Saturday, April 14, 2007


Size does not matter
by Kacukan Siam

SITTING down to join the gang for dinner at The Curve a couple of weeks ago, Zee blurted out: “Have you guys bought a bra recently?”

Her question got our attention, especially us two guys in the group, who have no such fetish as wearing female clothing.

But Zee was serious. She told the two of us to listen, as her question had serious implications for everyone.

“I bought a few pairs recently and I noticed that I had to buy a cup size larger than usual,” said the well-endowed thirty-something marketing officer who, I presume, is pretty well stacked up there.

“This is on top of the fact that the only reason I bought new ones is because I have lost weight. So my boobs couldn’t have gotten bigger. I have a conspiracy theory that the manufacturers are out to dupe us.”

However, the four other girls in our group were all ears. One even admitted that the last time she bought a brassiere she, too, had to buy a cup size larger.

Zee theorised that the manufacturers of ladies undergarments were “conning” buyers, flattering them through changing the size of the cups.

“Imagine, you have been wearing an A cup all your life and suddenly you graduate to a B size for no apparent reason. It is such a confidence booster, and I am sure you will only buy a bra of that particular brand after that. It is all an advertising gimmick,” accused this excitable friend of mine.

A more knowledgeable Sam said this was quite a common practice in the US,
“Even the panties in the US start with a size ‘0’. Their bottoms are so big, how can it start with a zero,” she exclaimed.

Curious, I have been canvassing female colleagues over the past two weeks, asking if they had bought undergarments recently, and was there indeed an increase in size.
Most believed that I was not being funny, but there were a couple of you-die stares – until I explained in detail the reason for my line of questioning.
One fashion writer sat me down and explained that this was an old ploy; no one wants to be told that they are too big or too small.
“Would you like to be told you are a size 10 all the time? You will not even go shopping after a while. So, clothing companies ‘shrink the size’ so that people will buy,” she explained.
“It is the same for bra cups. No one likes to be told that their sizes have not changed since they were 15. No one likes to be told that they are flat as an airport runway. The bigger cup size gives a perception of improvement.”
Thinking back, I realised that I, too, had fallen for this ploy. In January, while shopping for Chinese New Year, I walked into a well-known local boutique in MidValley Mega Mall minutes before closing time.
I saw a short-sleeved shirt I liked and asked for an XL size to fit my portly figure. The sales assistant said she only had an L size and encouraged me to give it a try.
I shop regularly at this boutique and was surprised that the shirt fitted. In my mind I thought “Hmm ... I must have lost weight.” Being so pleased with myself, I bought two shirts – sized L.
After what Zee said, I compared the new shirts with the ones I bought last year. True enough, they were actually the same size although the size label says otherwise.
For three months, I had been walking around thinking I was looking fitter even though the weighing scales disagreed.
Two days ago, three of us were sitting at one of the cafes opposite our office and started talking about weight loss for health’s sake.
In November, Jack had a heart attack scare, but on diagnosis, it was found to be no more than a strained chest muscle. However, the cardiologist who checked him said he was a prime candidate for a real heart attack because he was grossly overweight.
Frightened by the experience, he went on a crash diet coupled with an exercise regime.
He signed up at a gym and walked daily on a treadmill.
“The first few days I could hardly walk for seven minutes, and I decided to do it slowly,” he said.
Today, Jack is 15kg lighter and is able to run continuously for 30 minutes. This is followed by another 15 minutes of pumping iron. He now eats only at home and eats a chapatti meal.
Feeling inspired by Jack’s success, I promised myself that I would also try to fight the bulge.
“My present waistline is 36 and I want to reduce it to 34,” I declared to Jack, adding that I was waking up the next morning to hop on my bicycle to start my weight loss programme.
I even made sure I finished work by 8pm that night and headed home to have a good night’s rest but I was so excited by my new-found enthusiasm to bring my 83kg weight down that I could not sleep.
When I opened my eyes, it was already 8.45am and it was time to get to work. I missed my bike ride and was so upset I treated myself to a hearty breakfast, which only got me more depressed.
I will be looking for Jack tomorrow to get him to inspire me to give it another try. Otherwise, I will just shop for another extra large size shirt.

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