I got an urgent, almost desperate, call from an old friend yesterday, a mom of a toddler who has read about my ongoing struggles to simultaneously eradicate and make peace with my enemies, more generally known as the muffin tops. The stress in her voice was palpable. “Wendy,” she said, “I need your help. Tell me what you know about [garble ‘anks’ garble].”
“Tanks?” I asked, thinking how odd it was that she wanted my opinion about armored vehicles. “No,” she said, her voice rising, “[garble ‘anks’ garble].”
“Can you say it louder? I really want to help, but I can’t hear you.” This time she yelled at the top of her lungs, “SPANX! I NEED YOUR HELP WITH SPANX! I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO BUY SPANX!” I heard her that time, that’s for sure. I bet half of Brooklyn, where she was calling me from, heard her as well.
I soon discovered that T (and I really do call her “T”) had been to a fancy event recently with her husband. The night had started off fine. Actually, it had gotten off to a rockin’ start, when she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, looking sexy and self-contained in a hot dress with snuggly Spanx underneath. Her giddiness, though, ended the moment she took a seat at the soiree. Suddenly, T’s tummy and all of its unruly comrades dramatically toppled out over the top of her Spanx for the entire world to see. My friend, mortified, tried desperately to push the enemy back to their prior positions, but to no avail.
With troop morale at an all-time low, she reached out to me. I knew immediately that I had to do something, anything, to renew T’s faith in the technology that’s been created to tighten our asses and recapture the glories of yesteryear, before the babies laid waste to it all. With a unified front, I felt certain there was hope for her, me, and all of the other brave women out there experiencing these sneak attacks and emergency spillage situations. I told my friend, with a confidence I’m not sure I even believed, “T, I accept your challenge. I will go, I will fight through thick and thin material, and I will find the perfect slim-wear garment. We will be victorious.”
I knew of only one place that could help me overcome the physical and psychological obstacles standing between me and the seamless, sucked-in beauty I was striving for: Nordstrom. So at 10:00 am yesterday morning, I entered the lingerie section in what I thought was a clandestine manner and was quickly approached by a lingerie saleswoman who likely holds at least a Ph.D. in MBI (Mama Body Issues).
“Can I help you?’ she asked gently. “Um, I, um, would like to buy some um, Spanx. Do you sell them here?” I smoothly replied. That was all she needed to hear. Before I knew it, I was awash in every sort of tummy tamer, ass smusher, and muffin-top sucker-inner you could possibly imagine. Body suits, slips, shorts, skirts, skorts, open bust, camisoles, tanks, and more. Holy shit, I realized; body armor has changed a lot since my time in combat. You’re going down, muffin tops. Literally.
Soon I was in the dressing room with at least 15 pairs of Saran Wrap-esque intimates to try on. The first was a Spanx full body suit that fell in the middle of three compression categories. Yes, you read that correctly. “Compression” is the word Spanx uses to describe what it wants to do with all of our lumps and bumps. Once I wiggled into the bodysuit, I have to admit I felt pretty good, until I opened the door and the saleswoman told me I had it on backward. Oops. To be honest, I couldn’t tell much of a difference once I had flipped it around.
I made it through two other options, a level-three (maximum sucker-inner) bodysuit and a pair of what looked like to be a pair of biker shorts that went up to my bra (level two). Then I looked at the 15 other items hanging on the rack ready for me to try on, at the saleslady’s expectant and kind face, and at my own tired mug in the mirror. At that moment, I decided I’d had enough of Spanx, of body compressions, and of battles with my body. It was time to wave the nude flag and call a temporary ceasefire.
Had I gone AWOL? Was I suffering from PTSD after seeing how my ass looked wrapped up like a squished sausage? I’m not sure. All I knew was that I needed Spanx once in a while to give me a little lift and tuck, but I didn’t need to become a Prisoner of War by trying on every style they make, especially when the ones with the holes around the vaginas were seriously freaking me out. Seriously ladies, we’re so lazy that we can’t even pull the thing down to pee?
I left Nordstrom a few minutes later, eager to tell T about our mission. In my bag was a new pair of Spanx, the level-two biker shorts. Maybe eventually I’ll ban these girdles (because we all know that Spanx is just girdle with a cooler name) and all of its mercenaries from my wardrobe forever, though I seriously doubt that’ll ever happen. Even the most ardent peaceniks from time to time are unexpectedly called back into action.
~By Wendy Widom, Families in the Loop