To Spanx® or not to Spanx®?

How many of you have taken the Spanx plunge? I hadn’t until recently when after standing in church I felt my upper thighs rubbing together.  I was so horrified, instead of thinking about Jesus, I was thinking about my fat thighs and what the hell I was going to do about it. I know, I know. I’m not normally so self absorbed, but this was serious!  It was all I could do to keep calm and carry on.

I could diet and exercise, but that could take YEARS and in the meantime I’d have to suffer the rub. I could get liposuction, but that’s expensive and health insurance doesn’t cover cosmetic surgery (where’s the justice?).  Plus it makes me throw up a little in my mouth to even think about it. Talk about Pink Slime. Yuck. Shapewear is a much more reasonable choice when presented with the alternatives.

When I first saw Spanx, my mind immediately drifted to girdles. Yikes. When I was a teenager in the ‘60s, we wore girdles without even asking why.  I was 14 and skinny so why did I have to wear a girdle?  Because everyone else did. Those were the Dark Ages, before it was acceptable to Question Authority, before panty hose, before The Pill.  Girdles were used ostensibly to have something to pin our hose to. Of course, no one admitted they were really post-19th C chastity belts, as it was next to impossible to put a hand down there much less get a girdle off (in the back seat of the old Chevy) before the sun came up. I remember my boyfriend popping my behind once and yelping like he had hurt his hand, my butt was so hard – like a brick, he said. We were the Stepford Teens born of Stepford Wives.

So after years of walking quickly by the Spanx  display in department stores and Coldwater Creek and thinking, wow what a great idea.  Whoever thought of that was a genius and quite likely very rich by now. But not for me.  Keep walking.

Then I turned 60 and the thigh rubbing and dreaded midriff thickening began.  What a weird word, “midriff”.  Does the etymology stem from continental drift, ala ‘mid-section drift’?  And “thickening” is a genteel term to indicate the disappearance of a waist and the appearance of a belly – in a woman of a certain age – right around the Tropic of Capricorn. As we get older, it’s all about geography, isn’t it?  Hills, dales, weathered landscapes and gravity.

So there I was in the depressing room trying on Spanx.  And let me tell you right now, it was *not* a pretty picture.  Even worse than trying on bathing suits. Let’s just say the lighting was very bad. Why do they use those million-watt bulbs in women’s dressing rooms?  Hint to retailers: you will sell a lot more goods if you use candlelight or 15-watt bulbs in your dressing rooms.  I was imagining a security camera aimed at me trying on these getups with a gaggle of security officers upstairs laughing their butts off as I almost fell on the floor trying to pull up those undergarments. One, a torso crusher, had about 20 tiny hook and eyes I couldn’t even begin to hook. Must’ve been called the “Scarlett O’Hara”.

I finally found one that held all my parts together snugly with nothing rubbing or wondering off the reservation. AND, I could still breathe! Everything was in place just as God intended. I did have a muffin top thing happening in the northern latitude, but nothing I couldn’t gain some control over. Things in the southern latitudes were doing just fine.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, though, those lung crushing undergarments are expensive (although there is a  generic brand that is less expensive and just as good). The difference between expensive Spanx® and the less expensive copy-cat brand is that Spanx® has a handy little opening at the crotch (south of the Equator) and the generic doesn’t.  Pretty clever and maybe worth the extra $20. Especially for women of a certain age.

I went with the generic brand.


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