I went to the bank recently to apply for a loan so I could buy my wife the new $10 million Millennium Bra from Victoria's Secret.
I couldn't help noticing this glittering garment because I get approximately 17 Victoria's Secret catalogues in the mail every week. Although they are addressed to my wife, I have it on good authority (my younger daughter's best friend's mother is vice president of the Victoria's Secret catalogue) that they are really meant for me. Funny, though, they don't seem to have anything in my size.
Becky, the aforementioned underwear honcho, even arranged for me to attend a couple of Victoria's Secret fashion shows in New York City. The first time I went, my wife circled an item in the catalogue--the sleeveless tank with the retro point collar ($19)--and asked if I could place an order for her.
At the end of the show, I buttonholed (so to speak) Ingrid, the model who had been photographed wearing the item in the catalogue, and asked if I could order one.
"Sure!" she chirped. "But not from me. Would you like an autograph?" What could I say? "Make it out to my wife," I requested. Ingrid took my pen and, over the picture of her in the sleeveless tank with the retro point collar, wrote: "Buy it. Ingrid."
It was then that I learned Victoria's Secret: no discounts.
So I knew the moment I saw supermodel Heidi Klum sporting the Millennium Bra on the cover of the "Christmas Dreams and Fantasies" catalogue that I would have to shell out the full asking price. And I'm sure it's worth every penny. As it says on Page 3, next to another photo of Heidi in her cups: "The $10 Million Millennium Bra: The ultimate gift to celebrate the beginning of the century. Our satin demibra and panty are encrusted with over 2,000 exquisite diamonds and diamond-cut sapphires, all of the finest cut and quality, and all showcased in platinum star settings. One strap glitters '2000' in diamond-set platinum; the other is a simple strand of diamonds. This ultimate fantasy gift: $10,000,000."
This got me thinking: Is the price the same for everyone? If not, how much would Dolly Parton have to pay? To justify the cost, would a woman have to risk catching cold or even being arrested by walking around with her brassiere showing? How would you clean it? And what about having it appraised? Would a woman have to go to a jeweler, rip open her blouse and ask, "How much are these worth?"
But the most important question was: Would my bank lend me $10 million to buy a bra?
To find out, I went to the nearest branch office with the Victoria's Secret catalogue and spoke with a very nice "customer relationship specialist" named Joanne.
"People come in to get loans for cars, houses, college, medical bills, but I've never had anyone come in for a loan to buy a bra," Joanne said.
She said I could apply for one of two kinds of loans: secured or personal. "A secured loan means you already have the money in the bank," Joanne said. "Do you have $10 million?"
"No," I admitted. "If I did, I wouldn't need a loan."
"A personal loan," she went on, "means you have no collateral. You would have to provide three years' worth of financial statements--personal and business--to show what you're worth. In order to get a loan for $10 million, you'd have to be worth $100 million." The only way I'd be worth a fraction of that is if the next time the dentist drilled into a cavity, oil spurted out.
"Does this mean I don't qualify?" I asked. "Not even close," said Joanne.
Just out of curiosity, I asked Joanne if she would wear the Millennium Bra.
"No," she said, flatly. "My birthday suit is free. Why should I spend $10 million on a bra?"
"Suppose your husband wanted to buy it for you," I persisted.
"He doesn't have the money," Joanne replied. "And I wouldn't give him a loan."
But she did give me some valuable financial advice. She started thumbing through my catalogue. "I'm sure you could find something in here for under a million bucks," she said, adding that she is a "faithful Victoria's Secret shopper." She opened to Page 61. There stood Heidi Klum, who was all over the place, in a silver chemise ($25) and a lace-trimmed, knee-length matching wrap ($35).
"You don't have to have a body like hers to wear something like that," Joanne said. "Throw in some moisturizer, and you're in for under $100. The rest you can give to charity."
I thanked Joanne and told her I had decided to forget about the Millennium Bra and instead get my wife a flannel nightgown for Christmas.
"And a pair of fuzzy slippers," Joanne added with a wink. "Women love them."