After I posted about the difficulties we were facing as a business, the rallying cry of support from people whose lives were made better by the shop touched me on such a deep, emotional level that I can only describe it as love. Yes, I truly love all of you who so willingly gave your support, who shared the post, who encouraged others to visit us, who sent me personal words of encouragement and solidarity. You made my life better through your actions, and I have spent the better part of the week crying and smiling while reading everyone’s messages. My takeaway was that I not only made the right decision in fighting to keep the shop afloat, but also that I am very fortunate to be part of such a loving, caring community.
Today, I am checking my usual humor at the door and ripping down the curtains obscuring the view into the true state of our business: Last month, I planned to shut our doors permanently by the end of December. Usually when I contemplate closing, it’s in the midst of an emotional meltdown, all sobs or screams and half-serious intentions. The toll of small business ownership and a never-ending string of bad luck in the last four years more than once made want to quit and work a corporate job where life may not be better but at least it’d be easier. As the tears dried and my mood stabilized, I’d rush remorsefully back to the shop as if it were a sentient being whose feelings I injured with my idle threats.
Coming on the heels of John’s emotional post about his gynecomastia journey, our final guest post is from none other than Shay Hansen himself who posted previously about his terrifying experience with the TSA. One of the things Shay and I have discussed privately before is how many instances of everyday life men with gynecomastia experience differently, especially those who wear bras for support. No amount of personal acceptance or encouragement from family and friends changes how, at some point, these men will have to reveal they wear bras to a stranger. As much as I believe in the innate goodness of people, there will always be those who cannot or will not understand why a man would choose to wear what is typically defined as a woman’s garment. To make yourself vulnerable to the opinions of a stranger can be frightening and takes a tremendous amount of courage. As a result, today Shay wanted to share memorable situations from his past where he was confronted with others unexpectedly finding out about his condition or his need and desire to wear bras. On a personal note, I think stories like this remind us to be kinder to our fellow humans and to judge less. This world is hard enough for all of us without letting prejudice and ignorance influence how we interact with others. Just be kind.
Hi Everyone! Our co-owner Jason is making a triumphant return with a blog post detailing his undying love for Saxx underwear. This post tickles me because, as you will find out, the first time my dad heard about my interest in Saxx for the store, he raised his eyebrows in that dad sort of way and asked if I was serious about $30-per-pair underwear for men. He could not fathom a universe where he, conqueror of the Walmart bargain bin, would ever voluntarily spend such a massive amount on underwear. That was until I bought him a pair, and he had to have more. But, I won’t spoil it. You can read it in his own words below!
TweetHello Everyone! Today marks the first of three guest posts this week, all by men. I guess you could sing “It’s blogging men!” Yes, I am a sucker for bad jokes. Anyway, today’s post is from a client suffering from
Hi Everyone! Today I am pleased to present a guest post from my business partner/aunt Debbie. After my dad’s scare this year, cancer has been ever present in our minds, and my aunt is no stranger to this terrible disease. As a child, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent significant treatment including surgeries and radiation to survive. My grandmother often told my brother and me stories about the tribulations the family endured and encouraged us to show kindness and compassion toward others regardless of their circumstances. In the 70s, a cancer diagnosis did not always receive the same rallying support cry it does today. My grandparents nearly lost their home paying for medical bills–an ongoing problem which has yet to change, and with no Go Fund Me or social support system, it meant sacrifices and long hours working multiple jobs all while carrying for an ill child. In some working class, religious areas like where my grandparents called home, neighbors and friends justified their often cruel behavior behind the guise of religious piety, claiming cancer was a misfortune brought on by the family’s failure to to be Christian enough or to show their praise to God. Rather than offer any help, they shied away from my family and considered them social pariahs deserving of whatever happened. Even the less religious were content to delight in the suffering of my grandparents and aunt, often pulling unspeakably awful pranks or spreading rumors that Debbie was mentally deranged or contagious. My aunt watched as all her play friends were quickly ushered behind closed doors, leaving her alone in a time when she was most vulnerable. Now, we send money, love, and prayers, even to strangers, but then, a person’s closest friends would abandon them. And so for today’s post, Debbie wanted to talk about her upbringing as well as her own cancer experience and how it changed her.
Hello Everyone! First, I apologize for such an erratic blogging year. Between my dad’s cancer scare, catching e-coli from romaine lettuce (yes, I am that damn unlucky), getting a staph infection, being targeted by homophobic, racist boycotters, and then back to cancer scare mode with dad . . . well, 2018 has sucked. But, we’re in fall now, and I love fall. It’s a season for closure, and I hope this chapter finally ends and a brighter future begins. Even though I have not been writing, the ideas have steadily flowed, and I am allotting some time each week to catch up. In the meantime, I have today’s review as well as four guest posts I’ll be sharing while I sort through everything and plan my schedule.
[CW: Racism, Homophobia, Language, #MAGA]
Hello Everyone! As of today, A Sophisticated Pair has officially been in business for seven years! Can you believe the incredible journey we’ve experienced? It’s been a hell of a ride! In honor of the milestone, I have several reflective posts planned on how my feelings about my business and bras have changed since opening as well as the resurrection of our statistical analysis series. However, in the meantime, I want to thank everyone for their ongoing support with a giveaway and sale!
Hello everyone! Originally, I hoped to review the Fit Fully Yours Maxine a couple years ago when I was still wearing a UK 30H and consequently purchased the bra in size North American 32J (UK 32GG). However, before I found time to prepare the necessary materials, my size changed, and the bra I purchased no longer fit. No big deal, right? I moved on to other items with the intention of circling back to Maxine soon. Eventually, I repurchased the bra in a 34J (UK 34GG) and added the review back in the queue. Spoiler alert: My weight continued to roller coaster, by which I mean it went up at a sharp incline while I looked down at my scale screaming “Whyyyyyyyy?” Last fall, I not only repurchased Maxine for the third time, a 36J (UK 36GG), but I also decided to test the style in the store and gauge customer feedback. Sometime around November, I took pictures and shot a video only for them to mysteriously vanish and need to be redone a few weeks ago. Persistence is a virtue in my book, and I am extraordinarily pleased to finally present the review.