So today, my student-friend Ana invited me to the mall with her after class. (She was my last student of the evening.) So we went. She was looking for some special seamless undergarments to wear under a thin summer dress.
We went into one of those pretty and tiny lingerie boutiques that fill Brazilian malls (well, at least the one in our town... like... why does a small-town mall need 5 different lingerie stores, on top of the department stores??).
My student-friend Ana is not fat by any means. She's just not patricinha-spend-all-day-at-the-gym-and-only-eating-salads thin. (Disclaimer: I know that there are some women, maybe some of you, who are just naturally thin and want to gain weight. Please don't send whiny comments. That is not the case for 95% of us.) Anyway, for Ana, that means that there are no undergarments in her size at these little cutesy boutiques. In these stores in Brazil, I wear a Large, and even then, the bras are often too small for me! (And hello, you guys have seen my pictures. Or me.) If I had tried to buy clothes in these stores during my first few months in Brazil, it wouldn't have been possible.
There is one really nice lingerie boutique close to the in-laws' house that the mother-in-law took me to. It's the only place where I'll buy bras, at least until I find a better place. They're a little expensive, but no more than Victoria's Secret, and they are really good quality. I'm sure that bigger cities (like where the in-laws live) have more options, but here in Hicktown, my very frustrated friend Ana only found one store that had one pair of seamless underwear in her size (no luck with the bra... she'll have to keep hunting around). Two stores did, however, have special bras made for skinny women with fake breasts (padding in all the right places, the attendant explained). Didn't know those existed.
Sigh. I guess there is definitely much higher social pressure to be skinny in this town, I mean, if the largest size clothes that places carry is a 6-8.
My frustration on Ana's behalf, however, was alleviated by the hilarious salesgirl at one of the boutiques. While Ana was trying on some clothes, I was wandering around the closet-sized space, browsing the products, thankful that the girls weren't trying to sell me crap. Since I hadn't talked, they didn't know I was American. A male cover of that song "Without You" was playing on the radio. You know the one-- the wonderful Mariah Carey covered it. It goes, "I can't live... if living is without you... I can't live... I can't live anymore..." Anyway. It got to a particularly emotional part of the song, and one of the two store employees started complaining. I have to tell you what she said in Portuguese first, and then I'll translate it:
Nossa, mas que CHATA esta música! Já estou cansada pra caramba, e esta música está me dando sono! E que é isso? O que que é esta Carrie Lee, Carrie Lee, hein?!
And then she changed the track in a huff.
If you don't read Portuguese and aren't laughing yet, the girl said:
Jesus, this song is ANNOYING! I'm already tired as hell, and this music is putting me to sleep! And what the heck is this Carrie Lee, Carrie Lee, huh?!
Ana was in the dressing room and could therefore not meet my eye and enjoy the moment with me. I certainly didn't want to seem like an arrogant foreigner by laughing or correcting her. I know there's no reason she has to know English. So I just bit my lip as hard as I could and forced myself not to say "It's CAN'T LIVE, not CARRIE LEE! Bahahaha!".
So funny! Come on, even if you're Brazilian, you have to admit that it's funny. And if you still don't think it's funny, I found this for you so that this entry doesn't feel Ameri-centric and unfair.
The moment totally made my night. I felt so lucky for almost having this happen to me in real life:
So even though Ana was frustrated with her lingerie searches, at least we got some entertainment (of course I told her about it as soon as we left the store).