superhero proportion is that?? 20 weeks into my second pregnancy, I almost feel like a 36G is a nice, manageable size. Oh, how perspectives change. It’s ALL about the bra.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Hilarious Sam. I just went bra shopping this weekend so I can relate to these thoughts. And I second the cleavage over back fat option.

  9. Fiona says:

    One day I put on an outfit and asked my husband how it looked. He said, “It is probably time you go bra shopping.” Why, I asked. “Because you have six boobs.”

    I went and looked in the mirror and he was right. Two spares in the middle, two in the cup and two on the side. Six total. Not a good look.

  10. Sarah says:

    I’m a 32 I. Yup, an I. I’m 5″ and 150 lbs. I have yet to find a company that creates that size, so my only option is custom made.

  11. Pat in Belgium says:

    I think this is some nefarious re-sizing plot foisted on us women much in the same way that there are now dresses size ZERO (so, you don’t exist? I mean, what is THAT all about?) and yesterday’s size 14 is now a 10 (and nobody went on an overnight crash diet!)
    I get that the numbers are usually off (I saw that Oprah bras show where most women were wearing bras far too big around their ribcage when they should have been taking larger cup sizes.). But my daughter and I just went bra shopping the other day and she was as surprised as I was to find she’s now in a D cup. When I was her age, a D cup was not much less than what the aformentioned Dolly Parton would take. These days Dolly must be a Z (zed?) or off the alphabet entirely!

  12. melanie says:

    i agree with MATURE CANADIAN and PAT IN BELGIUM. my breasts barely fill my own [small] hands, but yet Victoria’s Secret says i wear a size 36D although i had worn a 38C while breastfeeding. and now for the past 2 weeks, while wearing my new sized bras, my ribs are bruised almost bad enough for me to put back on the old nursing bras instead. :(

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