“If you can’t be a good example, you should at least serve as a horrible warning.”
The alternate title of this column could very well be “If I die like this, please fabricate a much more dignified cause of death.”
Back(side) story: Since reaching a certain age, I have found that my body has betrayed me. Through childhood and into my 20s, I didn’t worry about my weight. I ate what I wanted without consequence. A few decades later, it is as if every potato chip or cookie I had ingested without a care in the world suddenly came home to roost.
On the bright side, it’s nice to know that should Armageddon come, I am going to last longer than most based entirely on stored body fat alone.
Or, I am going to be killed and eaten first.
Either way, my extra weight will have obvious benefits.
Through thick and thin
On the day-to-day, however, being thick around the middle isn’t always the look I’m going for.
Enter shapewear. Shapewear is to our generation what girdles and corsets were to our well-endowed ancestors. Having lost the whalebone and lacing, today’s shapewear is marketed as a more “comfortable” and “breathable” solution to smooth and shape (i.e. “squish) less-than-firm body areas into a more suitable shape.
This allows for looking cuter in clothing or, at the very least, having hope of buttoning one’s pants.
Shapewear is very stretchy. Imagine an elastic stretch bandage with leg holes.
To put them on is deceptively simple. You step in and tug up the shapewear. If you’ve purchased a standard shapewear garment, it should cover the vicinity of your armpits to knees. If you’ve ever stuffed a sausage into a casing, it’s kind of the same process.
Presuming you are well rested and in fighting form, you can usually get all the extra flesh jammed and tucked into the thing. Once everything is firm and your muffin top has been pressed into a solid column of shaped flesh, simply slide your clothing on over top and you are good to go!
This isn’t my first rodeo, so I knew better than to eat much. I was afraid of exploding like a busted can of refrigerator biscuits if I so much as glanced at a french fry. I figured I could handle standing, or better yet sitting, in the shade. My shorts looked cute and that is what matters right? Suffer for beauty.
Fast forward a few hours at an outdoor event, a few bottles of ice water and a 90-plus degrees-even-in-the-shade day. Suddenly, I had to, you know, go.
This is where we find our heroine, aka me, learning a valuable life lesson. I was using a portable toilet roughly the size of a pack of gum while valiantly attempting to peel off boa constrictor tight undergarments all WITHOUT TOUCHING ANYTHING IN THAT SPACE.
I balanced on one foot while simultaneously attempting to slide out of most of my garments. Removal of compression shapewear under these conditions should really be an Olympic event.
Sliding was not happening — I wasn’t even sure I could chisel them off. The rubber grips and elastic fabric had become one with my overheated flesh.
I was losing feeling in my lower extremities.
At one point I had managed to shimmy it down to a point where the garment had twisted into an ironlike grip lashing both thighs together. I almost could not get my fingers between the fabric and flesh.
I was light-headed and sweat was literally dripping down my brow.
So this is how it ends. I was going to die in a portable toilet hung by my fleshy stretch undies.
I spent my whole life trying NOT to appear on the news in a compromising position and yet here I was. Obviously, if I somehow survived, this would go viral — it’s too ridiculous not to. At that point, if I haven’t already I definitely would die. Vanity kills, friends.
I did finally break free and manage to get out of that toilet (and shapewear) with my flesh and most of my dignity intact.
Since then I’ve considered toning up the old-fashioned way. I might try walking, light stretching, maybe working out.
Someone asked if I had ever done yoga.
Not intentionally, but there was this one time I wore shapewear into a port-a-potty …
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