Monday, August 22, 2005

My how I've grown...

A general rule of customer service in Germany is that there is none (this is according to all the German folk I've met here so far). I've been told that salespeople will literally hide from you in order to not help you when you are shopping. Now, this has not been a problem for me, as the less opportunities for me to speak my broken Denglish, the better. That said, I have had mostly favorable experiences while shopping, actually having salespeople ask me if I need help when I'm wandering aimlessly around a store. These experiences are easier for me to handle now, as I recognize the word 'hilfe', which means help in German. When asked, I usually reply, "Nein, danke, ich bin..." and then I point to my eye, because I still don't know how to say that I'm 'just looking'. However, that all changed this past week when I was in Frankfurt visiting Florian...

Since Florian was working during the day, I occupied myself by heading down to the main shopping area to, well.... shop. So I wandered into Karstadt, one of the big department stores, primarily to use their ladies room. But as I got off the escalator, I encountered the bras, and remembered item 4 on my To-Do list: "get bras". So I started looking around, and found one that I liked. I reached for the tag to check the size, and didn't see any numbers that made sense to me. I froze. How was I going to find a bra that fit (always a trying task) if I had no idea what size I was over here? Florian would be of no assistance in this matter. I continued to wander around, thinking that if I just looked at the cups of the bras, I'd be able to tell what size I might be. Not very scientific, nor accurate, as it turned out.

Then it happened.

I heard, "blahblahblah.......hilfe?" And I thought, "Yes. Yes. I need help." I swallowed my pride and fear and said, "Ja, bitte, ich weisse nicht meine..."**and since I didn't know the word for size, I ran both index fingers under my chest (as opposed to just pointing to my breasts). The saleswoman seemed to understand, as she turned on her heel and indicated for me to follow.

The next thing I knew, she had wound a tape measure around me, just under my chest. Then with a flick of her wrists, the tape measure was up around my breasts. I should mention that the saleswoman, who was probably in her early twenties, stood about eye level with my chest. She quickly determined my size.


Russ Meyer immediately popped into my mind. 80D? I was relieved that I now knew what size I was, but I couldn't help feeling like it was time for breast reduction surgery. When you come from a land where bra sizes are measured in smaller numbers, it's a bit of a shock to your system to come here and learn your size. I'm looking at the tag from one of the bras I eventually ended up buying, and these are the equivalent sizes listed:

EU 80 D (European Union?)
F 95 D (France?)
I 3 D (Italy?)

Now obviously the European Union Constitution does not stipulate that all member nations have the same sizing regulations for women's undergarments. And I guess that if you live in France you have a really great feeling about your assets, while living in Italy might have a negative effect on your body image...I'll be sure not to buy any undergarments when I visit Italy.

** Ich weiss nicht = I don't know


Anonymous Nicole said...

An A is an A is an A, whether it be EU, F, or I....

4:44 AM  
Anonymous Em said...

Hmmm, maybe i should move to germany!

4:57 PM  
Blogger Terry and Tom said...

OK, I'll let Don know what size he wears, just in case some Euroboy wants to know next time he's in New Orleans.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous tom said...

What? No pictures?

6:26 PM  
Blogger Kath said...

Oh baby, you're in Anna Nicole territory! :)

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Maura said...

i'm at a loss for words.
all I know is that my 9 year old niece just bought a bra. triple A

It staggered me when I hit D in America ....
miss you

11:36 PM  

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