My long-time readers will recall the last time I took Doireann bra shopping. She was utterly disgusted at the fulsome display of femininity and “gender stereotyping”. There are women in the world who have no desire to wear lace, satin, and flowers dammit! She made me promise never to tell anyone that she owned a bra with flowers on it, and I bought her superhero underwear to compromise. At least she was wearing a bra.
Well, last Saturday I told Doireann that she needed some new clothes. She denied it. “I’m fine!” I have an unusual daughter. I know this. Most girls would jump at the chance to go out shopping for new clothes, but Doireann is ridiculously pragmatic. She has the personality and Myers-Briggs type of Jack Donaghy of “30 Rock” and the attitude of a grouchy hedgehog. She is perfectly happy to wear her skinny jeans, DMs, and fan girl t-shirts, but, I’ll admit it, I’m tired of looking at Sam and Dean Winchester, Doctor Who, and Sherlock pasted to Doireann’s chest. I, henceforth, dragged Doireann to a local mall and straight into Journey’s where I knew she would be surrounded by her Kryptonite–new Converse.
Her hemming and hawing came to a stop when she saw all those brand-new Chuck T’s. I just stood back and let her look. “Mom! You knew I wouldn’t be able to stay no to this!” Well, yeah! “It’s about to be summer. Are you really going to wear your DMs or those old, nasty Converse all summer long? I know that you’re like Liz Lemon and refuse to wear sandals so pick out some new shoes.”
Why do characters from “30 Rock” seem to describe my family so well?
Once she engaged in the experience, we actually got it done! We shopped! According to Doireann, “I still dress like a dude, but I look like a well-dressed dude now.”
As we were having some coffee after plundering the sales rack at The Gap, Doireann confessed, “All my bras feel funny now. I don’t know what happened. I woke up one morning and they all just felt funny.” I’m sure that my eyes twinkled at that admission. Doireann looked at me and said with suspicion, “What?” I replied, “You probably need new bras. You grew out of your old ones.” She looked positively shocked. “What? That can happen?” I wanted to laugh, but I knew that I shouldn’t. “It can when you’re 17. You’re still growing. You need new bras.” I may as well have thrown my head back, bared my teeth, rubbed my hands together and maniacally laughed, “Mwahahahahahahaha!” Doireann looked to be in pain at the thought. I finished my coffee and matter-of-factly told her the cold, hard truth:
“Here’s the deal. You need to be sized properly. So, I’m going to take you into the mouth of the beast. Your worst nightmare. But, you’ll survive. There are ladies there that size women for a proper fitting bra, and it’s about time that you embrace the idea of wearing a proper fitting bra. A good bra will improve your posture, support your girls, and feel really good. So, let’s hit it.”
Doireann was wide-eyed. “My gosh, Mom! Where are we going?”
We walked into Victoria’s Secret, and I boldly took Doireann directly to the back of the store and found Shay who had a tape measure hanging around her neck. I left Doireann in her care. I looked around the store deciding which new pieces I really needed vs. which ones I merely wanted.
I love lingerie. In another life, I would own a lingerie shop and fit women with bras. I adore the show “Double Divas” because the show represents friendship and women helping women without judgment. Women often experience so much relational aggression amidst groups of women, but women can also be nurturing, kind, supportive, and encouraging. When women nurture other women, it can be a powerful catalyst, and there’s nothing quite like hearing from another woman, “You look beautiful in that outfit.” or “Oh, you need that bra! It looks amazing!” or “Your hair is gorgeous!” or “I am loving that lipstick on you!” or “You are rocking those jeans!” or “Your skin is so pretty.” or even “You are so smart.” Intelligence is beautiful. Whether we want to admit it or not, beauty matters. Our definition of beauty doesn’t have to be someone else’s definition, but I don’t know one person who doesn’t need to feel beautiful on some level. It’s part of feeling significant.
Doireann emerged from the dressing room with a new bra and a new size. She has surpassed me. That was an odd feeling. I’m not in any way competitive about it. It’s just that my husband is adopted as is my mother so she is probably expressing genes from relatives we’ll never meet. Doireann stood there with one bra in her hands. I gestured toward all the bras in the section and said, “Take your pick if you dare although they don’t have anything in leather.” She looked thoughtful. “I’m starting to get this. This stuff is pretty. I sort of like it. I mean, I can wear jeans and t-shirts, but no one will know that I’m wearing really pretty underwear. It’s like my secret or something. I could really get into this!”
And there it was. One of the reasons why women wear gorgeous underwear! The motivation behind the name of the store in which we stood! Our little secret. We might be wearing sweatpants and a stained shirt, but you should see our underwear!
She had no problem picking out new underwear and bras after that. She has great taste. When we got home, she dragged Eadaoin upstairs for show and tell. Eadaoin came downstairs and practically shrieked, “Mom! I wanna go to Victoria’s Secret and pick out new bras and panties! Doireann’s new stuff is gorgeous!” I was waiting for that. “When you’re done cookin’ then I’ll take you. I’m not buying a $50 bra for you until you’re done.” And, Eadaoin is going to need them. That girl is going to be stacked!
Raising girls is fun. Hard but fun. As a mother, I’m getting to do all the things with my daughters that my mother never did with me. I don’t get it right every time, of course, but I don’t think that’s the point. I think the point is that we show up, fully present, ready to listen, and willing to try. When you fail, you just go right back to showing up, being present, listening, and being willing to try again. I can do that.
Life is never boring, is it? That’s reassuring to me for some reason.