I know you've missed me. Of course you have. I've missed you too.
A story. About bras.
"My daughter would like to be measured."
No. No, she wouldn't. The daughter, me, is hovering in the door of the shop, deeply regretting having pointed out that she has returned home from five weeks travelling with no bras. The rucksack ate them. Or an American stole them. That's another story.
"Mmph" I offer, sidling towards the saleswoman. "I've, er, never been measured."
"Oh. Really?" She is looking me over. I am wearing a bra that, I believe, fits. I haven't been this nervous since my Oxford interview. My knowledge of all that is womanly is about to be tested.
She gropes me.
"What do you wear?"
Clearly, this is the wrong answer. The expression on her face is akin to the moment when I told the Oxford professor that the tomb he was showing me was clearly a watch tower.
She gives me something to try on. It is enormous. Briefly, I contemplate putting it on my head, then I remember I am not a boy, and put it on properly.
"It's tight." I moan, when the lady reappears.
"That is how it is meant to be. In fact, it could be tighter." She pulls at it. "See how it sits at the sides?" she makes me lift my arms "That's how it's meant to look."
After many many repeats of this same conversation, we settle on a size. It involves compromise, and mutterings of a 30 back ("Ow" I say, though apparently that is Good) and an F cup (too big. Thank God).
"32E." She announces to my mother, proudly, like the baby is healthy and has all its toes.
The upshot is, I spent the rest of my student loan on underwear, and I now have bras people can wear as hats.