Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I've Been Spanxed

Growing up in a southern United Methodist Church means a lot of things. For one, I know a lot of old hymns by heart. Two, I have eaten a lot of chicken casseroles and chocolate pies in my day. And, three, I collected many, many dresses, skirts, stockings, and pumps.

Seven years ago, I gave away all my dresses, skirts, and pumps. I hate wearing dresses and skirts and all the baggage that comes with them: slips, weird bras, stockings, drafts. But, unfortunately, they are often a necessary evil in my life. The past year, for instance, has brought a host of reasons to wear some more formal attire than my jeans and a t-shirt routine: five weddings and three memorial services. The United Methodist in me just cannot wear pants to a funeral.

In the throes of shopping for these events, I seek help. Not from my friends or family. I prefer to shop alone, and when I have questions, I ask the women who work in the women's section at the department store of choice. After finding a dress on sale, I inquire about whether it fits me correctly, and the wonderful clerk eyes my bottom critically as I turn for her. She says, "It's very cute. It fits you great. But, you're going to need a slip. The dress is sticking to your bottom."

Oh, how I hate slips. I hate them so much. They itch and twist and make me feel like I belong in another century.

My dismay must show on my face because the helpful lady says, "Well, actually, you could get a Spanx. Most people are wearing those instead of slips these days."

Oh, now. I have heard of these items called Spanx. The thought of donning something akin to a girdle causes me great fear and grief. Suddenly, the slip sounds great.

My increased dismay must show on my face because the helpful lady says, "At least try it on. They work wonders." She says this as she eyes my bottom, again critically.

I head to the hosiery department, a place I thought I would never have to visit again until my 93rd birthday. I stare at the scads of Spanx items. They have Spanx for seemingly every part of your body from your neck down to your ankles. The hosiery lady helps me select the right size for my body, which involves disclosing my height, weight, blood type, and preferred 401k provider.

Then, the real fun begins. I'm to "try it on" first and model it for the hosiery crew to be sure it fits correctly. I'd rather just run out of the store with my new undergarment and spend a few hours contemplating its merits in the quiet of my own home. Instead, I go to the fitting room, and I open the bright package. Even in my panicked state, I notice the cute graphics on the package and the fact that celebrities wear these things. People like Jessica Alba, Gywneth Paltrow, Vanessa Williams, and Oprah swear by Spanx. And, heck, if Oprah wears it, you can count me in. (Two other pluses, and really serious ones at that: designed by a woman entrepreneur and made in the USA.)

But, I must figure out how to put the thing on first. I have selected the Higher Power model, a close relative of the Power Panties. The Higher Power and I become very well acquainted over the next 12 minutes or so, as I wrangle it onto my thighs. Then, I'm not sure what to do with the rest of it. For a moment, I wonder how I am even going to get this roll of nylon and spandex off myself. Because that's what it is, a roll across my hips. A very tight roll. I start smoothing it out, and within about 5 minutes, things shape up a bit.

Higher Power indeed. As I unfurl the whole deal, I realize it goes all the way up to just below my breasts. At first, I wonder how I will breathe with my ribs pressed into my spine. But, I smooth out the Spanx even more, stretching it from just under my breasts to just above my knees. Then, I put on the dress. I take a deep breath. Wow. I can breathe. Success.

I look at myself in the mirror, trying to catch a glimpse of my bottom. The dress is not sticking to it anymore as far as I can tell. Another success.

I also notice that my hips seem more shapely, more under control, less "I just delivered a baby." (Yes, yes, it has almost been a year, but "just" is relative.)

So, I walk out of the fitting room for the hosiery lady to eye me. She looks at my bottom critically. "Wow," she says. Is that a good "wow" or "oh my, you need to lay off the Twinkies 'wow,'" I wonder. Then, she says, "That looks amazing." I hope she's talking about my bottom. I really do.

After wearing my Spanx to several different events that have required dress pants or a dress, I must say they work for me. I am a total convert, a real believer. These doodads are a miracle in a nifty box, light years away from the slips and girdles of yesteryear. I haven't worn my Higher Power with my normal jeans and t-shirt routine, but the hosiery lady assured me that lots of people do. Maybe one day when I have an extra 17 minutes in the morning to unfurl my Spanx, I'll see.


Wanda said...

Funny lady! Spanx are indeed a fabulous invention! God bless that sweet girl!

I have a few pair too. They can be a little squeezy so I don't wear them always. But aren't they amazing for making butts look smooth?
I love to wear them with more pantylines or frumpy looks! I can't stand thongs! So spanx works for me too.

Jennifer said...

I'd never heard of these, but I'm intrigued! Thanks for sharing your story - you're hilarious!

Susan said...

I love Spanx too ... but yeah, getting it on takes some working-up. Mine is the higher power too - if not, I wonder if the fat rolls would just spill over the top? :) Also, I know they have the opening so you can go to the bathroom without taking them down, but I just can't bring myself to wear them without underwear. So, peeing is a pain too!

Kirby3131 said...

I have several rolls in the middle section that require SPANX help every so often. They are indeed a fabulous product.

I'm so glad you took their advice!

My WFMW post this week is about keeping drinks cold.
Have a great week!
Kristin (The Goat)

LovingLegacy said...

oh my goodness. i have the target version (can't remember what they're called?) but because i am so totally relating, i am snorting aloud as i read this. oh my. you are a funny girl! thanks for sharing the adventure!!

and as for the detergent, nope, i don't have to stir it each time. if it starts to clump a bit, i just use the tablespoon to do so. easy peasy!

Martia said...

Thanks for the complements, gals.

Wanda: I don't know WHO invented the thong. Geesh! Too think I wore those in college. ;-) What WAS I thinking?

Susan: I wondered where the fat rolls were going anyway. Too bad they didn't just disappear. And, yeah, I didn't trust myself with the "pee hole" either.

LovingLegacy: I didn't realize Target has something similar. The Spanx can be pretty pricey.

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