Asian-chested is not an oxymoron

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Big Boob Meltdown

Infamous big boob problem: button-down shirts.

Unavoidable situation: ultra-formal interview.

Countdown to interview: nervous googling, unsuccessful shopping, major profanity, unbridled frustration and tears melting together into one giant hot mess.

I have a suit that is pretty fantastic and fits me well. I got the sleeves tailored a few days ago, but put off figuring out the clothes underneath until two days pre-interview because I was busy, you know, working the job that I do have now. It’s my first skirt suit (and I will never understand why it’s more conservative to walk around pants-less) and the super-high waist of the skirt was really awkward at first but now I’m used to it.

But holy shit, how am I supposed to dress underneath without looking like
I got run over by the distressed wrinkle monster;
b) I am all boob and nothing else;
c) I am tent, hear me swim;
I am balloon, watch me float;
e) I am being asphyxiated by my own clothing;
or f) all of the above plus some??

If I size down, I gape through the top buttons and destroy all semblance of being in a piece of shaped clothing when I lift my arms.

If I size up, I gape through the bottom buttons and destroy all semblance of being in a piece of shaped clothing when I lift my arms.

In both cases, the shirt folds in under my bust in the most amazing display of awkwardness since ever, and tucked-ness goes straight to hell if I move a muscle. Also, I can basically fit another person on my back in my shirt. All the shirts.

Because it’s fun to have my nerves played with by unwieldy clothing rather than making myself the best interviewee for the job, right? RIGHT?

(I am now home from this interview, and I’m having no luck trying to calm down about it. I’m thinking about giving myself some temporal leeway with this blog just to ease off on self-pressuring for a while, but I wanted to get this post out and away first.)


The bra community over at reddit is really tightly fused with the body image community, and I’ve found really similar, if sometimes indirect, sentiments in bra blogs out here too.

One thing that I see lots of people promote is to be able to maintain your self esteem with internal strength, and to not base your confidence on the opinions of other people. At the same time, if someone compliments you, it’s important and healthy to be able to accept it and let it affect you in a good way.

There’s one compliment that I’ve held onto and treasured for a long time.

The most important thing you need to know about the person who gave it is that she’s very intelligent, extremely talented, very strong, really sweet, and she will not take your bullshit. So, if she says that you are adorable, it is a fact that you are adorable. If you ask whether or not you should skip class because you can’t do it today and she says skip, you do not go to class today. (In conclusion, she’s cool, I love her, and her words are not to be taken lightly unless she says them with the special look.)

There are also some things to know about the era during which this compliment was given. I was rounding out a really intense and emotionally exhausting bout of eczema. I’d never had skin conditions before, and then boom! Flaky, angry skin all over one side of my face and along my arm of the same side. The one thing that softened my initial horror was that I have a very good friend who’s been balancing perpetual eczema all her life, so I did have people to go to for good help. She and a mutual friend, another amazing woman I’ve known forever, really helped me with accepting it as something that happened, dealing with it and with finding products to treat my sudden eczema. (Unfortunately, to this day I have no idea what the trigger was.)

The eczema did not go away for several months. Although I dealt with it, I hated it. I wasn’t the person to go around thinking I was pretty, but eczema on my face crushed me deep. I went to a dermatologist and per her suggestions, switched all my laundry detergent and body washes. I went to a Chinese doctor and drank unfortunate amounts of unbelievably bitter medicine. Nothing helped. I’d never thought of myself as vain, but I cried almost every night at the thought that I’d be red, flaky, bumpy, itchy and disgusting for the rest of my life.

Now that you have all this overly detailed context, I’ll treat you to the compliment, gifted unto me one day at recitation:

“Please don’t be offended, because this is a common and legitimate question where I’m from, but… are you pregnant? You’re kind of glowing.”

I cannot express in words how absolutely charmed I was. It was a particularly bad time in my life as far as body image (I was almost nearing the end, but I didn’t know that!) and I was completely floored to hear something good, delivered so matter-of-factly, about my appearance.

We’d just met that semester, so I admit that at that time I didn’t think of her the same way I think of her now (as in, I wasn’t quite as familiar with her Superwoman-ness) but that sometimes makes a compliment stronger; someone you don’t know that well doesn’t have a deceptive reason to make you feel better just out of the blue.

Usually, I’d want to dissect how and why this is so amazing… but I really just like to remember the organic whole of this and smile.

By the way, I wasn’t pregnant. In case that was in question.

(I’m glad to report that the eczema has left and I have not seen signs of a return since its happy departure.)

Happy Valentine’s!

Discovery: Japanese Culture on Men in Lingerie Stores

I came across this really fun video on Youtube about Japanese social norms regarding lingerie shopping. Take a look!

This video is from a channel geared towards Japanese language and culture learners, and my favorite videos are when Tomoko and Victor work together to analyze and teach Japanese culture and news. The topic for the video above, if you haven’t watched it, is an incident that Tomoko saw while she was shopping with her daughter for lingerie.

What basically happened was, there was a guy/girl couple shopping together, and a woman shopping alone. The single woman was really uncomfortable shopping with the guy around, so she complained to the clerk. She was complaining really loudly, so the guy overheard and got angry too, and the two of them started to argue. The clerk had to call security on them. The guard came in and Tazed everyone.

A few takeaways and comparisons:

How men avoid lingerie stores completely: It makes complete sense for men to be uncomfortable around women’s undergarments in public, and all the men I see hanging around Victoria’s Secrets and lingerie departments of larger stores do look extremely uncomfortable and even slightly panicky, but hell, so was I until a few years ago. The fact that they’re there is not uncommon, though, and I can’t really find a sense that it’s culturally taboo for them to be around.

The sense that the woman’s looking like an “upstanding citizen” and the fact that she brought up a complaint and started arguing are contrasting: This is more a social/cultural issue, I think. “A women looks like a nice person, but she’s speaking up about being uncomfortable.” Would this sentence still be using a “but” conjunction in other places? (Also, HAHA at the “women don’t usually get that angry”.)

Cute but really inconvenient that the Japanese rendition of lingerie (ranjerii, /rɑndʒɜri:/) is so similar to laundry (in English, approximately /rɑndʒri:/).

What do you think of the video?

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