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The price of beauty - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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The price of beauty [Jun. 21st, 2008|12:30 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |amusedamused]

The French Quarter of New Orleans is more than the drunks, beads and boobs of Bourbon Street. It is also many streets of boutique shopping aimed at tourists. And being a good and generous tourist determined to pump cash into the ailing NOLA economy, I shouldered the challenge, supplementing my summer wardrobe with six new skirts of the hippie/gypsy variety that I have always loved but never really owned.

The one other thing I was on the lookout for was a dress to wear to upcoming wedding of khiron1416 and tiffania007. It was an evening wedding, which to me says "formal" - and I didn't really have anything that fit the bill of formal. So when we went into a boutique of lovely clothing for zaftig goddesses, I had my eye open. With the help of katspaw156 and jennb45, I picked out a couple dresses to try on and headed toward the dressing room to try them on. On the way there, I spotted this black evening gown and grabbed it.

The first two dresses were just not what I was looking for - a red dress that fit nicely but was too orange of a red for my skin, and another that was so forgettable that I can't even describe it now.

Then I put on the black evening gown. It was a knit jersey with a ruched crisscross of fabric for the bodice, a wide neckline just this side of off-the-shoulder, and a slit to mid-thigh. It fit perfectly and looked fabulous - down to the waist. Unfortunately, the drape of the fabric clung to my rather lumpy hipline in an unattractive manner.

The shop owner was standing behind me, looking in the mirror over my shoulder. "It looks great, honey!" she drawled.

"Yeah, but the hips..."

She patted me on the shoulder. "That's not a problem! All you need is a spank!!"

I kind of blinked and almost began to say well, thank you for the offer, but my dance card is already full when I realized that she wasn't talking about BDSM in the back room; she was referring to an article of clothing.

Spanx is a company that makes a foundation garment knows as a "body shaper." "Body shaper" is a euphemistic term for the foundation garment your grandmother called a "girdle."

"Girdle" is a euphemistic term for "torture device that would not be allowed by the Geneva Convention." It's astounding what we women will put ourselves through in the name of beauty.

The dress shop in NOLA did not sell Spanx, so I visited my local Lane Bryant. The sales girl there led me straight to the Spanx collection - I had no idea at the time that there would be choices. Once I'd determined the style that I needed, she gave me her sage advice: "Look at the height/weight chart, then buy one size smaller. That will give you the line you want under jersey."

I bought the innocent-looking blue package and brought it home. My sister happened to be here, so I thought I'd try on the dress to show her and see if the Spanx did the job.

I went in the bedroom, closed the door, and pulled my Higher Power Mid-Thigh Shaper out of its package. It felt a bit like a pair of nylons, not terribly substantial, but I slipped it on. Wriggling a bit, I had the top of the garment at my waist in no time.

Problem is, the top of this garment is meant to reach to just under one's bra. The crotch was still in the vicinity of my knees. And I'd already broken a sweat just getting that far into the thing.

I've discovered a third thing, after laws and sausages, that people don't want to see made: chunky women into smoothed-out women. But at least now I understand why Queen Latifah always looks like she's built of brick and completely unjiggly.

Eventually, with enough tugging and shimmying, I was all the way into my Spanx. And when I put the dress on over it, it did indeed look fabulous. After strutting around for a few minutes, I slipped back out of the dress and peeled myself out of the Spanx. My flesh went "sprong!" and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Putting on the Spanx for strutting around the house is one thing. You can take as long as you need to wriggle into the thing when you're at home, but you don't want to be repeating this exercise throughout an evening. And the Spanx people recognize this fact.

That's why Spanx are crotchless. Yes, like 18th century women's pantaloons, you don't have to take them down to take a pee. So the night of the wedding, I dressed accordingly: Spanx first, then my fine mesh pantyhose.

I thought about underwear, but it would have felt weirdly like dressing as Superman.

We went to the wedding, which was fabulous - the couple chose an Indian theme and dressed in beautiful saris and kurtas. We were seated with friends and circulated among the crowd, greeting other friends, talking and laughing, and enjoying the fabulous Indian cuisine that was served. I looked great, and several people complimented me on the fabulous dress.

And then came the time. I had to go to the bathroom. I ensconced myself in a stall, flipped the skirt of my dress, with its slight train, over my shoulder, and got myself situated. I checked and rechecked that all fabric was clear and everything was properly aimed.

And then I sat there. Mortified. There have been studies that show that some people who have been made to drink a lot of fluids until they need to go to the bathroom really badly simply cannot allow themselves to wet their pants. (I want to see the research grant proposal for that one, I really do.) And for all my knowledge that there was nothing but air between me and the toilet bowl, the fact that my lower body was still encased in clothing made my mind refuse to believe this could be so.

I finally managed to go. But the whole time I was terrified that I would find a pee-sopped disaster in the end. Not so, though. Everything worked fine and my Spanx was still clean and safe.

I, on the other hand, was still traumatized.

We stayed until about 11:15 that night, talking and laughing and dancing to the reggae band. And then we made our goodbyes to our hosts and went home. Partially, it was because I had a terrible headache. Partially, it was because it was incredibly hot.

But a big part of it was that I had to pee again, and I was not going through that a second time.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: dreagoddess
2008-06-21 04:38 pm (UTC)
You've performed a public service, dear. I had no idea that Spanx were crotchless, and the thought of trying to take them off for the bathroom was one reason I'd resisted!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-06-21 04:42 pm (UTC)
Glad to have helped!
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[User Picture]From: norda
2008-06-21 04:51 pm (UTC)
::::nods::::

Spanx is both a godsend and a torture device.
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[User Picture]From: bec76
2008-06-21 04:57 pm (UTC)
Pffft. Spanx.

I'm very annoyed at them right now - I have been trying to find a flesh-tone unitard for my dance costumes for-frickin-ever, and finally I broke down and said, "I'll just order something from Spanx and cut the legs off." After a great deal of time trying to find the ultimate combo of right color/right size/right price, I ordered the High Falutin' Footless tights. Ordering went quick, shipping even faster, and when I opened the package... SEAMS. THREE OF THEM. On a garment that is reported (in their ad copy) to be "seamless" and the main point of why I bought it.

*sigh* Now I have to return it, and go back to searching, and July 20th is getting ever closer...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-06-21 05:06 pm (UTC)
Bummer....
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From: indigolands
2008-06-21 05:18 pm (UTC)
Pics or it didn't happen. :D

Really, though, I just want to see you looking fabulous in that dress. :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-06-21 05:37 pm (UTC)
Alas, we didn't take any pics - and I am not climbing into that thing again until I *have* to, which should be for the opera or a black tie event scheduled in a couple months. then we'll remember to take pictures.

I hope.
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[User Picture]From: kisekinotenshi
2008-06-21 05:28 pm (UTC)
Okay, now imagine having to sing in one of those things. XD I had a similar experience for my senior recital last November, and I don't know how well versed in vocal technique you are, but most of your support is supposed to come from your lower body, and having all my fat squeezed into one of those slimming things was pretty hellish when combined with singing. I got used to it by the time it came to performing, but man was it hard! And mine weren't crotchless, unfortunately (they didn't have Spanx at the store I went to).

Damn but I looked good in my recital dress, though. XD
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-06-21 05:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I made an attempt to make a couple belly dance moves in it and, not happening.

Now you know why women used to faint all the time!
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[User Picture]From: kisekinotenshi
2008-06-21 05:52 pm (UTC)
Haha, what gets me even more is that opera singers are still required to sing in corsets and such. Well, I guess if I can get used to the body shaper, I can get used to that too. XD
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[User Picture]From: angielabrie
2008-06-21 05:31 pm (UTC)
They have a cheaper (but still well made) line called Assets that you can pick up at Target. I use their nylons all the time in winter, it's like a not-quite-suffocating girdle crossed with nylons (screw every other "control top" pair of hosiery I have ever worn) and they make your figure quite smooth under your clothing. I highly recommend them.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-06-21 05:40 pm (UTC)
Ooo, I will have to investigate!
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From: jennb45
2008-06-23 01:59 pm (UTC)
Yes, I too would have recommended Assets over Spanx. More comfortable and less expensive.
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[User Picture]From: uplinktruck
2008-06-21 05:34 pm (UTC)
Laws and hot dogs...

You are a marvelous writer...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-06-21 05:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: l_l_u_w_d
2008-06-21 05:39 pm (UTC)
I have to commiserate with you, on the having to go to the bathroom experience. I know exactly where you are coming from there, except my most excruciating experience came as a result of a car accident. There I was, in the ER, strapped to a backboard, and they wouldn't let me go to the bathroom, until my XRays were read, and they cleared me of spinal injuries (my head hit the windshield from the backseat). I begged and pleaded with them to let me go, I really, terribly, seriously HAD to go! They offered me the use of a bedpan. I told them it wouldn't work. So, I had to wait. Finally, I gave in and begged for the bedpan. No luck. Doesn't matter that my eyeballs were floating, and I felt like I was going to explode any minute, I simply could not use that damned pan. It was too much like wetting the bed, or something. The moment they cleared me and unstrapped me from that backboard, I was off like a shot, to the nearest available toilet. Boy, was it ever a relief! It really does seem to be ingrained in us not to have those sorts of 'accidents', no matter how much we know it's not, we have conditioned ourselves that there are certain times that one does not go, such as being 'fully dressed', as you were, or lying in bed, as I was. Interesting how the human mind works at times, isn't it?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-06-21 05:42 pm (UTC)
I have never been forced to deal with a bedpan. I don't think I could do it, either! We are highly conditioned, indeed.
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[User Picture]From: kisekinotenshi
2008-06-21 05:55 pm (UTC)
Ugh, I remember using a bedpan when I was in the hospital after my appendix was taken out. I was eight, and I still wet the bed, so I managed to go, except apparently either I shifted the wrong way or they put it in the wrong place, because very little of it ended up in the pan. XP Extremely embarrassing, even for an eight-year-old.
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[User Picture]From: hyrkanian
2008-06-21 09:49 pm (UTC)
When I had surgery on my sinuses (back before laser surgery, recovery was hell) I had to pee when they got me to the OR. I tried to use a bedpan but ran into the same problem. I just couldn't. They didn't tell me they were about to put in a catheter and it wouldn't matter soon. :/
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[User Picture]From: i_descend
2008-06-21 06:15 pm (UTC)
The lady at LB should have told you to wear it for short durations before wearing it out for the evening. Those things need to be broken in a bit. The fibers relax a little and it's much less torturous. Also, Spanx has a line of less industrial strength undergarments that you can get at LB, that do a good job of smoothing out bumps without feeling like you're wearing a sausage wrapper. They are also really slippery on the outside, so your clothes move nicely over them to keep things from bunching up and binding. They are great for everyday wear, and have fabric with a lot of give in front right at the boob line so you can smooth out any back fat bumps from a bra but not mash down your cleavage. THAT is magic!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-06-21 06:54 pm (UTC)
I'm not leaping up to run out and buy more models now, but I will keep this in mind. Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: fax_celestis
2008-06-21 06:19 pm (UTC)
..."Spanx"?

Whoever thought that was a good name for a product needs to retake Marketing 101.
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[User Picture]From: kidsis
2008-06-21 06:26 pm (UTC)
I love my spanx, but mine are crotchless and don't come up past my waist (the result of way too much belly fat and a really long body). I bought them to wear under my bride's maid dress for my best friend's wedding. The good news is that I thought that they went on pretty easily and then I didn't have to pee after I got them on. The bad news is that I didn't have to pee after I got them on and then a couple of months later my kidneys tried to shut down.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-06-21 06:57 pm (UTC)
I think it was the "buy one size smaller" advice that made mine particular torture.

Kidney shutdown = bad! Hope you're all okay now!
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[User Picture]From: xinamarie
2008-06-21 08:37 pm (UTC)
Yeah - I bought the size based on height/weight for my wedding, and it was surprisingly comfy, considering what it was. I liked especially that it doesn't cut off circulation mid thigh, like most other support garments I've tried.

Spanx makes a maternity version, too...I may have to try it out!
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[User Picture]From: shydescending
2008-06-21 06:57 pm (UTC)
let me just say that not *all* Spanx are crotchless. mine are not, and while I have more or less mastered getting in and out, just as a PSA, don't buy them on the assumption that all of them are. make sure you check first :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-06-21 08:20 pm (UTC)
God to know. Thanks for the PSA.
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From: sharpchick
2008-06-21 08:13 pm (UTC)
But it sounds as if there is, after all, good news.

The skirts of the hippie/gypsy variety will not require the spanx. Eclectic Boho is my standard mode of dress and it is sumptuously liberating.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-06-21 08:20 pm (UTC)
I'm loving them. I feel feminine, and it's no tougher to wear than jeans.
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[User Picture]From: shadow_phoenix2
2008-06-21 11:46 pm (UTC)
"well, thank you for the offer, but my dance card is already full. For some reason that response made me just crack up giggling. ^_^
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-06-22 05:06 am (UTC)
My work here is done. ;-)
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[User Picture]From: ser_kai
2008-06-22 02:06 pm (UTC)
I have a body suit like the one you're describing. Wonderful invention.
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[User Picture]From: butterandjelly
2008-06-22 08:26 pm (UTC)
want pictures!!!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-06-23 12:13 am (UTC)
Didn't take any - we're idiots. But I will the next time I have it on!
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