My father’s mother had two constants in her life. The first was coffee, several cups a day. The other was her girdle, which kept her looking as slim as she did when she was a nurse in the Navy, before she gave birth to four boys.
Exercise and diet fads came and went, but Bubbe had her girdle. We made fun, my sisters and I, until the unthinkable happened. I bought one, too.
It all happened so fast. It was a week before my younger sister’s wedding and I took a dress to be altered. As I adjusted the fabric around my hips, the dressmaker smiled and nodded at my mid-section, asking if I was pregnant. Nuh-uh. Nope.
Obviously, I sobbed when I got to my car.
It wasn’t so much that she misinterpreted the little pooch that’s stubbornly stuck with me after having two babies in two-and-a-half years. It was the swift blow to my confidence, previously on the upswing thanks to hitting the gym three times a week and on weekends.
So I did what any practical momma would do.
I hightailed it to Nordstrom and poured out my story to a salesgirl, who steered me toward a fitting room and brought me a dozen styles of “shape wear” to try out. Now, I don’t want to hear any preachy lessons about loving your body or your new curves or “Oh, he’s so worth it!” I already know that, and it’s still depressing. Utterly and totally.
Up first was Wacoal’s “iPant” High Waist Anti Cellulite Shaper ($72). The label had specific instructions: “It is recommended to wear the iPant 8 hours a day 7 days a week for 28 days” to show improvements in appearance and reduction in thigh measurements. “Let Wacoal give you hope on a hanger.”
Can you believe I didn’t?
Second, I poured myself into a pair of Spanx “Slimmer & Shine,” a body tunic that attaches to your bra and features a hook-and-eye closure in the crotch and a wide “gusset” to keep the whole contraption in place. (Another no, with a side of “Who in the world comes up with this stuff?”)
Next came a different pair of Spanx, called “Thinstincts” Mid Thigh Shaper ($58) that had a paper-thin feel and instructions to “trust your thin-stincts.”
I almost did, but then I tried on DKNY’s “Fusion Light” Shaping Boyshorts ($42). They were high enough to smooth down my belly, but didn’t give me a muffin top. Smooth, silky, lightweight. And I could breathe! Ladies, I found my winning pair.
My purchase swathed in tissue paper, I left the store giddy with excitement. I’m not delusional, mind you. Do the new boyshorts make me look as long and lean as Gisele? No way. A slimmer version of myself? Maybe, although the verdict’s still out on that one. But it’s OK. This is my reality, at least for now. A little tummy control never hurt anyone (definitely not Bubbe), and that’s a price I’ll pay for feeling confident.