Sunday, January 8, 2012

RE: Humor About Undergarments of All Things

Ode to Foundation Wear

I enjoy a good Ode, whether it’s an Ode dedicated to a Grecian Urn, a Nightingale, or a spatula, the latter having been a topic of mine during last year’s spate of seasonal columns.

I also appreciate support; friends who support me, support hosiery, and even customer support.

Now you might wonder how those two references – odes and support – manage to connect. I suppose it’s safe to say it takes an unusual mind like my own to forge such a bond, but forge the bond I do as I offer up this – my ode and love letter, really, to foundation wear.

No post-holiday series of columns would be complete without one addressing what’s on all of our minds – underwear.

If you’re like me, every season, not just those pinned to holidays, presents new opportunities for creative carbo loading. In fact, during this time of year I imbibe all manner of high-calorie beverages and foods heretofore not previously on my caloric radar, so to speak.

Perhaps I am simply speaking for myself here, but it is January and I am fully reaping what I have sewn, which consists mostly of seams stretched beyond the manufacturer’s recommended limit.

Suffice it to say my recent “look” may best be described in two words: Tightly bound.

Ergo, because I have accumulated holiday girth, I require underthings creating an optical illusion or, at the very least, a diversion.

Yes, my rocking, sweet-as-a-cupcake physique has given weigh to full-on muffin top. Thus, I think it’s a good time to talk about the kind of support that truly means something in my life. Shapewear.

Ironically enough the whole undergarment movement has developed into a non-movement rendering our squishy parts immobile. Girdles are back, baby!

Oh, sure, they may be euphemistically renamed Spanx, Hourglass Angel, or Flexees, but make no mistake. These are in the same class as the waist cinchers of yesteryear.

The funny thing is I grew up watching the women in my family shimmy themselves into second generation corsets as though they were drumsticks being dipped into a bag of shake ‘n’ bake. These devices incorporated more clasps, snaps, and straps than a turn-of-the-century life vest.

I vowed never to subject myself to that kind of torture, as did most freedom-loving, rage the machine, the-calendar-is-on-my-side women. Accept us as we are. Real women ARE this size, so deal with it. Blah, blah, blah.

Fast forward to the external byproduct that is decades of truth wrought upon our bodies subsequent to childbirth, metabolic failure and sunlight with a double helping of “U” along with the “V.”

This is when I finally understood why my foremothers were so slavishly devoted to their foundation wear. They wisely understood that though we say we want truth in all things this doesn’t count in dress size or personality tests.

To quote one of my favorite bands, INXS:

It ain't pretty After the show It ain't pretty when the pretty leaves you With no place to go

After “the show” that is youth is when tight underclothing comes into play, providing no place for our body to go, thereby establishing important boundaries. (Think carp in a koi pond and how they will grow to the size of their environment. If we just allow ourselves large environments we will grow large…koi parts.)

I never thought I would see foundational items again, let alone utilize them. However, nowadays I find myself wondering why the “Hello Dolly” these articles of clothing ever went out of vogue.

There is an even newer term out there now: compression wear. I had always associated compression with applying it to open wounds, but somehow it makes perfect sense that we are applying it as a term for underclothes. More compression equals less psychic pain.

At this juncture you may find yourself asking, “What is the difference between undergarments that are too tight and undergarments that are helpful in bodily downsizing?

I’d say about 10 to 15 pounds.