Tuesday, November 8, 2011
When Underwear Attacks
174 lbs. Straight up past the 50 lbs. down mark, no “close enough” BS.
Part of being a middle class citizen in the United States (besides the sensation that we belong on the Highly Endangered species list along with Whooping Cranes) is the widespread use of undergarments. Bras, boxers, briefs, camisoles and the Victoria’s Secret catalogs that display them (and sometimes usher in puberty as in “Where’s my Victoria’s Secret catalog?” “I saw Trevor take it into the bathroom.” “Uh, never mind.”), most of us in the USA wear undergarments. Jockey is not just a small man on a horse.
Men (and you know you do this) are known to hold onto “lucky underwear”, usually of the pants variety and reduced to perhaps some frayed elastic and a couple of shreds of what used to be white cotton knit. Think Zack Galifianakis in “The Hangover.” It is lucky because the Giants won the Super Bowl the first time the owner wore them (For the record, I am a Pats fan. As such, “Manning” is a dirty word, regardless of the first name, especially after this past Sunday. Given the opportunity, I would knock Peyton and Eli’s heads together like the Three Stooges. I did this once before to two of my siblings and it gets easier each time. But I digress). My mother used to prevent this kind of behavior by my father by taking his ratty T shirts and ripping them up as they came into the laundry room. Our dog, Lily, loved getting them with a series of knots tied in them and knew the phrase “Where’s your rag? Get your rag!” Playing Rag meant tug of war (and when there weren’t rags for her, she’d steal socks, small teddy bears and slippers. My Malibu Barbie looked like a shark had gotten her feet). They were also excellent for polishing furniture (when we didn’t use my sister’s cat, Ira. Oh, stop. He loved it. His fur picked up dust better than a Swiffer. In fact, I Boy may have been the inspiration for the Swiffer).
One may become used to wearing undergarments of a specific size and the indications that one is gaining weight are some of the following: the leg bands start digging trenches into the area where your thigh joins your torso (blood flow gets cut off), the elastic waistband starts cutting in and/or just giving up entirely (yeah, I’ve had the sensation of my undies rolling down in the back under my skirt. Not pleasant). If you wear panty hose (and this is not gender specific. May I say I hate RuPaul. He makes a better-looking woman than I do), the waistband will start rolling its way down from your waist until it forms a ledge around your hips and you feel the contact of your wool skirt against your butt (Okay, that’s gender specific because I don’t know any drag queens who go to all the trouble of tucking just to wear business dress clothing, even if it does get accessorized with pearls. Dowdy is not in their vocabulary). It’s not pleasant; I’ve done the research.
Another sign of weight gain is limited to the skimpier under garments (I don’t like the word “panties.” It’s kind of like baby talk and just sounds demeaning. It’s like a woman’s female friends being her “girlfriends.” Tell you menfolk what: until you start referring to that circle of knuckleheads you hang out with as your “boyfriends,” you’d better come up with something else. “Friends” comes to mind). When you really have to dig and tug to remove the thong from The Great Divide, it’s time to go up a size. Butt floss, anyone?
I have reported in this space on the indignities of being required to wear a girdle when 13 years old. It’s a comment on our society (and perhaps male vanity) that I’ve been seeing a lot of ads for the “Insta Slim” being marketed to men. It’s sort of a twenty first century version of the whalebone corset Lee Marvin was sporting in “Cat Ballou.” They never call it a girdle (It supports the back. Right. The late, great Jane Russell used to advertise the Playtex 18 Hour Back Support), but , Guys, you won’t pass out from trying to “suck in that gut.” There’s some sweet justice in there. I’m waiting for some brainiac to create control top jockey shorts.
The worst wardrobe malfunction, however, comes courtesy of brassieres (In the 1990s, Life magazine marked the 100th anniversary of its invention with a cover story titled “Hurrah for the Bra. “ No, I’m not kidding. Opus, Steve Dallas and Hodgepodge over on “Outland” wrote to Life demanding a companion piece titled “Hooray for Hooters.” Don’t ask me why I remember these things; I have no clue why my brain chooses to latch on to certain completely useless facts, but freezes up in the face of a clean-shaven Alex Trebek. SEQUEL, dumbass! The final Jeopardy answer was SEQUEL. You’re so friggin’ movie obsessed and you couldn’t come up with that one????? Third place on June 3,2010. Good for $1,000, a reusable shopping bag and all the pens I could steal). Unless one is a “Seinfeld” savant and remembers Kramer v. Frank Costanza with the “Bro” or “Manssiere”, depending on which one of them you asked, men and bras do not go together. This particular garment has the power to render any straight man to utter uselessness, particularly when they attempt to remove one engaged in its chosen function: keeping the girls up high and tight. You could have a brain surgeon who moonlights as a concert pianist specializing in Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto (the “Rach Three”), both occupations which require extremely nimble and capable hands. Yet, present him with hooks and eyes attached to a bra band and he becomes about as effective as the 2009 Detroit Lions offense (they went 0-16 that year). Or defense, for that matter (0-16).
When one is “blessed” with large breasts, appropriate support takes the form of an underwire bra. If treated properly (wash gentle cycle, hang out to dry), the bra and wire will last for years. However, all good things must end. With non-wired bras, elastic snaps and things start to sag. A broken down underwire bra, on the other hand, becomes an assassin. If you do not hear/feel the subtle snap from under the left breast (Lucille and Rebecca on the right), that mysterious stabbing pain in your chest is the first indicator of trouble. I experienced this last week, getting stabbed throughout the day. It kept me from falling asleep at work. The bra in question was scheduled for replacement anyway as, due to losing 50 lbs., the cups no longer runneth over. In fact, they were half full (or half empty for you pessimists out there) .
While one mourns the demise of an old friend (Yes, the bras become part of me, especially when they start stabbing), there is always an opportunity: one door closes, another opens, yada, yada, yada. Victoria's Secret (not the Trevor marked catalog), you'd better have some matching sets in leopard print in my size. E Harmony awaits.