Lum: Tupperware party, Aspen style
My friend Marjorie owned a small farm in Crawford, where she raised chickens and sheep, boarded a few horses and supplemented her income with every get-rich-quick scheme that came down the pike, especially those with franchise fees attached to them.
In the summer of 1972, she had already been disabused of the idea of raising the chinchillas that filled a floor of her barn, but she was talking excitedly about the value of ostrich meat. I tried my best to talk her out of a surefire chain letter, but she persisted, and it came, as usual, to naught, but she had a new business going as a sales representative for an earthshaking new brand of brassieres.
Marjorie was a pretty, blond, buxom widow in her early 50s. I had met her through my friend Terry, my first ad assistant, and between them they cooked up the idea to have a brassiere demonstration and selling party at my house because my place was bigger than Terry’s, conveniently located on Hopkins Avenue where Alpine Bank’s parking lot is now.
I didn’t realize then, but found out soon enough, that by agreeing to be the hostess of this event, I was also expected to round up enough of a crowd of women to make Marjorie’s trip from Crawford and back worth her while.
I should insert here that the women’s-lib bra-burning movement was still simmering on back burners, so the timing was perfect.
When I called potential guests, the reaction was, “What kind of a party?” When I repeated that it was a bra party, the invitees accepted out of sheer curiosity and an attitude of, “Now this I gotta see.”
If I’d known I’d be writing about it 42 years later, I’d have taken notes. I don’t remember the brand name of the bra, but I clearly recall how it worked. It was built like a nursing bra, with front flaps that opened like the trapdoor of kids’ pajama bottoms. You would then firmly pull your breasts through these openings, including (this was the important part) all the fatty tissue around the armpits and below the breasts, and then hook the flaps shut. Voila — your boobies were twice as big as they were when you started.
Using a sample bra, Marjorie explained its construction to the enthralled group in my living room and then asked if we would like a demonstration. Well, of course we’d all like a live demonstration — what better way to enliven a bra party?
Without hesitation, Marjorie stripped to the waist and began pulling her girls through the openings of the bra, all the while extolling the workmanship and details of the bra that made it worth its exorbitant cost.
Thunderstruck, and with varying degrees of modesty, the participants scattered throughout the house to try on the bras Marjorie had — often with some patting down during the evaluation — recommended for them. For half an hour my place looked like a dress rehearsal for Hooters of Hopkins.
By the time my extra-small model wore out, bralessness was in. I have no idea if Marjorie broke even in the bra business. She died a few years ago, and the world is a flatter place without her.
Su Lum is a longtime local who misses the days. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at su@ rof.net.
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