Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Bra, bra, bra

Something that I love about living here is how easily something that seems ordinary can turn into something totally wacky. On my lunch break today, I went bra shopping. I hadn't planned to, but I was walking around the block and noticed a few long tables heaped with bras, so I decided to dive in. I picked out five bras in my size and asked if I could try them on. (OK, so actually I pantomimed trying on a bra, pulling imaginary straps up over my shoulders.) The saleswoman said no, there was nowhere to try them on, but if they don't fit I can bring them back. Fine, so I handed them to her... and she threw them on a scale. They were priced by weight. I just bought 295 grams of bra! Is it just me, or is this just hysterical? It was like a deli counter of underthings: "Excuse me, yes, I'd like 295 grams of bra, please." I bet you don't know how much your foundation garments weigh. "Oh, those panties look fresh! I'll take half a pound."

(Plus I really like the idea of "bra" as an uncountable noun, as in "Wow, that's a whole lot of bra I've got hanging outside for all the neighbours to see!")

Bras here are wacky to start with. To make a sweeping, racially based generalization (always a great idea!), Taiwanese ladies are not really a busty bunch. But never in my life have I seen bras with such sturdy construction! Not only are most bras padded and underwired, but they tend to sport outrageous amounts of lace and other appliqués. We're not talking about a rosebud in the cleavage here, folks. There's nothing unusual about a shiny red padded bra with a purple fabric flower sewn across one cup and then a layer of sheer gauze over the whole thing. The saleswoman today was trying to sell me a lace-trimmed satin bra printed with license plates, for pete's sake. But you know what? You pay for those extras! Three NT dollars a gram, baby.

1 comment:

red said...

found your blog via Mason-Dixon knitting. My parents are Taiwanese and I lived there for a while, though in Hsinchu.

what took you to Taiwan and what did you do there?