The words hung in the air thick with the judgement that only a 21 year old size zero sales employee could muster. My last meals began flashing through my brain. Pizza with the kids last night, hot dogs for lunch at that birthday party, oh and I had cake and ice cream there too. I ate half of a leftover pop tart for breakfast along with three french toast sticks and a handful of goldfish crackers. I probably shouldn’t have had the Venti Latte at Starbucks either…God knows how many calories are in those things but I had been up all night with the teething baby and I was soooooo tired. So very tired. My body needed the caffeine and I didn’t have the energy to make myself anything healthy for breakfast. And then there was the wine. Alcohol certainly isn’t helping my case…maybe my sanity but not my mom bod.
I stood in the dressing room staring at my pastey white thighs and my post-baby #3-muffin top. I don’t recognize the person staring back at me. When did this happen? When did I start looking like this? WHEN DID I BECOME SOMEONE WHO NEEDS TO WEAR SPANX????????
“No, I don’t.” I replied curtly. “But maybe it’s that time.” I said looking her up and down imagining when SHE gets a muffin top and HER boobs disappear from nursing three babies. When HER eyes begin to look more “full of exhaustion” than her current state of “wonderment”.
It will happen to us all. Only I didn’t realize it had happened to me.
I quickly paid for my dress and started out to the department store to purchase my first ever body-binding gear. On the walk down the mall I called my best friend to recount the outrageous rudeness of the salesgirl.
“SHE TOLD ME I NEEDED TO WEAR SPANX!!!!!” I blurted out with indignity.
“Well, you ARE 35 and DO have 3 kids,” my best friend replied. “I’ve been wearing them for years. You should be thankful that she made a helpful suggestion.”
“THANKFUL?!?!?! I would be thankful if you made the suggestion. Not some Kylie Jenner look-alike. I could feel her eyes judging me and the Cheetos I had at lunch. I probably still had orange-dust on my finger tips!”
“Well, I think it was nice of her to make such a suggestion. Just go buy the Spanx. You’ll thank her later,” and with that she hung up.
Mental note: Find a new best friend.
I entered the department store and made my way to the lingerie department. I had to weave through the red and black lacy teddies and the hot pink silk nighties to get back to the old lady section. I had never been back here before. I stood staring helplessly at the the racks utterly confused. There were so many choices. Boobs in, boobs out, snaps in the crotch, no snaps in the crotch, full coverage, just through the middle. It was overwhelming.
Thankfully a [much older] sales woman saw my bewilderment and came over to help me.
“I don’t know what I’m doing!” I desperately blurted out.
She swiftly and expertly flitted through the racks effortlessly grabbing a hanger here and there until she had an armful of about 5 or 6 choices for me.
“This is the one I’m wearing right now. But I got several other options for you to try,” she said as she led me to the dressing room. “Try these on and let me know what you think. If you need any assistance just push that call button on the wall.”
“Thanks,” I mumbled.
She left me there in the dressing room with an array of undergarments that looked like they were sized for my 5 year old. How in the hell am I supposed to squeeze into these things? I know they’re stretchy but…..
I stripped down careful to not catch a glimpse in the mirror and slowly slipped my feet into the first option. As I pulled it up over my thighs I realized that the hem had this strange rubbery gummy substance on it. This was expertly placed by inspector #13 to impede the skirt from riding up no doubt. Well, excellent job to #13 if I do so say so. It was doing exactly what it was supposed to do. The only problem is that it was stuck halfway up my thighs with no hopes of being coaxed any further. I pulled and tugged and I swear I gave myself rug burn. This thing would not budge.
“Ok,” I thought. “I must’ve done this wrong. I’ll take it off and try pulling it over my head.”
At this point I am grunting and sweating and twisting and turning trying to get the damned thing off. I finally break free and as I pull my last leg out of the sheath my toes caught the hem and I went tumbling into the mirror smearing sweaty palm prints down it as I tried, in vain, to catch myself.
I could feel the anger burning inside me. Rising up. The determination that this damned slip will NOT BEAT ME. I am now on a mission. I WILL succeed.
I took a deep breath and began again. This time pulling the slip over my head.
Now I know what babies must feel like at birth.
I am twisting and pulling and sweating and kicking and I manage to get one arm all the way through. I claw at the spandex to free my head and gasp a deep breath of fresh air. Somehow one arm is pinned straight up by my ear and the other is pinned straight down my side. I am unable to move either one. I start to panic as I realize I am trapped. TRAPPED!!!
I penguin scuttle over to the chair in the dressing room and try to sit down to regroup. I trip and fall again getting tangled with the chair and knocking my purse over spilling all of its contents on the floor.
I contemplate screaming for help.
I worm crawl my way over to the wall and bracing myself against it am able to use my legs to push myself up sliding up it. I look in the mirror at my pastey legs which are now accentuated by my beet red face and I sadly realize defeat. This was the point I got the giggles. I was laughing so hard I feared I might pee as the spandex had created a tourniquet right around my midsection where my bladder lies. I knew that I had to get out of this thing and quick.
I tilt my body, bending at the waist, so that the arm pinned straight up by my ear can reach it. I sigh heavily and push the call button.
Within seconds the saleswoman is outside the door. “Do you need some help ma’am?”
“Yeah, you could say that.” I replied as I bent at the waist so that my hand could reach the door handle.
“I’ll take this one,” I said cheerily as the door swung open.
I’m not sure what she expected to see when I opened the door. But I am certain the vision of me half naked and rubber banded into a spandex death trap unable to free myself was 100% NOT one she had anticipated.
We struggled together for a few moments until she broke me free and I collapsed breathlessly into the chair. She quickly excused herself as I put myself back together. I did buy the slip. More so out of embarrassment than anything else.
The saleswoman didn’t make eye contact with me as I quickly paid. Her silence made it clear that this was not something that has happened before. This only added to my humiliation as hung my head in shame and fled to my car.
I only wonder if there were any other ladies in the dressing room that day and what they thought was going on behind the door of stall number 3.