two arms to hold you


August 13, 2010: Danita under the pavilion

Friday, August 13

I was early meeting Danita for the Ginza Festival at the Midwest Buddhist Temple, so I had an Arnold Palmer spiked with vodka at Marge’s Still. I liked this place (and my drink) in Old Town, one of my favorite Chicago neighborhoods. Danita turned up and we made our way over to the temple, where we were among the very first people to arrive. I mean, very first. Some vendors were still setting up their booths, and the first demonstrations weren’t due to take the stage for another 90 minutes. After looking at some bonsai trees, we took a walk past adorable houses down cobblestone alleys – seriously, Old Town can be so adorable – to the park.

I’d been wanting to check out the Nature Boardwalk for some time. The Boardwalk winds around South Pond, just south of Lincoln Park Zoo. Where once there were paddleboats now were ducks, geese, and other pond life undisturbed in their own little oasis. The pavilion looked like a giant beehive, and looking south from it there was a lovely view of the skyline. I started getting hungry for the Ginza Festival’s famous teriyaki chicken, though, so we walked back to the temple, where the martial arts demonstrations were getting underway.

Also underway were some thunderstorms, somewhere to the north and to the south of us. Danita and I cut our evening early and went our separate ways home, just beating the rain.

Saturday, August 14

I finally got to see Chris and Sarah’s house when they hosted a barbecue at their house in Kenwood. It was a gorgeous day, perfect for escaping the North Side (where it seemed everybody in the city was gathering for the Air & Water Show) to hang out in a kitchen with friends, drink sangria, and marvel at the parade of tasty meats coming off the grill.

It seemed like everybody had a child or two with them. The children amused themselves by running outside, then running inside, then running outside again. Chris put on a DVD for the kids in the basement, and when I wanted to take a break from laughing my ass off with the grown-ups, I wandered downstairs to see what the little ones were up to.

It was like Lord of the Flies meets Metropolis. The children were taking turns using the elliptical trainer. They called dibs and no-backsies and no-frontsies when forming a line. When they finally got a turn, they’d climb around it, under it, over it. They were a tiny tribe. A tiny, terrifying tribe, brimming with the energy one gets from drinking Capri Sun pouches all day. I wondered what I’d say when one of them would inevitably become entangled in the elliptical trainer, and another grown-up would wonder why I wasn’t paying closer attention. It seems the only person watching The Tales of Desperaux was me.

Sunday, August 15

I got my first haircut in over a year. I’d been afraid to let anyone touch my hair after the bobbed horror I got at Supercuts last year. I’d heard about barbara & barbara when someone I follow on twitter updated about their $20 haircuts that came with a free beer. Free beer! I made an appointment with the lovely Stephanie, who happily gabbed with me about Mad Men and doing the hair of the band Urge Overkill. I paid $25 because my hair was past my shoulders but even after I gave Stephanie a tip it was still a great deal. I felt adorable. I think I even looked adorable!

I dawdled down Logan Square, making my way to a bus and then the blue line and then a short cab ride to downtown so I could catch a matinee of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Which I thought was so great. Very enjoyable. After the movie, I made it back to my neighborhood where I got to have dinner with Jeff and Elisa at The Bagel. Which was a pleasure.

Even if they didn’t seem to notice my adorable new haircut.


Monday, August 16

I caught up with Kathy over lunch at Baba’s Village. I can’t wait until she returns to Chicago and we can take up our familiar weekend pastimes of eating at various buffets and going to movies. After work, I went to Macy’s to look at bras and get measured by a lady in the lingerie department. She confirmed what I knew my bra size to be, which was still too big to buy bras at the fat girl store, OR SO I THOUGHT. So I went home to order a strapless bra to wear under a dress that I had just ordered. (It turns out both dress and bra were wrong for me, but that’s for later).

I still felt like something wasn’t right, tit size-wise, though, so I decided to make an appointment to get fitted at Intimacy, this fancy-pants lingerie store on Michigan Avenue, to see if they said anything different.

Tuesday, August 17

Back to the gym after a brief hiatus. As I noted in my Foursquare check-in to the gym, “Hello fatness my old friend…” Yes, I know I’m not dispelling the stereotype of a fat, jolly person but I CAN’T HELP BEING HILARIOUS.

Wednesday, August 18

Foursquare check-ins for the day include Potbelly, Women’s Workout World, Chipotle. If there is a “Fat and Salt” badge, why haven’t I gotten it yet?

Thursday lunch

August 19, 2010: lunch

Thursday, August 19

A good day, even if I didn’t make it to the gym. I had a nice long-ish lunch, brought back Beard Papa’s cream puffs to the co-workers, who all loved them, then after work I attended a screening of Centurion with Nite. So much fun, and I especially loved the movie because it had Michael Fassbender. Whom I adore. Especially when he is shirtless and swinging a sword about.

Nite cracked me up when he asked me if Centurion was like Michael Fassbender’s 300. I had to remind him that Fassbender was in 300 as well as Centurion. And shirtless! Observe Michael in 300:

Michael Fassbender in 300: "I command you to look at my rockhard abs."

And Michael in Centurion:

Michael in Centurion: "Hay, gurl, hay!"

Now excuse me while I wipe some drool off my bosom.

Saturday, August 21

The fitting at Intimacy was successful, if expensive.

I was a little put off when I first walked in. I felt awkward waiting for someone to help me, and the ladies behind the counter were busy doing, um, bra stuff? A friendly lady named Anita introduced herself and took me back to a changing cubicle, where she pretty much told me to pull down the top of my dress as soon as you could say “French lace”.

I told her I’d been wearing a 48B, not saying anything about the bra lady at Macy’s who just a few days before said the same. I mentioned that bras always seemed to gap, giving me enough extra room in the cups to, I dunno, smuggle cigarettes and secrets? Anita said “You’re not a 48B.”

And then to prove her point, she asked me to stand in front of her and, planting on hand on my upper back, she used the other to pull out the band of my bra, as if to snap it. She pulled it out a good 12 inches before returning it to it’s rightful place. I removed my bra and let Anita get a look at me and my bust. No tape measures! Just a holistic approach, is what she called it before she left me to find some bras that she said would fit. I put on a sheer black robe and read the posters about proper fit until she came back.

She came back with the kind of bras I used to wear when I was about 50 pounds lighter and younger, much younger. These were not sad granny-looking bras that looked like they would have been worn by Eleanor Rigby, or could have doubled as beanies for children with comically oversize heads. These bras were French and shiny and lacy and looked like they would look awesome on my body or, perhaps more scandalously, tossed haphazardly on somebody’s bedroom floor.

If these bras were any sexier, or purple, they would have been a Prince song. Maybe not “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” but more like “Diamonds & Pearls”.

I kept these thoughts to myself as Anita showed me how to put the bras on properly.

  1. Unclasp band.
  2. Lengthen straps.
  3. Lean forward to let boobs fall into cups.
  4. Clasp band.
  5. Draw up straps carefully, adjust on shoulders.

And there I was. Or there they were. I looked like I was keeping my breasts supported, separate and equal (though if I’m being completely honest the left is slightly bigger than the right), instead of using the equivalent of an eye patch to keep back my wall of back fat. I was seriously like “What the hell” while Anita jumped up in triumph.

I tried on four bras, and bought two. One of the bras was a see-through lace number, the color of caramel, and therefore my “nude” bra. I knew I’d have an issue with my headlights (read: nipples, you perverts) if I tried to wear this bra under a white or light colored top. The solution was not to buy the bra in white (white bras always show under white, at least on me) but to get DIMRS. They’re like gummy bears only they’re flat and, as far as I can tell, tasteless. Instead of eating them, you moisten them then stick them on your nipples and voila, your bust looks like a Barbie’s.

When my purchases were rung up, I didn’t have sticker shop, I had DIMR shock. But it was done. I had two bras that fit me and looked good and felt good and that meant so much to me. I felt bad for the bras at home, as I’d have to give them away to a girl (or even a boy/drag queen) whose tetas would actually fit them.

The rest of the day was a pleasant blur. I spent some time at the Museum of Contemporary Art, revisiting the Alexander Calder exhibit that had so enchanted me earlier in the month. I took myself to a matinee of Nanny McPhee returns, where I got a seat next to a power outlet so I could charge my phone while I enjoyed the movie. And in the evening I went to a casual night of singing organized by my voice teacher at Old Town School, Gwen Pippin, where I got to catch up with some classmates, drink some soda, and yes, sing a song.



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