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  Friday January 30th, 2015    

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For sale (02/06/2013)
By Frances Edstrom

Actually, I may give it away—one slightly used…um…torture agonizing girdle miserable piece of…um…shapewear. I know I’m older than many of you. (I saw a play poster at the coffee shop, and thought it said “Angina Monologues.”) But my problem is not exactly age-related. I’ve seen women forty years my junior with the same problem—errant fat deposits.

When I was younger, my fat was deposited at the top of my thighs. If only that had lasted. Now, while everything else is falling, my thigh fat has migrated upward and gotten stuck around my waist.

Waist fat can be disguised with loose clothing, since I’m beyond the age of being suspected of being pregnant. But sometimes, I might want—or be forced—to wear something a little tighter. And there is that pesky waist fat, just flopping around, prepared to become a shapechanger the second I put on clothes. Depending on the garment, waist fat can be a pouch under my belt, or a roll above—the dreaded “muffin top.” If you don’t know what that is, ask your daughter, or son, for that matter. Muffin tops are the new bane of our fashion existence. In the olden days, girls bemoaned the flat chest. Now, it’s the muffin top—that roll that certain tight clothes push up from your belly and bum to appear at the top of your pants.

For the Rockwell Kent play that I am in, I have to fit into a dress that I looked pretty good in sixteen years ago. Time flies. I put it on, and could still zip it, but when I put panties and tights on underneath, the muffin top pouched out and I looked like I was in a senior citizen beauty pageant, but with an inner tube around my waist.

Off to shop for undergarments, which is a torture of its own on any occasion. But in the winter, it seems crazy to have to take off all your clothes (camisole, long underwear top and bottom, shirt, sweater, boots, pants, coat, mittens) just to try something on. So I found what I thought I wanted, made brand comparisons, and bought what I later learned is euphemistically called a “high-waist panty shaping product.”

At home before rehearsal, I put it on, with a little difficulty. I hoped it would loosen up with wear. I put on my fishnet tights over it, and sure enough, no muffin top appeared. I was feeling a little smug. It was feeling a little snug.

At the theater, I put on the dress, and wowie zowie, I looked fantastic (for my age). I don’t go on stage until the second act, so I sat around the dressing room chewing the fat with my fellow actors, while the “shaping product” was chewing my fat.

Pretty soon I couldn’t sit any longer if I wanted to continue to breathe. So I had to stand up for about forty-five minutes, until I went on. I was a little afraid I wouldn’t be able to say my lines, as I was feeling a little breathless, my diaphragm was so constrained. Finally, rehearsal was over. My fellow actor Terri unzipped my dress for me, and I expected to find relief. No.

I took off the dress, and when I bent over to put on my sweat pants, the “shaping product” suddenly rolled down my body violently, like a window shade that gets away from you and flappity flaps against the window. It nearly knocked me over!

I struggled out of it, in case it would completely cut off any blood supply to my legs when I got into the drivers seat of my car. I’d hate to pass out and get into a crash. Cause of death: shaper product.

I should have worn a muumuu. Shaper product going cheap. 


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