My mission today: to buy jeans, eye liner and a brow pencil, black ankle boots, melba toast and reduced fat cheese. Oh, and a sports bra.

Nothing like trying on sports bras to make a woman feel like her breasts are insignificant, annoying protrusions. Can these elastic contraptions be any harder to put on? Contortionists have an easier time wrapping their feet around their heads than I did trying on sports bras at Victoria’s Secret today. One flattened the girls out so badly I looked like a 12-year-old boy. Another gave me so much cleavage that if I wore it to the gym I’d suffocate doing crunches. I ended up buying a regular old hook-in-the-back padded t-shirt bra from Wal-Mart for $6.50. It’ll keep down the bounce, and no one at the gym will know when I have a chill. What more could a girl on an elliptical want?

I found some jeans that looked okay, which is no small feat considering I have a butt as flat as an iron. The back pockets on most jeans I try on sit on my thighs rather than my ass, making me look like an 80-year-old rodeo clown. Thank god for Levis. They’re utilitarian, no frills. It should be a felony to design jeans with sequins and beads and embroidered butterflies on the pockets.

Before the bra fiasco, I went to Dick’s to try on some potential workout clothes. This was a lot more depressing than trying on jeans and bras since I had to deal with the entire me – winter-white skin, knobby knees and 24-year-old stretch marks – all under the oh-so-flattering glow of fluorescent lights. It was a spandex nightmare. I walked out empty handed and grateful my old t-shirt and knee-length sweatpants survived another washing yesterday. I’m just not meant to be a workout fashion queen.

Purchasing the eye liner and brow pencil should have been a no-brainer, but the lady at the Clinique counter was like a candy store salesman.

“We have roast coffee, dark chocolate, shy brown, moss and violet,” she said, drawing a line from each on the back of her hand for me to compare. “They’d all look so nice with your eye color!”

If I’d been albino she’d have said the same thing, but I thanked her just the same. I smiled and said I’d take the dark chocolate since I’m too stuck in my ways to shake up my look with violet and too afraid to try anything called moss.

My next stop was the shoe department where I found, tried on, and purchased black boots all within five minutes – a personal record. On my way to the shoes, however, I was fortunate to observe the sweatpants sale at Macy’s. As I walked past the racks of velour, I saw a large group of 75-year-old women eagerly perusing the racks for matching warm-up suits.

“Here’s a pink one, Doris!” one exclaimed.

“Esther! Here’s a size 16!” yelled another.

I’d never seen a run on sweatpants before. I swear those little old ladies, cute as they were, would have sounded whistles and beat me to a pulp if I’d tried to look at any of the racks.

After a salad (dressing on the side) at Panera and coffee (a tall decaf with half-and-half) at Starbucks, I mustered enough energy to leave the mall and drive a mile to the new mega-mega Wal-Mart. We have a Super Wal-Mart in my little town, but this Wal-Mart made ours seem like a boutique. This was a warehouse Wal-Mart, with cement floors and miles of aisles, a hair salon, nail salon, eye clinic, bank, and an H&R Block. Where was I? Main Street? All I wanted was a bra, cheese, and melba toast, which in and of itself is a weird combination, but in our super-store society, I’m used to power tools and pudding sharing space on my grocery list. Why not get my taxes, nails and hair done, too?

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The cherry on this surreal ice cream sundae was going to the restroom and listening to a woman talk on her cell phone while she sat on the john. Do we really not have enough time in our lives that we have to talk on the phone and pee at the same time in a Wal-Mart filled with services that satisfy our basic and not-so-basic needs?

It was appropriate, then, that when I got home I discovered I’d bought the wrong sized bra.

(insert big sigh)

I’ll eat the six bucks. I got the jeans, the eye liner, the brow pencil, the boots, the melba toast and plastic cheddar cheese. Mission accomplished. I guess.

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