We try to bring enough clothes, underwear, etc… with us for the full term we are planning to be here. So when we left the States in November 2012, we tried to predict wear and tear so we would have the proper items until June 2015. Well, we misjudged on many fronts, but one of those areas were bras. For my birthday in June 2012 during our time in the States, I was given two new bras. I thought that would get me through, however, one of them started to fall apart.
I really didn’t want to shop for bras here. One frequently sees men walking down the side of the road (along with many other vendors) with outstretched arms that are adorned with hanging bras for people to choose from and buy. In market areas (outdoor open air markets) you can find them piled on a tarp or in a wheelbarrow to dig through. I’m not trying to be difficult or picky, but I prefer new, not second hand bras and I really like being able to try them on before buying.
On Christmas Eve David was walking home from work and passed a bra salesman who was at the end of the road to our home. He was surrounded by several women looking over the bras and digging in his sack of panties. David walked in the door, knowing my plight of intimate apparel and said he spoke with the bra man at the end of our road and he said he would wait for me to show up so I could potentially buy a bra. David seemed excited to share this with me and said the bras were new. I wasn’t as excited about going bra shopping from a man with numerous bras hanging from his arm. David convinced me to go look. I walked reluctantly down to where the man was. There were about five other women there. I put a proper fitting bra in my purse so I could compare the bras he had to one that I knew fit. (Clothing sizes aren’t the same in the USA as in France and most items come from France, so I had no idea what size to look for in the French sizing) One woman was trying to help me shop the selection. I pulled out the proper fitting one and asked if he had anything that size. He said he would have to check in his other bag for a white bra in a similar size. I told him I wasn’t picky about the color, but he insisted that I must have a white bra because I’m Caucasian. He pulled one out and I compared it to the one I brought along. I heard him say a price to the women around me, so that’s the amount I paid him, about $2. I was happy to pay and return home. After arriving back home and trying on the new purchase, I was delighted that it fit. Chalk one up to another cultural experience.