Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of having my hair and make-up prepared for my son's wedding with my new daughter-in-law's bridal attendants. I tried to be a fly on the wall in the room as I was definitely over the age limit for this event. While I was waiting for some well needed backcombing, the girls were getting out their shoes, dresses, and to my horror, "shapewear." You know, "Spanx" like products. Not a single girl wore more than a size 14 and quite a few still could wear clothes from the pre-teen department. Aghast, I asked one of the young ladies WHY were wearing shapewear? I mean, she probably weighed 90 pounds after a double cheeseburger deluxe from In and Out Burger. Sheepishly, she answered, "Because my thighs sometimes sweat when I am nervous." Okay, I get it. Sorta.
I like to call my shapewear, Fat Suckers, because that is what they are intended to do. I suck in my fat and wiggle into the camisole (doesn't that sound sweet) and for the rest of the day, said fat hides on my sides, under my boobs, or possibly on my back. This prevents my buttons from popping open when I take a breath because no one wants to lose an eye in an unfortunate accident. Fat suckers are fashion scientists invention for us to take the areas of our body that are not toned, thin, and tend to dance a little jiggle when we walk and keep it corralled, so it doesn't lose control. It is related to control top pantyhose. Control. As in control that fat and strap it into submission. I have considered duct tape from time to time, but it is hard to get the residue off my body.
Being Southern, all my life I heard my mother and other influential women remind me that "good foundation garments" are essential. I remember asking Mom what a "foundation garment" was. She explained that it meant a good supportive brassiere, decent panties, and a girdle. Thank God, science intervened when I was in elementary school and panty hose was invented so I never had to experience the torture of a girdle. So, I never doubted that certain parts of us were not meant to do the happy dance in public. Private, yes. Like when we are taking off the bra at the end of the day and you can feel relief and also take a deep, well needed breath! This is probably why I do some of my best thinking and problem solving after hours. I probably have been starving my brain from enough oxygen flow. So, when I realized I was truly losing the battle of the jiggle, I invested in some shapewear.
I bought it at Costco. I love that you can buy floor cleaner, produce, a case of toilet paper, a beach umbrella, and undergarments without walking more than a few aisles in a warehouse setting. So, after washing it, drying it, I was soooo excited to put on the miracle fabric which would forever change my life and camouflage those years of Hostess cupcakes! I held my breath, wiggled into the camisole, yanked it down, and was forced by inertia to lie down on my bed for a while while the room spun. That tends to happen when I feel like I am going to pass out. Finally, I worked my way to the edge of the bed, sat up, bent over to find my breath, and stood up. Holding on to the dresser for assistance, I looked in the full length mirror across the hall, and thought that my camisole wasn't too bad. I wore it that day, the next, and by the following week, I could actually hold a lengthy conversation without losing focus or blacking out. This was the start of my relationship with my fat suckers.
I wear them regularly, but on certain occasions, I have had to make some decisions regarding my health and my fat suckers. Like the time I was visiting Chicago for a sweet friend's wedding. Meg and I had attended an after wedding breakfast in downtown Chi-town. I had worn a pair of nice capris, a knit top, and not wanting to embarrass myself self by releasing the jiggle in a different environment, my black fat sucker. Did I mention that it was late summer, hot and humid, with little to no breeze coming off Lake Michigan? As we planned, Meg and I walked about 10 blocks to Navy Pier after a full, rich breakfast. As I said earlier, there was little to no breeze to cool me down and I suddenly felt like I was going to go down for the third time. Cold water did nothing to revive me and I was wondering if we were going to have to call 911. While Chicago is nice to visit, I didn't want to die there. Meg hustled me to the restroom where I stuck my head in the sink and she put a cold wet paper towel (Thank you Jesus, Navy Pier is not a "green" facility) on the back of my neck. Meg was kind not to ask if this was a hot flash, but wondered what was wrong with me as she was warm, but definitely not overheated. I told her that I thought I should take off my fat sucker since it was made of non-breathing nylon and lycra. The look she gave me was pathetic. Her eyes spoke the phrase before her lovely mouth said, "Really, Mom? You wore your fat sucker?" I staggered to an empty stall, tore off my shirt and released the jaws of death and put my shirt back on. I swear my temperature dropped 10 degrees! We shoved it in her purse and my fat sucker had to see the wonders of the Chicago architectural tour hidden in the bottom of a lovely Michael Kors bag.
There should be a warning label that they can be bad for your health. Two years ago, I read an article on MSN.com about how people were suffering health complications from shapewear. Some brands were actually interfering with digestion and organ function for wearers. Now, while I can attest that my fat suckers can be an appetite suppressant, I have never had any long term health concerns from wearing my Spanx. Personally, I think these people probably bought a smaller size than they actually needed. It's like shoes. If you squeeze your foot into a smaller size than you really need, you will be rendered cripple. If you squeeze your butt, stomach, or boobs into a size too small, you can experience liver failure. Duh!
Back to preparing for the wedding...
One of the bridesmaids struggled to pull up her shapewear boxers while a couple of others looked on confused and concerned. One lovely said, "Keep on pulling, you almost have it." Finally, I said, "Pull and jump at the same time. It's like the pantyhose dance." There was a lot of giggles and the young lady took the advice. It did make me feel a little better knowing that we all share the same struggles, no matter the age difference or the size. Even if they wear shapewear and I wear my fat suckers.