I approached last weekend with much trepidation.
It included two things that while at first don’t seem so frightening, but together are a formidable force to be reckoned with.
Underwear and my mum.
My mum and I only enjoy shopping when we are on our own. I think for the same reasons. We don’t like to be rushed, and we don’t like to feel as though we’re rushing anyone else who is with us. We’re best just left to it.
The only other people I truly like shopping with is…
- The Mister. When he doesn’t want to go into EVERY SINGLE SPORT SHOP ON THE PLANET. We usually have a good time and he likes to sit on the man chairs with his AFL Dream Team waiting for me to try on stuff. He is also used to blocking me out when I get grizzly that there’s ‘nothing for me to buuuuuyyyyyyyyyyy’.
- The flame-haired journalist. At Price Attack or any other shop selling makeup, moisturisers, perfume, nail clippers and hair lackeys. We have lost DAYS in these sorts of stores.
- The BBF (my best boy friend) we hate the same stuff and have a story or joke for every shopping item we come across, share theories about why certain shops thrive or close, why General Pants doesn’t appeal to either of us and we always have coffee nearby. Most conversations start with a ‘what I don’t understand is……’
- The tall Englishman. In cheap $2-type shops only. Fits of giggles over the crap that people not only buy – but the fact that they’re manufactured in the first place.
Shopping with mum was like Judy Garland’s career, a fabulous beginning that tapered off into a dark oblivion.
OK, not really, but it’s somewhat true. We’re two people that like shopping apart, but society likes ‘mother/daughter’ experiences. So we try. But it always ends up being this weird real-life pantomine of me being at tantrum-throwing 14-year-old and mother knowing best. And the thing is, in any other circumstance, mum is the best company a girl could have.
For goodness’ sake, Im in my thirties, and she’s a good woman. It can’t be that hard. I mean it’s not like mum is going to be right there in the changeroom… Oh sweet Jesus, she’ll want to be in the changeroom.
We arrive at the lingerie shop. I jovially pointed out some funny knee-high stockings and did a quick scan to see if there was anything embarrassing like nipple pasties, swinging tassels or edible crotchless undies in the vicinity. No. Relief.
One thing I must commend my mum on – she doesn’t say ‘panties’, the worst word (among a handful of others) on the planet. She’s like me, we say undies. The Mister calls them ‘knick-knacks’.
I went straight up to a young, a-happenin’ sales assistant and we got started.
While the girl, Nicole, was gathering various torsolettes, mum went straight to the ‘sucky-in’ or shapewear section and said I should consider such undergarments.
Ohhhhh I have them already.
I have to make The Mister leave the room whenever I change into them as this kind of contortioning, while it could rival any Cirque du Soliel performer, it’s done with far less grace.
The heaving that it takes to get this human-shaped elastic band on is exhausting. Put a good 15-20 minutes aside and at least one drinks break.
Once you get it on, you can’t help but have a look at your body with one of these things on. I generally look like a beige snake that’s eaten a human.
They feel very snug and huggy, I feel very secure and happy in a nice piece of shapewear.
Until I pour my first drink.
I remember going to a wedding recently with my body snake on and I literally couldn’t go to the loo. It was just too much effort. So I barely drunk anything and saved myself up until I could not wait a second longer. It was an emotional moment.
You can get body snakes with special ‘loo holes’ in them. Now I think sexy crotchless undies are bad enough, but a full beige body suit passion-killer that’s crotchless? It doesn’t really turn me on, but I swear to god, when you’re stuck in a loo cubicle thinking ‘how on earth am I going to manage this?’ I can see the practical appeal and certainly don’t berate those who have them – I salute you.
Anyway, back to the changeroom.
Seems as though you can’t put a torsolette on without assistance, and Nicole the shop assistance talked be through it. I have to hold the garment up to my front and bend over. Then I have to jiggle my norks into the cups, then stand up straight, then Nicole had to hook me up.
Now, I am a forward-thinking, modern kind of girl. BUT I WANT TO WEAR A TORSOLETTE ALL THE TIME UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.
I found myself checking myself out. I thought I looked a little bit like Mad Men‘s Joan. I started to do a on-the-spot swagger in the changeroom.
Then I heard Nicole say to mum ‘you can go in and have a look if you like’.
Arrrrrrgh, here it comes, the awfulness…
‘Oh [thewrybride], that looks AMAZING on you!’ she said.
I looked at her with my mouth agape.
Then I just slowly started to nod and say ‘yeah, it looks good and it’s reaaaally comfortable too.. who would’ve thought that?’
We had a win.
I couldn’t believe it. Not just that an undergarment could look so good, but that mum and I didn’t clash. It really was a lovely moment.
Then I just really wanted to get dressed.
I ended up buying two of the bustiers, one for the wedding and one to start using in my weekly rotation.
This was a turning point.
It’s taken me over 30 years, but I think mum and I have finally started to shop together without the tension.
And I am finally starting to wear fabulous, well-fitting underwear that doesn’t come in packs of ten.
And yes. This is it –