When outfits attack

In honor of Table Talk's 10th anniversary, we're remembering our favorite posts and exchanges of all time. This week: The legendary spandex anaconda.

Published October 27, 2005 7:30PM (EDT)

Salon Central

Best Posts II

Vinca Minor - 08:27 a.m. Pacific Time - Dec. 16, 2002 - #4713 of 4715

From "Not the Only One":

Ahem. In response to overwhelming public demand and because I get such a kick out of the fact that people want to read my old, overused stories, I hereby present: Night of the Spandex Anaconda. Remember, you asked for this.

More or less upon the occasion of my turning 30 and beginning to wonder if this doomed me to middle age and the ravages of gravity, I purchased a garment designed to lift and separate me from my money, to wit: an Isotoner Bodyshaper. This was a one-piece unit of underwear designed to squash a woman into a much smaller volume than that which she normally occupied, and looked like an old one-piece bathing suit. The first and last time I wore it I took an extremely long time to wriggle into it, since it was one piece, constructed of what seemed to be a sort of stretchable iron, and had only one feasible entry point, a crotch area with three fasteners. By the time I worked the bra portion up over my ribcage I was exhausted. This thing was much stronger than I was.

I wore the bodyshaper all day at work and was reasonably pleased with it. I felt that it made me look good and since I worked in a severely air-conditioned environment I was happy that the thick layer of Spandex and steel kept me warm. The lower half of the thing was perhaps a bit flawed from the standpoint of comfort, though. It clutched my butt at least as enthusiastically as my husband ever had and had a definite tendency to defy gravity and hike itself up in the direction of my firmly supported bosom, as if it were urging my butt cheeks to come up to meet and offset their rounded counterparts in my sweater. Fortunately the crotch fasteners were flat, but by the end of the day I was tired of sitting on them and was sure that there were little circular depressions stamped in my naughty bits.

I got home, stripped off my outer clothing and contemplated the problem of removing the Foundation Garment. The exact topological details of the event evade me after this span of years, but as I recall my first attempt involved shedding the garment in a downward direction, from head to tail like a snake shedding its skin. I tried pulling the bra down and wiggling upward out of the Spandex embrace, but I have a tiny ribcage and the bodyshaper had adapted itself to it, so there was no way the bra portion was going to make its way over my prominent butt. There seemed only one other way to go, and that was up. Here you must understand that I am spatially challenged and have a great deal of difficulty visualizing how three-dimensional objects relate to other objects in space. I started working the top of the shaper up over my ribcage and arms and was at the point of trying to pull my head into my shoulders like a turtle when I realized that I had made an elementary mistake. I still had my arms in the straps. I suppose that this would all have worked itself out eventually, but at the time it was cutting dents in my flesh and seemed an insuperable obstacle unless I reversed course and remedied my mistake. By this time the garment was twisting around and tightening in several directions.

I need to mention that when I donned the garment that morning I had first put on underpants, a bit of redundancy but one that felt necessary given that a visit from the monthly uterine inventory reduction mechanism seemed imminent. My hormonal status is plot material, also, since I was plumped up in crucial dimensions from the size I had been when I bought the bodyshaper.

By now I was deeply uncomfortable and beginning to suspect that I needed help. The cat, however, had no intention of getting involved and lacked the physical strength to deal with the matter in any case. This was fortunate, as it turned out, since the results of having a cat rolled up in my underwear with me would have made things even more dire than they eventually became.

I stopped for breath and discovered that part of my difficulty was caused by the fact that I had neglected to undo the last fastener at the crotch of the thing, something I would have discovered much earlier had I not lost all circulation and feeling in that normally sensitive zone. My arms being compressed at my sides by the twisted bra straps, also constructed of a powerful elastic for no reason I could think of, it took me some struggle to get to and release that last hook and eye mechanism. When I finally did so, the bodyshaper rolled up with alacrity like a windowshade, quintupling its effective strength and producing the effect of an anaconda in attack mode. Alas, the last hook snagged my underpants and gave me a near-terminal wedgie, which also multiplied the downward pulling force of the upper part of the garment wrapped around my shoulders and neck. I had one arm pinned to my side and the other twisted up in spandex at my throat. I was basically strangling myself. Anything I did at that point made things worse and I was beginning to wonder if I would be found in this ridiculous state by someone from the coroner's office.

Weakened by my struggles and unable to catch my breath, I found both hands had gone numb as well. I contemplating trying to dial the non-touch-tone telephone with my toes, though I could hardly think of anyone I could call on to release me from this delicate situation. I wasn't even sure I could unlock the door. I hopped over to the bed, hunch-sat on it as the Foundation Garment of Death tried to double me over, and stuck a tentative toe into the phone dial. Naturally, the toe stuck in the dial. I flopped over on my back, telephone hanging from my foot, and waited for death.

I heard a key in the outside door lock and my husband came cheerfully into the apartment. I called for him in a strangled voice and endured moments of shrinking consciousness as he laughed hysterically. Nearly 20 minutes of struggle ensued as he wrestled with the Isotoner, which had been so close to ultimate victory over a human being that it was unwilling to relinquish its hold. DH was a large and strong man but finally admitted defeat as matters worsened and he finally resorted to scissors to kill the thing and free me. I still have a terrible fear of Spandex to this day.

By Salon Staff

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