Adventures in Shapewear…what could possibly go wrong?

NY Eve

If you’re a woman, you’re probably aware of the vast array of products designed to lift, flatten, smooth or enhance our various body parts. Spanx, tush-enhancers and the like are supposed to give us a more flattering figure or make our clothing fit better. If you’re a dude, the tightest thing you might own is compression shorts for working out. Despite the ads for the men’s tummy version, I’m guessing there’s no way most of you would wear a suffocating garment for the sake of looking a few pounds slimmer. That’s where you are the smarter species and I admire your ability to accept your given form. Apparently, us ladies are far more insecure and vulnerable to such marketing.

But first – some history. Once upon a time, I was required to wear pantyhose and dresses/skirts to work. The only time we could wear slacks or pants of any sort was when the high temperature for the day was less than 40 degrees. Not kidding. Even when the dress code changed, I hung onto a couple of pairs of hose — just in case. The rest were joyfully discarded. Since then, I’ve been reluctant to purchase anything with the words “control-top” or “compression” in them. Sitting in a cubicle with a tourniquet around your waist for years will do that to you.

However, turning 60 and having the opportunity to wear a fancy dress to a New Year’s Gala caused me to reconsider my options. Immediately, I had visions of red carpet gowns and glitter and bling. Yikes! Trying on various dresses revealed my less-than-perfect/ate-a-few-too-many-sweets mushy parts. So, on the recommendation of my daughter, I purchased an item that was supposed to compress my middle and smooth out my hips and thighs. No big deal, right? I can undergo some discomfort to look my best in a borrowed dress.

The night of the big event started out well. I was all sucked in and feeling sleek as we glided into the festive and elegant ballroom. It was hard to miss all the furs being dropped at the Coat Check. We were doing our best to blend in and pretend we belonged there. Gorgeous lights and decorations surrounded the beautifully dressed men and women enjoying appetizers and champagne. Once we made our way to our table, we shared small talk with the three other couples. The soup course arrived: roasted butternut squash with yummy toppings we couldn‘t pronounce. Dee-lish! Then the salad course: butter poached lobster with more exotic ingredients. Fabulous!

Then the entrée was served and we sliced into our hickory smoked filet mignon with truffle potato puree, roasted fancy veggies and a glaze to die for. As I savored the flavors and textures, I began to notice that my throat was rather irritated. I was sipping more water and clearing my throat more frequently when it hit me. My stupid shapewear had compressed my stomach to the size of a kiwi and there was no room for the rest of the meal! Acid was creeping up my throat and I would soon be done eating, or worse – losing my dinner – if I didn’t make some adjustments. Fast.

My thoughts raced all over. If I take this tight thing off, what do I do with it? I’m carrying a tiny (borrowed) purse that does not have room for a rejected girdle. It’s not the sort of thing you drop off at the Coat Check to stuff in the sleeve of your down parka, especially with an attendant monitoring all those furs and looking for tips. Nope – no way I can hand over a mass of lycra and spandex to anyone. I discreetly conferred with my hubby, unloaded a few items from my purse into his suit jacket pockets and excused myself to the ladies room, throat burning badly.

Let me just tell you…few things have felt better than peeling that muffin-top cincher off my body. Normal digestion was restored. My skin could breathe again. Fluffy parts relaxed and my thighs said hello to one another again. The contraption rolled up nicely into my little purse and I was able to slip back into the gala and enjoy the rest of the dinner and evening…without spandex-induced acid reflux, or having to hand underwear to a stranger. It’s the little things.

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