Monday, October 19, 2009

Things I Never Thought I Would Be Doing as an Ordained Clergywoman

Let it be said first and foremost that I am, in the words of the immortal and pneumatic Jane Russell, a full-figured gal. And that being a full-figured gal means that I am on a never-ending search for the perfect undergarment to keep my full figure in check.

So I heard of a wonderful lingerie shop near me and decided I needed to check them out - after all, a girl can't have too many perfectly fitting undergarments, can she?

I went down there this morning, discovered that I had committed a gaffe by not calling and scheduling a fitting appointment (who knew?), but they could fit me in. I was ushered into a fitting room with two floor length mirrors - horrors - by my fitter and her trainee assistant. "First, we would like to see you in the bra you're currently wearing," the fitter said in a very no-nonsense voice. Having given up on modesty when I gave birth to the children, I took off my top and stood there, wearing the rather expensive number I had gotten from the fitter at Nordstroms. "Hmmm," she said. As with doctors, I immediately wondered what the hmmm meant, assuming the worst, of course. Then she guided the assistant through the process of measuring me and said, "We'll be right back with some bras to try on."

In a few minutes they returned with a purple embroidered number. Lovely. Certainly not something I would normally wear, but fun. She then taught me the "swoop and scoop maneuver," a description of which I will spare you. Use your imagination, or not, depending on your intestinal fortitude. Then she adjusted some straps and voila! A well-fitting undergarment.

"Do you have anything that's not lacy or embroidered? Something that wouldn't show through a silky sort of blouse?" My query led us into a conversation of my blouses, until I finally admitted that I mostly wear clergy shirts, usually of microfiber or a rayony kind of material, so I needed something smooth. Having opened up the door to the conversation, she then wanted to know what kind of clergy person I was, what the difference between Catholics and Episcopalians were (she was Catholic), whether I married gay persons, and other odds and ends including whether Episcopalians had something equivalent to the pope. All while I was standing there either entirely topless or almost. And then she said she was going off to look for a bra with a big cross embroidered on each cup...lingerie fitter humor, I guess. Anyway, she found what I needed, it all fit wonderfully, and I left having had the odd experience of teaching theology topless.

Well, heck, if it was good enough for John the Baptist, usually pictured in a very decollete camel skin held together by a little strip of leather thing, it's good enough for me.
Picture of the beauteous and bountiful Ms. Russell from the movie "The Outlaws."


Jane Ellen+ said...

What a hoot! I am right there with you in the full-figured, "Never-ending Search" department. However, I have yet to combine bra shopping with theological inquiry.

The things they don't warn you about in seminary...

shewillsing said...

This is hilarious! I can't say I've ever had a theological conversation while getting fitted for lingerie, but I've definitely had them in all kinds of other places. Hair salons, while sitting on the examining table at the doctor's office (fully clothed, thank goodness), bars, the lobby of my husband's law school, buses, on the street with a "Chelsea boy" (very buff gay man) who was handing out gym coupons, etc. It's a strange life and I never imagined so many people would come up to me and start conversations!

mibi52 said...

..and making a pastoral visit to a parishioner a few days ago, I spent about a hlf hour talking with the two lovely ladies staffing the Information Desk at the Cancer Center and discussing their prayer requests. The collar generates all sorts of conversations!