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We Must, We Must...


The BraBall by Emily Duffy on display at the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD



Our hockey puck is getting married this weekend! Mr. Hockey and I are thrilled for the young couple. We wish them a lifetime of Stanley Cups.

I had to find the perfect mother-of-the-puck dress. One that was pretty and wouldn’t make me wince when I see myself in the wedding photos. I began shopping in January.

As luck would have it, I bought the first dress I tried on. It really is perfect. It’s a beautiful red and purple. It hides my perceived flaws, though I don’t think anyone actually cares about my flabby arms. And it highlights my one good feature. My attractive shoulders!

I didn’t know about my superb shoulders until I saw them poking out of the top of this dress in the mirror at Saks. Isn’t it nice that as we age, we learn new things about ourselves?

So that’s it. By January, I was sartorially set for the big day.

End of column. Please continue enjoying the rest of the paper.

Reader, I wasn’t set.

The Saks saleswoman gave me strict marching orders: Come back for the fitting approximately six weeks prior to the wedding with shoes, shapewear, and a strapless bra.

Ugh. A strapless bra. I didn’t own one. I never wear strapless dresses due to my flabby arms. And I only just learned about my stunning shoulders.

I haven’t been bra shopping in years. Most women my age would say the same. Bra shopping is unpleasant. Mainly because to try on a bra, I have to remove my current bra in a dusty dressing room in front of Marge Simpson’s sister. (All bra saleswomen are like Marge Simpson’s sisters, they have blue hair, and a smoked-Marlboros-for-thirty-years voice.)

Taking the ta-tas out in this environment is a vulnerable experience.

I never even wanted boobs. And when I got them, I didn’t know what to do with them.

I was in the subset of preteen girls whose friends had to take her aside in the 6th grade hallway of Iroquois Middle School and tell her to get a bra. I’ve blocked out the aftermath of this adolescent intervention. But I must have asked my mother to take me to the lingerie section of Flah’s Department Store in the Mohawk Mall for my encounter with Marge Simpson’s sister.

My ambivalence towards my puppies has dogged me throughout my adulthood. I spent a summer convinced that my right breast was bigger than my left. I noticed it every time I looked past my chest to hit a golf ball.

I mentioned the size disparity to my golf partner who had recently gifted herself a breast reduction for her 50th birthday. On the 7th fairway, she whispered (so we wouldn’t embarrass the caddies), “I don’t think the surgeon will reduce just one.”

For the past several years, my boobs and I have been slacking. Five or six years ago, I ordered a bunch of soft bras (no underwire) from Spanx. I’ve worn them ever since. They are now tired and barely able to uphold their… duties. If you get my drift.

Basically, I’ve been wearing Covid bras since before Covid.

I was wearing one of these sorry Spanx bras when I tried on my dress in January. Once I refocused my gaze from my spectacular shoulders to my south-bound boobs, I didn’t need Abby, Amy, or Lori from 6th grade to tell me what to do.

I went to a place in Manhattan called Bra Tenders – get it? Instead of bar tenders? It’s a play on words!

I was surprised that the saleswoman, let’s call her Courtney, was a lovely and young and not one of Marge Simpson’s sisters. Maybe they retired? Or died?

Courtney hasn’t lived long enough to have smoked Marlboros for thirty years. She did, however, have blue hair. It matched her tattoos.

Courtney found me the required shapewear and a strapless bra. Shapewear, known in the past as a girdle, is no better than its great-grandmother, the corset.

Before you put shapewear on, your body must be as dry as the Sahara. Don’t moisturize or drink any beverages for two days. Then roll yourself in desiccant. That’s how Kim Kardashian gets into her Skims.

Courtney also fitted me for some everyday bras without passing judgment on my seasoned Spanx. All in all, it wasn’t a horrible experience. I came home with five new bras and the dreaded shapewear.

What Courtney taught me is that my boobs are massive. The shabby Spanx bras were concealing the fact that my girls are full-grown women. I have the bosom of my Ukrainian grandmother. A “babushka bosom,” as they say in Ukraine.

Isn’t it nice that as we age, we learn new things about ourselves?

My new bras are huge too. Bringing one on a trip is like packing a catcher’s mitt. But they lift my… burdens. If you get my drift.

Reader, I’m sure you didn’t open the paper today expecting or wanting to read Tracy’s “memoir des brassieres,” as they say in France. I didn’t expect or want to write it. But the muse takes me where the muse takes me. I apologize to you and especially to my editor for any trauma I have caused.

Meanwhile, this weekend my puck and their hockey-stick are getting married! I’m going to celebrate them by dancing all night in my beautiful dress.

My Stanley Cups runneth over.


Published in The East Hampton Press on June 13, 2024

Photo by One of the Pucks!

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