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Monday, September 08, 2008

How I Came to Wear a Turkey Cutlet Bra to the Wedding

This is how I came to wear a turkey cutlet on my boobs at the wedding last week.

A month or two ago, I called my cousin with a proposal. She likes to shop; I do not. I needed a floor-length black bridesmaid dress. She met me at the mall with my list of requirements. I had the dress instructions from the bride, a price range, and a request to make the shopping portion of the trip last under a half hour. She moved us through the mall like Michael Phelps in the 100 meter butterfly.

She whipped through a rack of dresses, yanking down two and thrusting them into my arms. She moved through the store, sniffing the air like a meerkat to identify a break in the clothing racks that led to the dressing rooms. I held up the first dress dubiously.

"Really?" I asked.

It was pretty much the most un-Melissa dress you could find. Sleeveless, backless, plunging neckline and black. But it fit.

"We only have 22 minutes," she reminded me.

I whipped the dress back off, we paid for it and she ran me up to the undergarments department, calling over her shoulder as we wound our way past the nightgowns and men's dress shirts, "You are going to need one special bra to hold up those titties in a backless dress."

Wasn't that my point? Was a backless dress the way to go when it required so much other hardware? Why the hell do designers make backless dresses?

With ten minutes to go, the three children (oh, wait, I didn't tell you that we had three kids under the age of four in tow and only a half hour on the clock?) decided to have a meltdown amongst the Olgas, dragging the lacy bra cups over their faces while they screamed like banshees.

"Let's ditch the undergarments," I foolishly said.

And that was the start of my downfall.

A day or two later, I dragged the dress back out with me when I went to meet Lindsay and Karen for lunch. Lindsay agreed to follow me over to the mall and help me pick out a bra and panties that would forgive any weight I happened to pack on this summer. We started with the panties and picked out a fine pair when the Wolvog announced his need for the potty. We were in the middle of potty training and we didn't get a lot of warning before spillage occurred. Lindsay began the sprint for the bathroom with the Wolvog while I grabbed the ChickieNob, the panties, and my credit card. We made it to the potty in time and were so gleeful with our victory that we eschewed bra shopping. After all, there were still plenty of weeks before the wedding.

About two weeks before the wedding, I realized that I hadn't hemmed the dress. I called my mother's seamstress who does an excellent job under time pressure (she is accustomed to my flakiness, in other words). She also mentioned the need for a bra and asked why I hadn't purchased one yet. "I am so on it," I replied.

The day before the wedding, we were driving the kids over to my parent's house a few hours before we were due downtown for the wedding rehearsal. In Hilde's knee-high boots, I jumped out of the car while Josh and the twins idled by the curb, and ran through Bloomingdales, locating the lingerie department.

There was, as always, no one to help me. But I found an adhesive bra and decided this was perfect. And the price was right--it was only $12 and since I only planned to wear this dress once, the bra only needed to last once. I went with the smaller cup size, thinking it would do a better job of holding me in. The bra was tossed on the floor of the front seat, we dropped off the twins, and made it to the rehearsal in time.

The wedding unfortunately fell one day before the book deadline. I woke up early in the morning and edited until 1 o'clock when it was time to start dressing for the wedding. I took a shower, taking special care to dry my lotion-free breasts as per the bra instructions. Josh glanced at the boob stickers and shook his head. "You think those things are going to work?"

"Models wear them all the time," I snarled. "What do you think they're wearing when you see a backless dress on the runway?"

I stood in front of the mirror, leaning forward and attempting to smooth down my adhesive bra. It was like trying to hold up your boobs with mini bandaids. The bra puckered and detached itself whenever I moved. I tried three more times before I gave up.

"What are you going to do?" Josh asked. "Do we have time to swing by Bloomingdales for the next size?"

"Josh, we don't have time for Bloomingdales. We need to go to a place where they know boobs. We're going to Sylene's."

There comes a time in a woman's life when she decides that if she is already spending upwards of $50 for a bra, that she might as well throw a few more dollars into the pile and actually get a bra that compliments her breasts. And when I say that Sylene's knows breasts, I do not mean that a senior employee gave them a measuring tape and gave them instructions such as "flat girls get Calvin Klein and the chesty ones get Wacoal." I am talking about women who can match a bra to your boobs like no one's business and make you look fantastic. They are artists. They are more skilled than surgeons. They are breast experts. They are breastperts.

I called them beforehand, explaining that I'd have under a half hour (there's that 30 minute limit again) to get a bra and wear it to the bridal party pictures at 3 o'clock. They promised to set out my choices on the counter and throw them on me when I came in. The last time I had been in there was to buy the undergarments for my wedding.

I ran into the store, braless (but in a damn fine pair of panties), and was taken into a dressing room with a bunch of adhesive bra samples as well as a contraption similar to the machine the Orcs used to breach the wall in Lord of the Rings. The first few bras left my boobs limp and lifeless, hanging out in the dress like goody bags. The contraption was fantastic, giving me boobs of iron that could knock out a caterer waiter as I danced the hora. But, alas, over an inch of the bra was visible in the back due to the cut of the dress.

The fact is that this dress brought out all of my insecurities about my body. No one wants to spend ten minutes in clothing that makes them feel like shit and here I was agreeing to spend nine hours in it all because I simply didn't have any time or money this summer. Every minute that wasn't going to the twins was going to the book. I was overstressed and hating my body because I hated the dress. And I hated the dress because I hated my body. It was all very chicken and egg. I spent most of my time in the store with my heart pounding, mindful of the fact that I needed to be at the hotel and taking pictures, as well as the fact that I was completely screwed and braless.

The salesgirl went to get reinforcements. She brought back Helen, the queen of the breastperts, who can wield a measuring tape like a lasso. She took one look at my breasts and sighed. "There is really only one solution."

The turkey cutlet.

The turkey cutlet is an adhesive silicone bra with front closures. It feels more real than a real boob. Seriously, it was like that game that you play as a child where you put your index finger against someone else's index finger and run your other thumb and index finger up and down the linked index fingers to cause your brain to go into chaos. Which finger is mine? Which finger is yours? Which boob is real? Which boob is Nubra?

Our name for the titty cover? The bra bore a very close resemblance to an uncooked turkey cutlet.


I looked in the mirror, dress in place, and nodded. Helen of Sylene's is a genius, able to sheathe any boob and bring out its full, perky potential. Or, at least, hold it up for nine hours to get through a wedding.

"How much is it?" I asked anxiously, peeling off the sample.

"It's going to be $70, sweetie, with tax," she admitted.

The clock ticking, my frustration with the stupid dress mounting, my anxiety about the work I still needed to do at home, the lack of money in my bank account. I decided to go braless, saggy boobs be damned. Did I look like crap? Yes. But I also couldn't spend more time or throw more money at solutions.

I picked up my purse, trying to hide the fact that I was beginning to cry, when Helen uttered the words that pushed me over the edge:

"I'm feeling generous today, honey. Go wear the bra to the wedding and be beautiful."

She slapped the sample back on my breast and helped me back into the dress. As I was running out of the store, I asked her if I could write about this and she shrugged her shoulders as if to say, "who would be interested in reading about how you wore a turkey cutlet to a wedding?" But she agreed and handed me her card. I ran outside to Josh, sobbing and ruining my make-up because I was just so touched to have met a woman who could saw through how self-conscious I was about my breasts and fixed the problem--if not indefinitely, then at least for the evening. I felt 100% better about myself at the wedding wearing the turkey cutlet (which every bridesmaid admired and praised).

I am trying to figure out a way to pay this forward. With a simple action, she changed the course of my whole weekend. But I do not know how to make women feel great about their breasts. What I can do is go back to Sylene's this weekend and purchase myself a fancy little new bra and make myself exceedingly happy for even longer than nine hours.

And I can also tell you that if you ever have a bra emergency, you should learn from my story and not leave shopping for a new bra that fits a backless dress until you're on your way to a wedding. You should skip the department stores and fly directly to Washington, D.C. and go to Sylene's. Or, if you're not willing to fly a couple hundred miles (or perhaps overseas) to buy a bra, you can always purchase online and have them ship it to you. It is well worth the care they put into how women feel about their bodies (they also specialize in post-mastectomy bras and swimsuits). If you do this, sign up for their email because you get $10 off your first purchase. Just saying.

41 comments:

Amy said...

My sister -- may she rest in peace -- had like three pairs of these things. She called them "Boobs In A Box." She loved them!! LOL!!!

LJ said...

No joke - Sylene's is the most wonderful place on earth. They put my boobs up at my chest as opposed to at my waist. They are angels on earth. Some of the stuff is pricey - but it lasts SO MUCH LONGER and really makes sure your girls look good. Worth every penny.

Jen said...

How wonderful! I love it when things like that happen. Sometimes people are just so awesome.

I need new bras pretty soon. My current ones are from Target and they aren't so much fitting.

Jenn said...

I'm in desperate need of bras that actually fit. I am DEFINITELY going there now.

Leah said...

Is it wrong that I laughed so hard at the picture of the turkey cutlet that I literally snorted water on my computer monitor?

Astoundingly, I had never heard of Sylene's but you can bet your sweet bippy (or your chest full o' turkey cutlets) that I'll be heading there if I'm ever in need of a figure-flattering bra. Of course I'd need something akin to a sausage casing to manage the BackFat on me right now so a backless dress is simply not. an. option. I am waaaaay jealous of your ability to wear it.

I think that at one of our TOOTPU gatherings we should all wear a bridesmaid dress that we own. You must wear this one -- along with the cutlets, of course. By the way, I can't believe you tell us this great story and do not include a picture of your gorgeous self in said dress!

Heather J. said...

2 things ...

1 - AMAZINGLY cool story - what an excellent advertisement for Sylenes - I've never heard of them but you can believe I plan to shop there now!

2 - that bra seriously worked for you?! i bought one and can't get it to look or feel right. it just seems to weigh my boobs down (and they're only a large B!) and make them sag. depressing. What am I doing wrong?!

Tash said...

What a lovely touching story that had me laughing out loud. Next time I'm there, I'll head on over and pay it forward. If they can save you, certainly they can make someone with two tiny droopy plums feel better about hers, yes?

MrsSpock said...

I wish there was a place like that here.

I bought a black strapless dress with see-through panel in the back for Y2K. I wore those stick-on pastie bra things- the cheap ones. I had no boobs until the munchkin came. We went to a club and danced, and when I got tired, my friend Melonhead and I sat down. There were several guys just staring at us, and I couldn't figure out why. I glanced down at my drink and noticed my dress had turned halfway around, a pastie had fallen off, and I was flashing one headlight for the whole world to see. Melonhead hadn't even noticed. Ah- I wish I had a turkey cutlet for that!

Tara said...

Oh Sylene's... how desperately I need thee on the west coast...

Jill said...

I had a set of "boobs" too! LOVED THEM! I wore them faithfully for 2 summers, and then the adhesive got tired. I really should invest in a new set- it was well worth it!

tammy said...

We have Alberta's. It is a wonderful little shop and it is the only place I will go back to for bras.

I, unlike you, cannot simply go into the local mall store and pick up a bra, not even at Lane Bryant. No, I need a "Sylene" store to purchase all my bras.

So this is what I do. I go in and get my fitting for a new style bra and I will be in a JJ to a HH depending on the style. After I find one I like I buy it there and then go on line and buy several more of the same style in several colors from Big Girl Bras dot com for a 40% difference in price.

Not to sound "mean" but it does a heart good to know that average breasted woman can go through some of the same issues.

Trace said...

I'm laughing at your adhesive bra description because it's a good one. I've worn them before and no, they don't do much, but I don't have much in that area so I was ok.

Jaymee said...

we all need a helen in our lives. i am going to their site right now to purchase the bras i should have bought six months ago when i put on all the weight. thank you for giving me the courage to face my own body issues.

Jendeis said...

Love them, love them, love them. There are really only a handful of stores on the planet that could get me a pretty, boob-hoisting/supporting/tamer for a 44 DDDD.

anita said...

Oh how I wish I had a Helen here in small town Canada. After nursing three babies and gravity taking it's toll I've got some 'sand-in-tubesocks titties'.

My wish for my 40th ... boobs that have been fluffed and lifted.

Sarah said...

I hate my boobs. They are huge and obnoxious, and I can NEVER find a decent bra that supports them, is comfortable and doesnt look like some giant old lady bra...I will most DEF be ordering from Sylenes!

battynurse said...

Oh wow. I'm laughing at the whole stick on bra thing since I remember a bridesmaid from a friends wedding needing them years ago. The turkey cutlets are fantastic. And what a great story that she took care of you. If I am ever in that area I will have to go to that store just to see if they can find something that will stay where it's supposed to.

JamieD said...

What a FANTASTIC story! And it looks just like a freakin' turkey cutlet!

Seriously, it really is a great, heart-warming story. It makes me want to jump on a plane to DC just so I can go to Sylene's!

Kristin said...

How incredibly cool! Talk about great customer service and priceless word of mouth advertising.

luna said...

oh mel, this is JUST what I needed today, on so many levels. I needed to laugh, to know that there are still good people in the world, and I sure as hell need a breastpert. seriously. maybe worth a trip to DC even.

in sf there's a shop run by a famous former stripper named carol doda who was known for her big boobs, but nothing seems to compare to your wonderful shop...

thanks for the story today.

loribeth said...

You're priceless, Mel!! : )

Io said...

How incredibly sweet of Helen! I hate bra shopping, so I will have to add this to my list of reasons I need to visit DC asap.

Cassandra said...

Some people call them chicken fillets. Of course, to us vegetarians, it's hard to distinguish one cut of meat from the next!

When I'm wearing the wrong bra it exacerbates my back problems, so money is no object when it comes to proper bras for me. I do try not to mention "money is no object" to the saleslady though.

Fertilized said...

what a very touching story. I just love hearing about stories such as these. it helps me remember why I need to continue to spread the love.

My sister has these so called turkey cutlets. We called hers Chicken breasts.

I am in desparate need of a good bra. But I just can not stomach the price of one

Alex said...

OMG What a wonderful story. I particularly loved the "in a damn fine pair of panties" line.

I've so embraced my underendowed state I don't know that I'll ever wear (need?) a bra (though I could, perhaps, use a turkey cutlet), but, hey, it's good to know if only to pass along to friends.

I do hope you'll post a picture of your turkey-cutletted self in the dress, though.

Sam said...

You should have asked the innernets. I love my cutlet bra for backless occasions. Of course, mine is more of a quail's cutlet than a turkey cutlet.

Lori said...

I am SO moving to DC. Just need jobs, mountains, and to transplant my whole family.

I don't think we have a turkey cutlet store here.

Jess said...

I LOVE THIS STORY! And the pic of the turkey cutlet...ON A PLATE!...priceless!

How do those boobs work? I don't really udnerstand how they'd DO anything for you!

Deathstar said...

eaThis is why I need a stylist. Because I have better things to do with my time - like watch TV - than look for bras to fit backless dresses.

Anonymous said...

I so understand where you're at!
I tried those stick on ones once - the ones I bought came in packs of 5 pairs. I'm an E cup and figured I should use all 5 at once. In theory great idea. In practice - at 2am, slightly drunk and with my boyfriend, removing them.... not so easy! I ended up in showing ripping them and some skin off! Never again!!

Aurelia said...

I have a set of these, not as a bra, but as a set of fake boobs, and do you know why they are the best thing ever?

Because some of us, cough cough, are extra nipple endowed. And even padded bras won't hide these headlights baby!

So, we must wear these things on any occasion where someone might see us.

Or our headlights.



(BTW, Mel, I have a post up right now that I want some others to read. Are you doing another LFCA this week?)

this one said...

I wore these under my wedding dress. But I have small boobs! How the hell would someone with a large chest be supported by them? They don't support for shit! I'm so confused right now but I'm glad it all worked out for you.

Kim said...

What a nice story!!! Well, not the whole you being frustrated but Helen hooking you up with the turkey boobs!

C said...

Just what I needed after a tough morning -- a funny story with an uplifting message.

(Sorry, couldn't help the pun...) :)

Dreamer4agift said...

What a great story! I found myself to be reading as fast as I could-like I was helping you race against time:-) Such a dork, I know.

Anyway, my sister has a pair similar to this and my nephew thinks they're toys (such a boy).

What a wonderful lady at that store, too! Good for you to pay it fwd.

Piccinigirl said...

My mom and Sister swear by them, they wear them every day with a bra.
I might check out Sylene's since being a D cup comes with it's own challenges.

I'll bet you looked AMAZING and what a great gift she gave you: feeling beautiful inside and out.

beagle said...

You're like a supermodel now!!

Photogrl said...

We have a store like Sylene's here in the midwest...only it's called ELMO's. haha.

What a wonderful woman to give you such a great gift that day!

If I'm ever in DC, I'll have to find her!

Anonymous said...

I'm thrilled that Sylene's came to your rescue in such a caring way. I ran right over to their website to see what I could find. Sadly, they carry nothing in my (100% natural) size! Story of my life. . . .

Bea said...

Kind of makes me want to buy a plane ticket to get over there. I do like me a properly-fitted bra. They're harder to come by than they should be, especially for the backless dresses.

Bea

Karen @ Chez Perky said...

OMG, I'm only *just* getting around to reading this post, but I'm about to DIE laughing.

And I'll tell you what - when I'm done nursing, which is going to be SOON, I think, I'm going to Sylene's to treat myself to a NEW BRA that fits RIGHT and doesn't have any wacky openings at the front!