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So, How Long Does the Statute of Limitations

Last on Bra Pad Smuggling?

          A few years, I was lucky enough to be hired for a costuming gig in the Bahamas. Excellent! I was getting paid to go to a tropical paradise that other people could only dream of! Sweet! I would be spending two weeks in Nassau fitting dancers in their costumes, and overseeing the alterations.

          The two weeks building the costumes flew by. Now, it was time for me to pack my bags, and head to the Caribbean. Just one problem. The producer’s called. Oh by the way, everything is way more expensive in Nassau. After all, it’s on an island. All sewing notions and costuming supplies would have to be brought with you. What did this have to do with me, you say? Well, the show was a Las Vegas-style show. And in a Las Vegas-style, you expect to see, well, um, well-endowed dancers. I may be giving away a well-known trade secret by disclosing this but sometimes, we costumers, are forced by nature to enhance, things, a bit. So I headed off to my local fabric store. Or two. Or three. I needed lots of bra pads. It was going to be a big show!

          After buying every last bra pad at three different locations, along with some shoulder pads just to fill in, I packed my two suitcases. This trip was a series of shorter flights. From DFW to Orlando, Orlando to Miami, then a hop from Miami to Nassau. No problem! The leg from DFW to Orlando went smoothly. Oh my God! Where did the pilot on the second leg learn to fly?! Or worse, learn to land? On a dirt runway on the side of a mountain? That had to be absolutely one of the bumpiest landings that I’ve ever been a party to, I believe.

          Now, the award for the Worst Flight in the Air went to the Miami-Nassau leg. Imagine a small commuter plane packed with Bahamian residents, American tourists, the girl who couldn’t convince customs that her lip stick and eyeliner weren’t the weapons of domestic terrorists, and me. Thank God, it was only to be a thirty-minute flight. Wait for it. And now, cue the worst turbulence of the trip. As I clutched the ends of my seat’s armrests, I endured the screams of the other passengers. Really, is it really necessary to scream? Just a little turbulence.

          Finally, the plane landed. As I headed towards the terminal to claim my bra pad-laden suitcases, I started to get nervous about the contents of my bag. If the custom agent singled me out, and opened my bag, how in the world was I going to even begin to explain why I have TWO suitcases stuffed with none other than bra pads? Having the bra pads in itself wasn’t the problem. There are not any laws that I know about preventing the international transport of bra pads. It’s just I didn’t think I could convince customs that I’m here on vacation with two suitcases full of bra pads.

          “My friend I’m visiting is a female impersonator, and can’t get them locally.” Uhh, maybe not.

          “I have to look good in my bathing suit.” My 5-foot tall Hobbit body somehow wouldn’t be convincing.

          What would be the penalty if I was caught smuggling bra pads into the Bahamas? I had a job to do! How could I do my job making sure dancers looked well-endowed if I got shipped straight back to the states?! Okay, okay, deep breath. Calm down. Act natural, and maybe they won’t notice. I kept smiling as I rolled my bags towards the customs table.

          “Good day, ma’am. Are these your bags?” asked the friendly Bahamian customs agent.

          “Yes, they are,” I responded, controlling my immense fear.

          “Do you have anything to declare?”

          “No.” I was not about to own up to two suitcases chocked full of smuggled bra pads. Besides, I don’t think I could have handled the local headlines.


          Ugh, the wait was unbearable, despite the fact that it was shorter than an Olympic 100-meter world record sprint.

          “Welcome to the Bahamas. Enjoy your stay. Next!”

          I was free! I successfully entered the Bahamas. Now, I had to find a cab, get to the hotel, and get these freaking bra pads out of my suitcases!

Erika L. Durham

6 August 2012