For those of you who have already started, or done you Christmas shopping – GOOD ON YOU. I wait until panic sets in, in ten days time, then I hit the shops. If I start too soon, I end up re-shopping; adding items to those already purchased for each lucky recipient. I worry that I may have been stingy, but end up overdoing it.
However, I must admit to a couple of forays into my little town’s shops recently; it could be the curious encounters I’ve had which have turned me temporarily into Madam Scrooge…
I was in the Warehouse with, daughter 12 purchasing an outfit for the Remarkables Xmas Spectacular. When I spied a young woman, petite in stature and large of hips, casually trying on jean shorts mid shop. Using only her thin mini sun dress to hide her modesty, this was not a vision you’d want to linger over. She tried on several pairs. (I only know this because I was to-ing and fro-ing to the changing rooms, the place most people feel comfortable wriggling in and out of tight clothing). If the jean shorts did not fit, the woman biffed them on top of the racks and grabbed another. Strangely, no red-shirted employees seemed to notice.
The next day I was shopping with both daughters, still trying to find a remarkable costume, when a young European backpacker stepped out of her changing room, in her bra and undies and tried to summons the sales person. What’s going on, is there no shame, I thought. Where will this brazen display of flesh, with no water in sight, end?
In between the changing room boobs, I managed to make my first Xmas purchase: some overpriced boy-band beach merchandise. Phew. But it hardly broke the back of the 20 odd presents our family gives each Christmas. So I decided to go lingerie shopping. For myself. My drawers runneth over with bras in various forms, but what women isn’t always on the lookout for the most comfortable and flattering bra ever made by MAN. And hands up who’d prefer to shop for themselves, when a long list and a worldwide deadline lingers.
I entered the tiny bra laden shop and to my surprise found three tall men looming above the racks like misplaced orangutans. Two were in a security company type uniform. What was going on, some sort of booby trap perhaps? Then I smiled. Of course, they were buying lingerie for their wives or girlfriends. How cool. They knew what they wanted too.
The first man bought a bra and knicker set. ‘That’s one ticked off the list,’ he boasted.
I didn’t want to stare, so I rifled through the sizes of a beige Madonna-esque bra I’d found.
‘I want a nightie for my wife,’ said another man, now right behind me.
‘Do you know what size she is?’ asked bra-doctor 2.
‘She’s a small 12,’ he said proudly.
‘Do you know her cup size?’
That drew a blank. ‘Has she got big boobs.’
‘No small,’ he admitted. I felt like saying anything bigger than a handful is a waste of time mate, at that point, but didn’t.
‘What about a red nightie?’
‘No, she’s got red hair and she doesn’t like blue either,’ he said authoritatively.
‘Black is always safe.’
He chose mauve. She probably has fair skin, his wife, mauve would set off her red hair beautifully. Good choice.
I disappeared into the changing room and stripped off. A few moments later Bra-doctor 1 asked if I needed any help. Then for some unknown reason I let her into the cubicle with me. I had never done this before, ever, and I wasn’t sure why I did it then. Had those confident male lingerie shoppers lowered my guard, along with the casual approach to trying on clothes in a public place I’d witnessed. I’d already used the tape measure hanging there. I’d passed Bra Fitting 101. I had my correct size.
Bra-doctor 1 lingered too long. She slipped my selection off their plastic hangers and undid their hooks, all the while offering kindly advice without looking directly at my boobs (already testing the merchandise). I won’t let it happen again.
I made my purchase. I qualified for the $50 off. Tick.
On the way home daughter 12 pulled my intimate-apparel from its nest of tissue and said, ‘OMG what’s this?’
‘A teddy. It’s just a bra and undies all in one. I had heaps of them in the 90’s. Put it away please.’
‘Eww it’s weird.’
Maybe to her, but the net results of my afternoon shopping: an early Xmas present-to-self. Luckily for me I still have fifteen shopping days left. And while I’m out there, I’ll remind myself of those thoughtful men in the shop and the reason we give gifts: to show love and give pleasure.