Saturday, July 30, 2011

I Can't Believe It's a ...........

Let’s talk about girdles. If I can’t breathe and walk at the same time, I’m not wearing them. I don’t care how great they’re supposed to make me look. Of course now, collectively, they’re called shapewear and cover far more than just the tush and tummy. They problem solve for those troublesome areas. In my mother’s day, however, they were white and rubber and only existed to help you suck it in, to work toward creating that hourglass figure, and, had they covered the entire body, might have come in handy for staying warm in deep waters. They were ugly contraptions that were even uglier getting on and off. And should the effort result in the desired payoff, looks and admiration and possibly just a bit more, well, a hilarious bedroom scene from Bridget Jones comes to mind.

That is sexy?! I’ll tell you what sexy is. Sexy is a nice fitting pair of jeans and a little white scoop neck tee, maybe a peek of cleavage. And speaking of jeans, when a woman stands in front of you and asks if these jeans make her butt look big, she does it for one of two reasons. Reason number one is that she knows they make her butt look gigantic, but she can’t pull out her go-to pair of fat jeans because, well, these are her fat jeans and if she could just get a confirmation, even a fake one, that the rear view is not totally and completely hideous, then, yes, the pants are acceptable to wear in public, just this once. Reason number two is that she knows the jeans look great on her, absolutely great, but a woman can never receive too many compliments, especially one that involves an enthusiastic “Whoa! Nice ass” from the one she loves along with that look from her partner that says without any words at all you and me, baby, right here, right now.

Four years ago I dropped forty pounds. I celebrated by throwing out my tummy tucker. I no longer needed help looking not lumpy in a dress. Tossing that panty girdle into the trash was one of the greatest statements of independence I have ever made. I was loose. I was free. I was shouting to the world that I was totally fine just as I was. It felt a bit risqué, at first, sporting only my black lacy cheekies under my J. Jill skirt. Then I realized that that was just as it should have been all along.

I wonder, though, how a girdle is any different than my white eyelet push-up? They both aim to squish stuff into places where one wishes it to be squished in order to maximize looks and desire from those one looks to have desiring. The girdle can go, but the push-up stays. Who comes up with these ideas anyway? Who gets to decide what’s hot and what’s not? Who gets to write the definition for physical beauty? Nobody even knows that answer. I recently asked a group of friends what physical beauty looks like in a woman. Apparently, women don’t know, and men are afraid to say. I think that’s why we girls spend so much time shoving body parts into clothing that’s meant to shape and contour and make us look all pretty, but really just constricts us to the point that we can’t wait to strip it off and inhale, or exhale, or both.

I know I should be writing about worldly issues, about complex stuff, deep stuff, stuff that challenges your mind and makes you want to take action and affect some sort of positive change but, sometimes, all I can think of is girdles and how they’re uncomfortable as hell and who even invented them anyway. Sometimes, I just want to say, to quote our hippie ancestors, that we should each just let it all hang out, that we should love each other just as we are and that we should appreciate the human form in the package that it came instead of the one we created for it. Sometimes I just want to say that wearing a wet suit around your middle all day is never a good idea, under any circumstance, no matter how lacy or prettied up it is. Sometimes I want to say all this, sometimes, but then I consider that white eyelet push-up, and I think maybe I should stick to writing on worldly issues should somebody happen to call me on that one.

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