Gentlemen, I have to apologize. Today, I will be talking about something that you cannot possibly relate to: foundation garments also known as shapewear. And if you can relate, you might want to pretend that you can’t.
In order for you to better relate to what I’m talking about, I’d like you to take off your watch and wear it around your waist for the rest of the day, then you’ll get it.
Now here’s what happened to me on a recent winter day. I found myself in a chilly department store dressing room. I was holding my breath and sucking in my gut like a middle-aged man on a nude beach. And with great effort, I pulled on the Amazing Tummy Tuck Shaper. I leaned against the wall to rest and catch my breath, and then I peeked in the mirror. Wow! My abs were flat! So were my kidneys.
Maybe I needed a larger size. Oh well; I looked good! And I would have looked better if I hadn’t tried the shaper on over my long johns. It was cold!
I decided to buy the Amazing Tummy Tuck Shaper no matter how much it cost. But first I had to get it off. And nothing could have prepared me for the difficulty of getting that thing off. I tried pulling from the bottom. I tried peeling from the top. I tugged; I heaved. I fell and hit the mirror. Oh no! Was I swelling? Now it would never come off. Maybe I should call for help! But who would I call? The sales clerk? The fire department? A surgeon?
It would be easy to blame my situation on a few too many scoops of guacamole, but it’s bigger than that—poor choice of words I know. The journey to that moment started way back in my childhood with my friend’s grandmother, whose foundation garment had become something of an exoskeleton—you know, like lobsters have. No wonder they’re so crabby. Anyway, she told us that all women, no matter their shape, should wear girdles. We didn’t take her too seriously since we didn’t even have hips yet. But her message stayed with me all these years: If it ain’t flat, it’s fat!
Then last winter, two friends told me about getting trapped in shapewear. Stuck in their Spanx. Two! That’s what I call an epidemic. Men, this could be happening to your wife or girl friend…or both.
One friend was in a department store dressing room when it happened; the other was in her own home! She was alone and afraid!
Both were too embarrassed to speak out publicly about the dangers, so I decided I had to. But first I had to do the research. Plus I wanted to see how I’d look with a flat stomach, since I haven’t had one second grade. And that’s how I wound up in a chilly dressing room trying to extricate myself from a Tummy Tuck Shaper that I now knew should be one size larger, especially if I was going to wear it over long johns.
Obviously I did escape. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to write this column while lounging in my Sponge Bob jammies with the elastic waistband. But after all that trouble, I didn’t buy the Tummy Tuck Shaper. Nope. I decided it would be easier and less painful to get the tummy tuck.
(Dorothy Rosby is the author of several humor books, including I Used to Think I Was Not That Bad and Then I Got to Know Me Better. Contact [email protected]).
Shapewear and the shape we are in: foundation