I wear a B cup. My boobs are not too big, not too small. I’m thin and on the shorter side with absolutely no booty to speak of, so if my breasts were bigger I think I’d look weird and disproportionate. As it stands, I can now go braless sometimes in the summer when I’m wearing a halter or tank top and it’s crazy hot outside. Sure, there are days when I look longingly at my fuller-breasted friends and wish I could fill out a sweater the way that they do, but overall I’m pretty happy with how I look, especially when the same friends bemoan their back problems.

However, most bra stores don’t seem to feel the same way I do about my tits. Even the most basic, unglamorous workaday 32B model comes with breasts included. I don’t have a problem with a little lining, especially on a lighter-colored bra that I might wear under a tight T-shirt, but when every single thing available in my size comes with an extra cup size free of charge, I wonder if the store is trying to give me a complex. As much as blogs and magazines love to make fun of Heidi Montag and her excessive plastic surgery, clothing manufacturers seem to be hoping that women will secretly buy into her aesthetic. After all, stuffing our bras reminds us of middle school, but this time someone else does the stuffing for you. The bras in my size come with everything from a gentle layer to a layer cake’s thickness of padding. When I ask specifically for something unpadded, I am handed a sports bra.

Last week, a friend of mine was in town for a long weekend. She’s a mom of two who hardly ever gets time for herself, so I scheduled lots of shopping time into our itinerary. One of the things she wanted to do was go this store where they custom-fit you for a bra. “Eighty percent of women are wearing the wrong size bra,” she informed me sagely, quoting someone she’d seen on Oprah. “My boobs have totally changed since I had kids, and I haven’t bought any new bras. I know it’s time.” My friend – we’ll call her Kimberly – was right. As soon as she stepped into the dressing room at the bra store, the saleswoman said loudly, “Oh my.” Soon, Kimberly was trying on half the bras in the shop as the saleswoman helped her figure out her proper size. Kimberly came out clutching a pile of bras, her face flushed. “I feel amazing. You have to do it. You have to go in.”

Since she was so happy, I said OK. I went into a small dressing room and stood there topless while a middle-aged French woman clucked her tongue at me.

“You should probably be wearing a 32….B. I know, you always think you should go up to a 34 or 36A, but most women don’t think it’s their cup size that’s…”

“I wear a 32B.”

“You do?”

I picked my bra up off the table and showed it to her. She examined the tag, and then me, closely.

“It appears you’re wearing the right size,” she said.

“Someone has to be in the 20 percent,” I said.

“I have something lovely in a 32B if you’d like to try it.”

She handed me what she’d picked out – it was pink and filmy with little rosettes on it. Totally inappropriate for everyday casual wear. I wanted to hate it, but something stopped me. The bra was not padded. It might have been prissy and feminine. It might have cost fifty dollars and not matched any of my underwear. But I bought it right then and there, just because it wasn’t padded, and (I told myself) because I didn’t want Kimberly to be the only one buying anything. And I might currently be sporting a baby-pink demi cut bra with two cute little rosebuds right on top of my nipples, but I’m also not carting around an ’80s shoulder pad’s worth of foam under my chest, and that’s pretty awesome too.