I wouldn’t say that I have “anxiety” about wearing Spanx (and honestly, no one SHOULD have anxiety about wearing a brand of sucky-in-y underwear – because that’s essentially all they are) but I HAVE noticed that when I’m wearing a tight dress, along with – what is essentially a modern day girdle – I feel, a little…. well, anxious. Stiff. Uncomfortable. There’s a tightness in my chest…/abdomen.
I mean, most of that is the sucky-in-y part of the underwear that I paid $50 to literally wedge myself into so that I could look good in a dress for a few hours, but you know what I mean. I worry. The Spanx alter blood circulation to my brain (probably, I don’t know. You’d think they’ve got to be cutting off some circulation around my torso. Otherwise, are they even doing their job?) My inner fat girl that needed the Spanx in the first place starts sending paranoid, worried signals to my brain.
“What if people can tell?” I think. “Can people tell that I’m wearing a girdle?”
I honestly do not know how anyone would ever be able to “tell”, unless they came over and lifted up my dress and said, “Hey I see you’re wearing some funny underwear under there.” And if someone ever does that to you, I can PROMISE you that the the highlight of that story will not be “I was wearing Spanx”, it will be “A stranger lifted up my dress. It was weird.”
Sometimes I worry that if I give someone a hug, they’ll be able to tell. Like they’ll feel it under my clothes and be like, “HEY WHAT’S THAT?” or worse – “Wow! Your core is ROCK SOLID! Have you been doing Pilates? Let’s see that six-pack!”
Again. That would require me to lift up my dress. And the highlight of that story would be, “Someone asked me to lift up my dress in order to show them my super rock-hard abs. It was weird.”
But what if they can FEEL it, I think. What if someone has their arms around me and feels the top of the Spanx? Or that little rod-stick thing that goes down the sides of some of them like a legit corset? I mean, I’m wearing this super tight dress. Surely they can FEEL that stuff.
In all of my years of hugging people – all of the people, including ones who are wearing tight clothes – I have never once embraced someone long enough to literally FEEL THEM UP. I have never tried to rub my hands along someone’s side while hugging them, unless I was, like, DATING that person. Because otherwise it’s super inappropriate – and the highlight of THAT story would be, “Someone tried to feel me up while they were hugging me. It was super inappropriate.” — not, “Someone tried to feel me up while they were hugging me and THEY COULD TELL I WAS WEARING A GIRDLE. IT WAS SO EMBARRASSING.”
And yet, even with all of this counterintuitive information, it still feels like I’m walking around wearing a dirty, little secret. “Can anyone see how uncomfortable I am? Is it obvious that I’m wearing Spanx? Are people going to think I’m fat? Will they ASK me about it?”
Like someone is just going to walk up to me and whisper, “Psst. I see you’re wearing Spanx. Would you like to talk about your body image issues?”
The first time I bought Spanx (because, yea, it’s been more than once), I was so embarrassed to buy them that I almost didn’t. Couldn’t. I stood in the lingerie department staring at granny panties and things that said “Body shaper panties”, “level 3 sculpting power”. It felt like I was buying Saran Wrap to squeeze my ham-like thighs into. If I squeeze it tight enough, I can trick people in thinking they’re smaller. I saw ‘body shapers’ as”old lady underwear”. I was worried that the cashier at Macy’s was going to judge me for my undergarment choices, apparently. Like taking these up to the counter and trying to purchase them was like admitting to her, “Hi, I have a problem. I’m fat, you see. And I don’t look good in tight dresses. So, I’m buying this contraption that will make me uncomfortable for a few hours instead of trying to diet and exercise this week like I should have done instead.”
You don’t have to be “fat” to buy Spanx. Or wear Spanx. They make size “Small” Spanx for people are who are – wait for it – SMALL. Some of us just need a little extra help. Maybe some of us want to be able to wear a tight dress while still pigging out on dinner and don’t want to pop a button off of our SMALL, tight dress.
I’m not a size Small. But I’m just saying. I’m a 6 – but with Spanx, I can squeeze into a 4.
And yet when the cashier at Macy’s – not only didn’t judge me, but didn’t say anything about it at all – just rang up my Spanx like it was a shirt or a pair of socks, I was… well, honestly, I was a little offended. The first time I bought them. Because I was halfway hoping she’d look at the Spanx, and then look me up and down, and whisper, “You really don’t need these. You’re so thin!” And then I’d say, “Thank you! You’re right, I don’t know what I was thinking.”
But that didn’t happen. Instead she rang up my underwear like they were any old underwear in the department and charged me $50 and stuffed them into a bag and sent me on my merry way.
That was a few years ago. I’m an adult now. I no longer secretly worry that the cashier in Macy’s is going to judge me, or want to have a therapy session about my body image issues when I buy some Spanx because I want to look smokin’ in a dress. Now I can talk about it with other women and it becomes a bonding experience – because, whatever, every woman on the planet understands ‘beauty is pain’ and we’ve all done weird stuff to look hotter in a dress. Like buy really painful shoes. And really heavy earrings. And yank tiny little hairs out of our faces so that society doesn’t know we have hairy eyebrows.
Two years ago, telling someone I owned a pair of Spanx felt like telling them I drank prune juice and took my teeth out at night. It was a deep, dark secret. I’d spill the beans about my awkward first kiss or admit to eating an entire pint of ice cream before I’d tell them about my old lady underwear.
Now my girlfriends and I can talk openly about it when we’re shopping. “This dress? With Spanx, obviously.” Like, whatever. Women get it. At the end of the day, we all just want to look hot.
What are your thoughts on Spanx? Were you ever embarrassed to buy them like I was?! Let’s hear your stories in the comment section!