What was I thinking ? I usually can see things coming a mile away. But this one got me!
Let me explain.
I’ve seemed to notice lots of talk lately about panty lines. Maybe it’s because I have this new full length mirror and there was this bit on television about the horrors associated with “having it”. I have to admit that I rationalize being seen in public with a slightly noticeable panty line, preferring anyone looking to know that I am wearing something! And even though I do my best to look good each day I have been more aware lately when I slip into my clothes just how visible they are.
So last week, I went shopping, my anniversary is coming up, 32 years and yes for that alone I deserve a new dress. So after trying every dress in the store, I picked one, something I can also wear for meetings and to speak in. But as I was checking out the clerk mentioned that with the new “clingy” fabrics you need to make sure you have the correct undergarment, right “visible lines” again.
Believing this was most certainly a sign from a higher power, I left the store and daringly ventured into Macy’s lingerie department to see what my options were. It is there that I see a display of “girdles”. OK, you can call them anything you want, but they are basically the same, except this time they offered a full body model for under dresses.
Normally I would have wandered in and wandered out realizing that it was not something I really needed. But in a flash I was mesmerized by the package, the smooth shapely outline of a woman made me wonder if I too could slip into the magic garment and become lineless in my new dress.
Thinking back to the vision of my mom struggling to get into a girdle, I thought twice about what I was about to do. But in a moment I managed to convince myself that this new model has to be easier to get into and with all the amazing advances in fabrics it certainly must be breathable.
I live in Arizona and the temperature can climb to 115. The last thing anyone here needs to do is wrap themselves in a garment that breathes like saran wrap. The combination of the longer mirror, the sales lady subtle suggestion and the smooth silhouette on the package, I was sold.
First I would need to determine the correct size, which can be tricky since they are not standard clothing sizes. It definitely seemed to be a secret code. My choices were A B C or D. After a few minutes I was able to crack the code. They were acronyms for:
A- Are you crazy – if you are this size you don’t have any lines (and there was not one A in stock and no apparent open spot for any so obviously it is a conspiracy). I think they just made up that size for the back of the envelope. Their feeble attempt to trying to make the B through D’s think that A’s would really need them too.
B-Bigger than A – let’s see if I am shorter than 5 feet tall than I can weigh up to 140 lbs. or I can be 5’5 but then I would need to weigh 110 lbs. tops, again if I was 5’5 and weighted 110 lbs I would not be looking at these. I would be sitting in Starbucks ordering a frappuccino at 300 calories and maybe even ordering the lemon pound cake, not worrying about how to look perfect in my new dress.
C ok now we’re talking. . The C must be for Common because this wide range of sizes listed encompasses most of the people I know and since this is the size I feel good about and I am now confident that this will be the magical key to looking fabulous in my new dress.
D must stand for Don’t keep giving into your frappuccino and pound cake addiction. It is like a threat that if you keep eating you will be at the top of the regular people sizing, but for now I am safe.
And as I leave the store I am feeling good, a new dress and the perfect undergarment to make me look like Gisele Bundchen. Oh yeah!
My joy was short lived upon getting home and opening the package. They must have put the wrong size in the package. Honest to god it looked like it would fit a 2 year old. But after examining the tag inside I learned that yes it was the size C. I now realize that the C must have stood for Can you believe someone bought this believing they could get this on. Maybe it’s deceiving; it must stretch more than it appeared. NOT the case!
I managed to stop breathing long enough to pull it up to my stomach where I realized that I had created a child’s swimming ring around my middle section. Instead of stopping to contemplate what I should do next as quickly as I could I stopped breathing again, popped my arms in the holes and pull it up all the way.
Upon examination in that long mirror I was horrified to realize that yes, I was successful in inserting myself into the death grip and yes as promised there were no VPL’s -visible panty lines (I am learning the lingo – thank you very much), but I was now the proud owner of not just a uni-bum but a uni- boob.
Noticing that I could not breathe very well, and anxious to see the final results before I passed out. I quickly slipped on my new dress and excitedly stepped in front of the mirror. The first thought was where did my waist go? In place of a womanly shape under this beautiful dress was a shape that resembled an empty roll of toilet tissue. ROUND.
A cylinder shaped body completely symmetrical from every angle. As I stood there in front of the mirror, lots of silly scenarios popped through my head. If I sit down to eat dinner will my circulation be cut off to my lower extremities and I will be rendered unable to leave the restaurant on my own power, if I trip and fall in my new heels, would I be able to get up or maybe it would be more simple to just roll me to the car.
As I stood there giggling out loud at all the scenarios, I had what Oprah calls an “ah ha” moment. It dawned on me what had really happened. I had been sucked into the abyss of retail suggestion. Instead of following my instincts, I had followed the path laid out by the advertising gods.
They were successful in suggesting that there was something wrong that needed to be fixed and then I would be perfect. I don’t care about perfection; I don’t judge myself on a scale. Not being able to breath and the restriction in movement was not going to be worth looking perfect.
I have lines, I have lines that mar the perfect lines of my clothes and I have lines on my face. Both of these tell of the beautiful life I have lived. People who never smile have no lines on their face and those who don’t enjoy friends, food and drink probably will never have VPL’s.
I am comfortable with lines, I know that I am not perfect, but I am beautifully imperfect. I know that the people I love and the people who love me don’t even notice my lines. So after extracting myself from the grips of the magic garment that was now beginning to cause serious damage to my internal organs I decided to move the mirror to a different room. As for the magical solution to my imperfection, it is neatly folded and put away in my drawer.
It will serve to remind me a very valuable lesson. I now understand that there are many people who feel they need to be perfect from the outside it may appear so. These may be people we admire and want to emulate, but we really never know the price they are paying for the appearance of perfection or the pain they are hiding underneath that perfect looking exterior.
As for me I am very grateful. Grateful that I don’t have to worry about being perfect. Grateful that I am loved exactly as I am and in being imperfect myself, I can more easily love everyone else without ever expecting perfection in them.
My love to all.