Age 11. Newman's. Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh.
The training bra section is located right next to the registers, and the windows, and incongruously, boy's belts. I linger for one hot flat New York minute. Then move on to sweater vests.
Age 12. Again, Newman's.
My mom buys a Jockey For Her Three-Pak for me while I am at Little's Shoe Store up the street, trying on Mary Janes and focusing all of my energy on whether I want black patent leather, or matte black leather. I want matte black leather.
Age 14. The Pussycat, a lingerie boutique for middle-aged women. Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh. (Victoria's Secret still does not yet exist.)
I purchase a flight of Playtex soft cups. No, my mother purchases them. Then she and the shopkeeper tell me about about the weird cone-shaped bras of the 1950s when they "were girls" and they say the word "nipple" like it's just a normal everyday word and I want to die.
Age 18. Monroeville Mall, Pittsburgh.
-- Victoria's Secret is at the Monroeville mall! -- They have push-up bras! Someone is spreading these rumors.