Brought to you by the letter "B"
and the word "Inappropriate"
Well kids, this is a story I've told a lot. I've been wanting to tell it here for a long time but haven't really had the opportunity. Now that I live in a different state, however, and enough of my social circle has changed that even these very specific character references won't be recognized (but by you few adoring minions who were THERE)...
I can share the deets.
And now, here they are.
You know how, at work, you develop different kinds of friendships with the people you spend your time with? And like, how those social agreements kindof evolve? For instance, I once worked in an office full of great people and as time went on I learned how exactly horrible everyone was in their own little way, and then as time went on even more I learned how perfectly normal it all was in the grand scheme of things. In this office, I started out kindof invisible... as one does when one is a temp. I figured out the power players pretty quickly, and the bullies and the harmless types. There were a few I couldn't peg right away and there was one who I thought hated me outright.
Of course I was terribly wrong on that last count and thank goodness because that singular person has been a tremendously positive influence on my life. But I digress.
One of these harmless types, it turns out, was a woman who (forgive me) if she had not been employed or if you had seen her in a grocery store, anyone would decribe her as "elderly". Or at the very least on the brink of it. Not that it's a count against her, of course, quite the opposite in fact. She was, as far as I could tell a strong professional in a man's business. And she had been there a while. So that's always kinda' cool. You know? So I made friends.
And she and I bonded over certain things. She and I were both on our best behavior, it seems, in those early days. We chatted about her grandkids, and her family and her dogs (both of which she adored beyond measure). I fixed her computer a few times and adjusted her password settings as events warranted and helped her through a range of very basic I.T. kinds of situations.
Then the topic came up about body types. She's kindof an apple shaped woman, built like a stack of pancakes. You know... in layers.
I'm not. I mean, I have my own layers but for now they aren't as... pronounced. I still have a waistline, for instance. Again, not a mark against her.
The thing we both have in common, as she was keen to bring up the fact that we were both quite bosomy. I have, dear gentle readers and frothing minions alike, what many might call a "matronly" bosom. The gods were generous in the boobs department (note: after I got to college. I was a late bloomer and BOY HOWDY... again, I digress). She suffered similarly, though she was about fifty years ahead of me on the boob-age timeline.
Frankly, I didn't see a sisterhood there but she did. In our daily interactions, at least once a week it was brought to my attention that "oh, how we two are similarly blessed and burdened". Ehm... right. It was awkward. Not least because that conversation also happened in a few other offices I was friends with and the theme was becoming inescapable. That'll teach me for wearing turtlenecks and loose-fitting, frumptacular, "full coverage" kinds of tops to work, eh?
Well, I also have a personal space issue, which she ignored completely. She regularly came to my workstation for program advice or how-to's and instead of keeping a respectful distance she'd lean waaaaay over my shoulder and her ample (if advanced) bosom would end up perching like a parrot right next to my earlobe. She'd breathe down my face as she craned for a better view of my screen and gently reassure me of her presence with her hand on my other shoulder. I'm not sure she could sense how horribly uncomfortable I was, but I'm not sure it would have mattered. WE were pals, and it shouldn't have mattered (to her) and so there I was, trying to be professional and not get a lethal case of the boobie-jeebies.
Anyway, our friendship progressed and over time it became clear that she really trusted me. It was nice. In an adopted great-aunt kind of way. The kind of adopted great-aunt who goes to the bathroom with the door open, say, or who has no problem heaving her pancake-layered-self onto other people's bodies simply to jostle for a better view of a computer screen that's big enough to signal space.
And then she decided to retire. Ye gods. I was saved. She was super nice, mind you, but the thought of one more reassuring grip on my shoulder while her warm midsection pressed against my spine and shoulder.... yeah, I was close to losing it entirely.
So as she left the office things got socially unhinged with everyone for a while. Reasons I won't go into here... but this is where the saga of the black bra comes into sharp focus... see.
A week after her last day, our beloved heroine here returns in all her glory with gifts for the office. Parting gifts, if you will . To express her gratitude for years of kindness and commeraderie. Or whatever.
She gently dropped a fancy little gift bag in front of me. It was all tissue and saccharine-colored paper that spoke volumes of "this is a thoughtful present for YOU."
She insisted I open it in front of her.
Gently asserting that this was too terribly generous of her, I pulled the tissue paper aside and I glimpsed some black elastic, some black lace, and what appeared to be cream-colored fabric.
She then explained to me, gently and sweetly as could be, the following:
"Now I've had this one for a while and I didn't care for it. It looks like it should be your size so I thought you should have it. It was really expensive, so I didn't want to throw it away. I've only worn it once, you see, and I washed it so you don't need to worry."
And then I died.
A lungful of what I can only tell you smelled like wet dog, cold coffee, and cigarette smoke... crept up at me from the interior of that horrible little bag.
I heard choking noises from the two offices closest to me.
I sputtered and backpedaled and begged for time to stop.
I blushed with every capillary known to modern medicine, and then some.
My jaw dangled uselessly and my whole brain bluescreened.
I met her kindly eyes and sputtered. She smiled warmly and patted my desk and said something like "you're welcome, I hope it fits" and then went about the rest of her deliveries.
She had only worn it once.
It was a bra.
It was a big bra.
It was a black lace bra that smelled like dogs and coffee and smokes.
And it was all mine.
My skin continues to writhe in discomfort as I remember what I can of the remaining moments.
It has been recounted to me that her other deliveries consisted of gifting used company shirts (in womens' sizes) to men, plain, stained shirts to women, and then a vasty open space in her old office where she had kindly arranged for movers to come in and remove her old desk. Which had already been assigned to another co-worker. Who was using it at the time.
But I got the bra, kids.
And apart from sharing the story with the appropriate, snikkering co-workers who were just as aghast and horrified as I was (well, almost), that bra did NOT leave the bag.
Neither did the bag leave my desk. I was at a loss for what to do with it... so I just tucked it away behind me and pretended hard that it never happened.
But when she came back and saw the bag on my desk a week later... well she was hurt. And that kindof killed the joke right there because she was pretty upset that I hadn't taken it home yet and worn it proudly. I apologized, guttering about how I had forgotten or that I hadn't had something or other or whatever... but the gig was up. It was pretty clear that I was an ingrate.
And her attitude about THAT, then, re-ignited the joke of course and has forever galvanized the preceeding story as the Saga of the Black Bra. Also known as Chapter 1 in my personal logbook of inappropriate gifts received by co-workers.
And yes. That means that there are other chapters.
But no. I'm not going to tell you those here. Yet. I need a few more years.
So please, gentle readers, think twice before giving your used underwear to a co-worker. For no matter how accurate you think your judgement of breast-size is, you will be wrong. And you will be devastated when you see that your gift is ignored. And you will never know how many people learn that your boobs smell like wet dog and bad cigarettes.
B: It's for Black. and Bra.