Big-busted, bra-buying blues

Even if I belonged to the Republican party, I would never vote for Bob Dole. I have no idea what his political stance is, but he looks too much like the Grinch in the Dr. Seuss cartoon to elicit a vote from me. This tells much about my knowledge of politics and why I should steer clear of the subject. So, instead of offering my opinion of the Republican primaries, I will rant about something I know much more about - bra shopping.

For women who wear an A-, B- or C-cup, bra shopping is easy. There is a seemingly endless selection of styles and colors from which to choose in the small- to medium-cup range. The fabrics used to construct A-, B- and C-cup bras range from a filmy, sheer nylon to the popular "Wonder bra," which contains so much padding it could probably stop a bullet.

Even if a woman wears a D- or a DD-cup, she can still find a decent selection of bras in certain department stores. However, in most department stores, the D- and DD-cup bras are usually hidden at the bottom of the bra rack, behind some token C-cups. I would assume this is to avoid traumatizing teenage boys and the faint-of-heart. However, by placing the larger-cupped bras close to the floor, these stores are making their bustiest clients miserable by forcing them to bend over, rummage through the bottom of the rack, then, finally, heft those melons back into a standing position.

But, alas, I do not wear any of the above cup sizes. Therefore, when my bras break down and give up, I must go on a "bra hunt." A bra hunt can be compared to a snipe hunt, since I end up wandering through a forest of bras in the lingerie department, searching for something that doesn't exist. Actually, my bra size does exist, but all I can find in a 36F is an industrial-strength, steel-belted radial, breast-immobilizing iron maiden, with 32 hooks down the back.

This is ridiculous. Why is it that bra manufacturers feel that if a woman is bigger than a DD-cup, she needs to have her breasts strapped in like twin astronauts preparing for lift-off? Mine stand up all by themselves without a bra, but if I buy my size, "the boys" end up swaddled in a garment that is constructed of either beige or white trampoline fabric. The only other option I have is to buy a 38DD with the cups in stretch lace, stretch velvet or spandex. The extra two inches around, combined with the stretchy cups, usually makes up for the difference, so I'm not pooching out the sides and spilling out over the top of my bra.

Lingerie manufacturers are notorious for playing cruel mind games, with their catalogs, on busty women. Many times I have been poring through a lingerie catalog, hoping for the good fortune of finding a decent-looking bra in an F-cup. I turn the page and find a photo of a model with breasts exactly like mine, and she's wearing a very attractive bra. I look at the ad for the bra and find the dreaded words: Available in AAA, AA, A, B and C Cups Only. Where did that model get her bra? It must have been tailor-made for the ad. I feel if a company is going to depict a product, the depiction should be somewhat accurate. Sadly, this is normally not the case when the product is a bra.

Wouldn't it be nice if some fashion designer decided to target women who, except for large breasts, are normal everywhere else? There are plenty of bras out there that are big around, with small cups. What we need are bras that are small around with big cups. Real big cups. Also, they should be made just like those gorgeous bras we see mostly in B- and C-cup sizes, but with much bigger cups. All the bustiest women in the country are going to be eternally grateful to whomever winds up manufacturing these bras. It seems as if this would be enough motivation to get someone to do it.

American breasts are bigger and bouncier than ever. This is by no means a secret; Joe Walsh (formerly of The Eagles) sang a song about it on his You Bought It, You Name It album called "I.L.B.T.'s."

So why are bras as tiny as ever? None of the women I've spoken with have an answer to this question. However, all of the well-endowed women shared the same opinion: We need nice, attractive, big-cupped bras, and we want panties to match!

Paula Huff is a biology junior. Her column appears every other Friday.

Paula Huff