The New Girl

Tomorrow a new girl starts. I pity her, I really do. Not because this is an awful job (quite the contrary), but because I'm an awful teacher. Y'see, my life leads to two paths right about now, one involves graduate school in an academic field which will result in a teaching job at a university (what else do you do with those degrees?), and the other is climbing the ladder in retail. Perhaps the payoff is bigger if I went the grad school route, but I'm not a good teacher. I don't have patience, and I have a short fuse with stupid people. And I believe that one should only become a teacher if one has the passion and competence for it. Also, I don't want to be a teacher. I don't like it. And I like retail. I could do this infinitely, theoretically. Teaching--probably not.
But anyways, the other reason I feel sorry for her is that she will be bombarded with retail-speak. Our company is particularly notorious for misappropriating the English language for its own ends. She's not being trained, she's being "onboarded." She's not a part of our workforce, she's part of our "Talent." Not having enough people to work the floor is not our problem, but our "opportunity." (At least we didn't invent the word "Shopportunity." I swear I'll swallow a gun next time I hear that spoken aloud.) Not to mention the bajillion acronyms that get tossed around every day: ADS, TPLH, LBOS, QCXRPPP (okay, I made that last one up). Over time this becomes a new language, and we all speak it fluently, and I think we even grow to prefer some of the euphemisms, but...
I don't remember what it was like learning all of these terms, but it would probably have been worse if I learned them all on my first/second day. And I imagine since I won't be able to hold myself back (remember what I said about patience), I'm probably just going to cram the new girl full of all this crap and scare her off. All the better, I say. Because, really--I like my job, and I don't care to share it. Maybe she can go to grad school.


I'm Gonna Size You Up

So today I'm not wearing the right bra size. I like the color, however, especially under the see-through shirt I'm wearing, and I paid, like, $30 for it, so I'm wearing the damn bra anyways! Sometimes this bra likes to ride up (because it's the wrong size) and requires some adjusting every now and then; it starts doing this as I'm journeying to the Promised Land, and I begin adjusting my straps. As I do so, some yokel in the lane next to me starts wheeling his scrawny neck around to look at me in a very conspicuous manner. Grow. Up. It's not like I was popping my tits out of my shirt and fondling them. I mean, I don't mind being looked at, but I do mind being gawked at when I'm not trying to attract freak-show-style attention.
See, the problem I own the wrong size in the first place is because I believed I was a 34C for a while. This was a jump up from the 34B I had been up until I turned 21--when my breasts decided to grow a size up. Apparently, I've been wrong my entire life.
I work at Victoria's Secret, and I really like what I do. And my job entails being able to size breasts accurately--something I can do with moderate accuracy without even a tape measure. So, believe me when I say I now am absolutely positive I am a 32D--big boobies on a skinny girl, which makes for a difficult bra size to find.

How to measure oneself?
While standing up with a normal bra on (no minimizers, binders, corsets, padded bras, add-a-cup types, or sports bras--and don't go au naturale), take a measuring tape (the typical dressmaker's kind, nothing fancy) and wrap it around the back, underneath the armpits, across the top of the breasts. This measurement should give the band size. I know this seems against logic, since the band goes just underneath the breasts, and not across the top, but trust me. If you measure underneath the breasts, you have to add about 3 or 4 inches to get the band size (underneath my breasts I measure 28 inches, but underneath my pits I'm 31 inches). Underneath-the-breasts +3" is only a useful measurement if the armpit measuring is going to be off--e.g.: if you have a lot of fat (as can happen with some 42" band sizes or greater) or muscle (as in swimmers) underneath your armpits.
Anyways, now that you've got your band size, measure across the fullest part of the breasts--laying the tape more or less right over the nipples. The tape measure should be roughly level all the way--it's important it's not slanting up or down as it goes around your back. When measuring across the breasts, the tape measure should not press into the breasts at all. In fact, it's best to draw the tape out at the center of the breasts and give it a little space--you want this measurement to be loose. This measurement must come out either equal or greater than your band size--really it should be greater if you even bother wearing a bra. I'll explain how this measurement turns into a letter in a moment.
*A note: If you measure at a band size of 32, you should inhale and hold a deep breath while measuring across the nipples--small torsos notoriously come out wrong with cup size measurement (I measured a 32A!).
Take the band size and subtract it from the number you just got from across your nipples. The difference between these two numbers will give you your cup size:

  • 0 = AA
  • 1 = A
  • 2 = B
  • 3 = C
  • 4 = D
  • 5 = DD

And so on.

Now you try on a bra in your new size! I recommend going to Victoria's Secret to try on a bra since you can get your measurement double-checked by any competent associate, but if you're a DIY girl, you can go to a department store where some of the fancy-schmancy brands run a wide range of sizes (DKNY and Vera Wang come to mind).

Now, how to tell if you're wearing the right bra size?
Stand up. Put your arms straight down at your side. Ask yourself these questions, moving your arms as necessary to check:
  • Does your underwire come underneath your arm? It should.
  • Can you put two (and only two) fingers in the space between your bra and the start of your armpit? It does not matter what kind of bra you are wearing.
  • Does your band go across the center of your back? Wearing it too high up your back is a sign your bandsize is too big--or your straps are too tight.
  • Does the space between cups (usually triangle-shaped--called the "gore") fall flat against your body? If it doesn't naturally touch your skin at the top, your cup size might be too small.
  • Is your band snug against your back without digging into your skin? You should not be able to pull it too far from your back if it is the right size and in the right place.

The vast majority of women do not know their bra size, and most of the ones I measure are wearing a bra at least 2 cups too small. Measure yourself and someone you love. It will make a difference to wear your right bra size. Don't panic if you're several cup sizes greater or smaller than you thought you were--it's about comfort, not a letter grade. Also, if you're quick with abstract thought, you may have noticed that the equation for achieving your bra size is based on a difference between two measurements--i.e.: a 36A has the same cup as a 34B, which is the same cup as a 32C, and so on. This also means that any cup size letter (B,C,D) is a meaningless generalization without a bandsize; my 32Ds are considerably smaller than a 38D. So you can't just "make-do" by going up a bandsize number and assume the cup will fit just the same.

Well, that's most of my knowledge regarding bra sizing. I'm willing to take questions, or--more happily--customers who would like the full-on Zan-expertise (or "Zanpertise"). This is never an easy thing, but, dammit!, it's important to keep the girls happy!


An armed robbery and sexual assault of my time.

Good lord, I need to get away from my house and actually do some work. Isn't it a bit true it's far easier to work when you're in Starbucks or a library rather than at home with so many far more entertaining things surrounding you? I have an upcoming doozy of a semester, and I'm still facing an existential crisis regarding grad school (English or French PhD? And whatever happened to my Italian?). I think I'm going to eat something and get my ass somewhere it can be productive rather than procrastinatory.