Do you ever see the appeal of a thing while knowing, deep in your heart, that the thing is not for you? I’m talking of course about the bralette, which seems to have become much more popular in these unsupported, loosey-goosey pandemic times.

I love everything about the idea of a bralette, with its wirefree cups, tiny straps, and fancy lacy back, but I do not have a bralette body. Or I guess in the spirit of every body is a beach body I technically do, except only in the sense that it is physically possible to put a bralette on.

I have long resisted the siren song of the bralette and its bullshit promises despite 1) being heavily targeted by Internet ads as a top member of the ideal bralette consumer demographic (and even accurately pegged as someone who will perk up at the ads that specifically claim to offer a solution for larger-busted ladies) and 2) really being kind of a massive sucker these days for anything that promises the holy grail convergence of cute + comfortable.

However, I was at TJ Maxx the other day (side journey to tell you that yes, I still go out browsing, masked up and fingers crossed, but I do it far less than I used to and I don’t enjoy it nearly as much) (further side journey to also tell you that I saw a women bring a dog inside and I was like LINDA YOU LEAVE THAT LADY BE on account of probably an emotional support animal PLUS pandemic but it turned out to be a FRENCH BULLDOG and come on, there is only so much a person can be expected to do in terms of self-control) (the lady and dog were very nice) and I found myself in the lingerie section, faced with the ultimate temptation: TWO bralettes, sold together, in adorable colors and pretty lace backs, for like, 7 bucks.

If I know deep down that even the most expensive well-made bralette is unlikely to do what I need it to do, I know damn good and well that an extremely flimsy and cheap 2-for-1 bralette from TJ Maxx’s clearance rack is certainly going to be a massive disappointment, but for $6.99 I couldn’t help myself. It was like that bat-eared Frenchie: IT CALLED TO ME.

This is the part of the boring story where I would love to tell you that I got home and lo! It was a miracle! My bosoms were lifted to the heavens in an effortless fashion and I was transformed into a buxom creature that exuded both comfort and sensuality! But no.

It was pretty much just as bad as I thought it would be: the back was cute enough, but the front was pure disaster. There were those too-small, too-mobile pads in the cups that utterly failed to do anything in terms of support or shaping and instead made my nipples look weirdly square. There was a lack of any kind of hefting whatsoever and my boobs fought each other in a depressing battle to rest on my navel. Instead of cleavage there was just a long saggy gap that reminded me of that tragic blobfish that looks like melted hell when dredged out of its home 4,000 feet below the water.

In the end I can chalk the failed hooter-holster up to an experiment that simply didn’t pan out but I know the ultimate truth: I was convinced it wasn’t going to work yet I bought it anyway. There is either something purely hopeful and upbeat about this entire endeavor, or the downright definition of bullheaded stupidity.

A seemingly small thing I really miss is sitting in coffee shops. Not for the coffee itself, there are plenty of drive-through options, but for the ability to take my laptop and for a brief period enjoy a work environment that is not, you know, my living room couch.

I never thought I could be one of those coffeehouse writers because I am highly distracted by Things Happening Around Me, but I found that most places have a sort of ambient bustle and hum that is oddly pleasant. Some places are better than others (high-traffic Starbucks with lots of loud impatient-seeming people: not great; lower-volume indie cafe with people lingering over their freshly-baked goods: ideal), but they all offered a break from being isolated at home along with a boost of caffeine-fueled productivity.

All right, I just told myself I wasn’t going to always write-whine about pandemic boo-hoos, so I will segue to a related topic: the caffè breve. I am about to share something you cannot unknow, so if you have never ordered this drink, I am very sorry, but your life is about to get better/worse, depending on how you feel about guzzling a LOT of fat on the reg.

A breve is made with half-and-half instead of milk, and the only reason I even know this is because pretty much all of last summer I kept ordering a latte from a local-ish chain called the “Golden Eagle,” which has caramel and vanilla syrup, and even though I always got the sugar-free version I was like WHAT UNHOLY BLACK MAGIC MAKES THIS ICED BEVERAGE SO STUPIDLY DELICIOUS. Turns out it’s because the Golden Eagle is a breve, not a latte, and upon much experimenting since then I have learned that a giant cup of half-and-half is fucking amazing no matter what added-flavor shenanigans you foist upon it.

There, let’s call this a pandemic hot tip: get the breve. Seriously. Everything is awful and exhausting and heavy cream probably can’t solve everything but we can’t know for sure unless we try.

Next Page →