I received a package in the mail this week that had me feeling even more guilty than the donut I ate. It was a box of Spanx. I opened it with a combination of hope, anticipation, fear, embarrassment and self-loathing. Strains of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” floated through my head.
How did I get here? Recently I received a DVD of my solo performance show, which I’ve been studying in order to improve it. I remember choosing my outfit for that show so carefully. A bright colored Tshirt and black workout pants. I remember feeling good! and looking in the mirror backstage before heading on. Yeah! I looked good!
From the front.
Underneath the shirt, I was wearing a sports bra. What I didn’t realize until I looked at the video is that the sports bra created all sorts of (ack!!!!!!!!) bumps and bulges and hills and lumps in my… BACK FAT. What?!?! Who knew?? I didn’t know!! And the first thought I had was, OMG I have to throw away that shirt! I have to never wear that sports bra again! I have to… BUY SOME SPANX!
Now, I already own one pair of panty-spanx that I have worn on a couple of occasions (weddings). But it never occurred to me, until I saw myself From The Back, that I would need to get the TOP kind of Spanx.
Spanx seems to be a controversial sort of item. Are they a godsend, or a hideous re-enactment of the days of Scarlett O’Hara and her corset?
I asked the Twitterverse what they thought about Spanx yesterday, and got these responses.
- i only wear spanx/corset when i’m at a family wedding, wearing a slimfitting dress. otherwise, flowy waistline. it’s torture.
- Haven’t tried Spanx yet. Can’t imagine where all my “junk” would be stuffed! LOL
- I lose my shape when I wear spanx…i get misshappen, not to mention uncomfortable
- Absolutely NOT. All that does for me is squash my fat UP past the waist line so I have a quad rack! Not appealing!
- Spanx? I love mine!
- I like spanx, but I love the Flexees long tanks even more. A good undergarment is essential…:-)
- Spanx = ouch. If I can help it, I’ll never wear ’em again. Jiggles ‘R’ Us.
- My thoughts aren’t deep…I heart Spanx!
- Spill out the top. I hate them. Inspire me to exercise. Plus, they are uncomfortably hot.
- I always feel my fat is just squeezed out the top and bottom when I wear spanx.
So. There are a lot of various opinions out there. I hated to feel like I was bowing to the vanity gods, but I tentatively tried the thing on. It was a bear to GET on, but once I did.. um…. I liked it. I really, really liked it! I put on my performance shirt and yes, it looked totally different. Better, in my opinion. So that’s it. It’s not something I care about for Everyday use, but on that stage, I’m telling you, I’m wearing the Spanx.
Is that crazy? Ironic? Hypocritical? I don’t know. Today I saw a Facebook update by Fit to the Finish. She wrote,
As I was getting my hair cut yesterday I thought about the past. When I was morbidly obese I stopped trying to look good. I stopped wearing make-up, wore my glasses instead of contacts, and never had cute clothes. I tried not to care.
So true! That just hit me like a punch in the gut. I thought of the days when all I wore was baggy stretch pants. So how far do we take this “caring”? Is it excessive to wear contacts instead of glasses? (I am personally extremely attached to my glasses) What about cosmetic surgery? Hair color? Botox? Makeup? Personally, I find makeup MUCH more oppressive than Spanx. For some reason I find it upsetting. I will wear it on occasion, but it always makes me feel so false and unnatural. I do get my hair colored. For how long I’ll continue doing that, I don’t know.
I think that most people care how they look. And everyone has their own comfort zone of what they find acceptable, endurable, in the name of “beauty” or looking good. I do know that for many many years, like Fit to the Finish, I DID NOT CARE. (or pretended I didn’t) Now that I do care (more), it’s a tricky and interesting new territory to navigate.