My mother wore one, and watching her wrestle into it never ceased to amuse me. I’d pop some Jiffy Pop and sit on the edge of the bed, and await the All-Star Wrestler that my mother became when she’d take on the Playtex 18-Hour Cross Your Heart I Can’t Believe It’s a Girdle! A heavy, moisture-trapping canvas tent of inflexible material that she’d summon up for duty. I’d witness her go to battle with it; she’d always win, and the entire ensemble would find itself stretched over her expanse. There was compression to the tenth degree; from the three inch wide shoulder digging straps down to the mid thigh O rings for holding up the stockings.
My mother loved that thing. Her reflection loved her back. She looked as taut as a Marine-made bed, even after having six kids.
I’d look at that piece of rubber she was encased in and promise myself, “no flippin’ way am I ever going to stuff myself like a sausage casing into something like that.” Well, I might not have said flippin’, but, the F sentiment was there.
I would always look fantastic, slim, and trim…not a hot mess like my mother.
There was to be no girdle in my lifetime.
And I remained true to my girdle promise to my future self, until the menopot came a calling.
As I left my 30′s and moved into my 40′s, it took little more than a sideways lusty glance at a french eclair and ping! ping! my pants buttons would go flying.
I had become thick waisted, built like a box; skillet butted. And it wasn’t a gradual over time change, it was an all of a sudden overnight bam boom with a waist that measured the same as my hips. 34-37-37. Lovely.
I see you dripping jealous now.
But the girdles I had been witness to as a child? Not going to happen. Too humiliating to admit that outside help was needed to continue on as a stone cold fox.
Then, while shopping, I heard the halleluia! Looking tissue paper translucent and light as fairy wings as it draped a mannequin: it was called SPANX.
It looked glorious sparkling under the department store light. And to the touch, as weightless as French tulle. There were no three inch fat straps, no X shaped tummy panels, and the whole miraculous thing was without a seam.
It couldn’t hurt to just buy it? I could just buy it, you know.
As soon as I got it home, I stepped into it. No shimmying required.
What did it feel like? Let’s just say that if I had the money for plastic surgery, I’d be one of those people sitting across from Oprah on a segment called “Addicted To Plastic Surgery: It Happened To Them.”
I wanted that SPANX in every color, every style, every variation. Even ones not yet invented.
God, I loved my SPANX. It was soft, felt like the air baths Benjamin Franklin used to take before an open window. And my body? Smooth and roll-less as a Ball Park Plumper.
This was not my mama’s girdle.
And, of course it wasn’t, because even though I may now need a bit of *air quotes* outside assistance for this fineness that is me, I am not a hot mess underneath it, like my mother was.
Of course I’m not.