Last May I found myself in what many women would consider a living nightmare:
I forgot to bring Spanx. TO MY COLLEGE REUNION.
Look, we all know Spanx are a joke writer’s dream. They’re stretchy, they make the wearer look like Mrs. Doubtfire in her underwear, and they seem to encapsulate every single insecurity that’s ever been burned into our souls. A cultural shibboleth signifying womanhood at large.
But fuck it, they work.
These little bicycle shorts-shaped girdles don’t just even out the love handles in my ultra-bodycon sweater dresses. They protect me from the the number one bane of any thunder thighs’ existence: chafing.
So when it’s summer in Western Massachusetts, a mosquito-swathed hellscape where the air is so disgustingly wet and warm a person might as well try to breathe bricks, yeah, you’re gonna panic if your anti-thighmare protection sheath is nowhere to be found.
I discarded every single item from my suitcase, literally throwing it all over head as I searched, searched, SEARCHED for my Spanx.
“This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening.”
This can’t be happening because you’re at your five-year reunion and the last time you saw all these people you were thirty pounds heavier. This can’t be happening because the only cute outfit you brought with you for Saturday night tent-hopping is a tight little black mini dress.
So I did what any desperate fat girl would do in this situation: I stuffed myself into a pair of opaque black tights. In 80-plus degree weather.
About twenty seconds later I accepted this was the stupidest idea in the history of humanity and I immediately tore them off. Depressed, I attempted to put back on the clothes I’d worn throughout the day: a pair of full-length jeans and a sweaty, short-sleeve shirt.
Then my friend Yasmin walked in.
Yasmin – gorgeous, slender, curvy – was a vision in her hot little black body-hugger.
I took one look back in the mirror. “SCREW IT.”
You guys. I slipped into that minute, minuscule, miniature black dress.
And let me tell you. We’re talking whatever’s the opposite of a thigh gap here. (Thigh magnetism?) Legs so white my family constantly remarks they could blind someone. A popping, present pooch.
I looked pretty nice, actually.
For all my anxiety, for all the times I refused to wear skirts and dresses when my Spanx were in the wash, for all the years of being conspicuously one of the fattest girls on a campus known for its prevalence of eating disorders, I actually felt fine without my human sausage casing.
More than fine. I felt kind of powerful. Like, “Kiss my big, fat, pale, textured, sticking-together thighs! (As soon as I peel myself from this plastic folding chair.)” powerful.
Do I still dress to compress? Sure. I find shapewear overall pretty comfy.
But am I still afraid of the alternative?