Are you sure this thing will make me look a size smaller?

Latex Girdle<a

I blame my sister for my near death experience on Saturday.

After all, it's her fault I wore the damn contraption.

Or maybe it's my fault for being weak.

I allowed her to prey on my insecurities and in the process, almost lost a lung.

"You'll go from so so to va va voom," she promised.

And I listened.

I succumbed to the promise of looking one size smaller.

I gave in to the allure of a more refined silhouette; one without lumps and bumps.

I caved to the convincing arguments of, "That black mini deserves to drape over a tight bum, not one that's twice the size of Texas ."

She continued to argue her case.

"I can't believe you've denied yourself the possibility of looking fabulous for two years. Cause I gave you that thing two years ago, you know. Come on! You'll come home tonight and tell me how everyone complimented you on your weight loss."

Yeah, right.

Those seductive promises almost cost me to pass out in a stranger's bathroom.

Yes, now that I think about it, it's my fault.

Because I should never had let my sister convince me that wearing shapewear was a good idea.

And because I should've known that beauty always comes with a price.

Nevertheless, I listened and the minute I hung up the phone, went in search of the miracle underwear that was to transform my body into pin up girl perfection.

I had an hour to get ready.

A friend of the Significant Other was picking us up to go to another friend's birthday party.

Not having been out in some time, I thought it would be nice to wear some decent clothes; the kind that doesn't have an elastic waistband.

As I searched my closet for the wretched shapewear, something told me I should abort and ignore my sister's promises.

But as fate would have it, I found it a second later.

And a minute later, the tugging commenced.

I was successful in getting it past my knees.

I stopped to catch my breath before continuing.

"Don't worry if it feels tight. It's supposed to be that way or it won't make you look like you've lost ten pounds."


Tight was the understatement of the century.

Something told me this thing would have to be surgically removed.

Invoking the gods, I tugged with all my might and managed to get it past my hips.

I should have stopped at that point.
Refused to wear it.
Taken it off.

But no.

Like a marathon runner in a race, I realized I had come too far to go back.

Two more Herculean tugs allowed the blasted thing to make it to my armpits.

Contorting my body left and right, I managed to accommodate the straps.

Looking at myself in the mirror, I realized the hideous shapewear had found something that had been lost since I became pregnant many decades ago: my waist.

I had a waist!

I did a victory dance, clapped my hands, and laughed with glee.

Little did I know that an hour later I'd be hyperventilating, light headed and one breath away from being on the transplant list.

We arrived at the friend's house an hour later

I wished him a Happy Birthday, took a seat in the living room, and readily accepted a glass of wine.

Realizing the shapewear contraption wouldn't allow me to eat more than an olive, I thought my body at least deserved alcoholic hydration.

Bad decision.
Very bad decision.

Two sips later I felt the need to pee.

I asked my new friend where his bathroom was and half way there, realized it had taken me more than 20 minutes to put on the shapewear.

I quickly calculated how long would it take me to get it off and on again.

I should have said no to the wine.

But it was too late and I found myself being directed to the smallest bathroom in the history of the world.

It was the size of a cubicle.

Bending over almost caused me to bonk my head on the sink.

Twisting to the side resulted in jamming my knee on the toilet roll holder.

I desperately searched for the shapewear's crotch-release, only to realize the hooks were so far back, there was no way I could reach them.

Had I put the damn thing on backwards?
Impossible, since the bra part was in the front.

I realized I'd have to take off all my clothes.

Tights, mini, shirt, boots.

Everything would have to come off.

I opened the medicine cabinet and searched for a pair of scissors.

I would cut the damn thing off.

But my search only turned up a tube of toothpaste, dental floss and a bottle of multivitamins.

So I undressed until I was down to the shapewear.

Surprisingly, it was easier to take off than it had been to put on.

I sighed with relief.

Having finished my business, I took to replacing the contraption with the sheer determination of accomplishing the mission in less time than it had taken me back at the house.

Tugging and pulling, I pressed forward.

Sweating like a pig on a spit, I managed to get the deadly thing up to my belly.

I felt like the character in the film, "Groundhog Day."

I was going through the same motions but the tiny bathroom was only a tenth of the size of my bedroom.

Yanking and stretching, I successfully got the evil spandex over my chest, but just as I was going to put on a bra strap, I felt my breath catch.

It was as if the metal underwire had sprung loose and pierced one of my lungs.

Gasping for breath, I just wanted to tear it off my body.

I heard a sharp knock on the door.

I heard the Significant Other whisper, "What the hell are you doing in there? Everyone's asking where you are!"

I managed to hiss, "Get out of here!"

Down to my last breath and on the verge of passing out, I mustered enough strength to put on the other strap.

I finished dressing, but not before jamming my knee against the door and making hole in my tights.

"Your body will look like Marilyn Monroe's," my sister had promised.

I wanted to kill her.

Glancing in the mirror I realized my face was shiny, my hair was starting to frizz, and my mascara had smeared.

If I managed to live through the evening, I was determined to sue my sister and Bali shapewear for every dime they owned.

I cleaned myself up, pulled the mini over the hole and whispered in pledge-form, "Never again will I wear shapewear, even if it means I won't look a size smaller. And I solemnly swear to get my sister back, if it's the last thing I do."

Has your experience with shapewear been anywhere near as bad as mine?

71 thoughts on “Are you sure this thing will make me look a size smaller?

  1. Oh good Lord! This has me laughing and wincing all the same time!! I wore shapewear one. It was just the lower half kind and it dug into my waist the whole night. It did make my form-fitting dress look lump-free, but I will never do it again!

    1. Michael Ann, I wish the shapewear I’d worn was the lower half kind. At least then I wouldn’t have nearly pierced a lung! hee hee! I’m with you, though. No more shapewear! :)

  2. Bella, I’m typing this through happy tears! What a funny story you’ve told — yes, sisters are good for egging us on, aren’t they?! I’ve read so many hilarious accounts of shapewear that I refuse to even try it — no way is being several sizes smaller worth the aggravation!

    1. Debbie, I am thrilled that you found this post funny! And for the record, you are a smart woman for not trying on shapewear. The rest of us, the ones who’ve tried it, know this for a fact. :)

  3. **Realizing the shapewear contraption wouldn’t allow me to eat more than an olive***

    O))), Bella, you do it to me every. single. time.

    I can visulize all of this. I see every scene as you are writing.

    Brilliant & Blasted Funny as HELL!

    btw, I think you should try Spanx next time…I hear they are Fab. Xxx Great post.

    1. Kim, I’m tickled pink to have made you laugh! And yes, I’ve tried the Spanx too but they’re only a bit less of a hassle. I’ll admit it you run a lesser risk of puncturing a lung with the Spanx though! hee hee! :)

  4. Oh! How awful! I fully understand every minute of it and I only tried to squirm my way into a fitting fat sucker tank top! At the same time I can’t help but laugh remembering never to purchase a body suit.

    1. Belle, trust me, you never want to purchase a body suit. This experience has taught me that my sister may be out to get me. After all, she’s the one who got me the wretched thing! :)

  5. Bella,
    Totally enjoyed your post! Just a thought… any contraption that has only one entrance/exit just isn’t safe! It should come with a warning on the label, especially if you can’t reach the trap door! It reminds me of “one size fits all”. There is no truth in advertizing!

    1. JusstI, hello and welcome! I’m happy you like the post! I totally agree with you–there is no truth to advertising! And I’ve yet to fit into any of those “one size fits all.” What a joke! I hope one day designers will realize it’s time they stop using elves as models! :)

  6. My two experiences with shapewear quickly convinced me I need not ever try again to have a smooth tummy & butt. The one that looks like a swimsuit but isn’t, with snaps in the crotch, was an absolute disaster…especially when I realized I had to stretch the back snaps down & sit on them with one butt cheek so could them reach them from the front & (sweating profusely now) attach them once again. Yeah! The others (bike-ish shorts) kept rolling down & creating more lumps than they removed. Whatever. I’ve decided to own my lumps & bumps.

    1. LW, I hear you, sister! Can you please explain to me what’s up with the disappearing snaps? I swear the same thing happened to me! I went to “unsnap” them, only I couldn’t cause they were halfway up my back! I think I’m joining you in the revolution to own the lumps and bumps! :)

  7. OMG, Bella. This was hysterical! So vivid! I felt like I was in that teeny bathroom and sweating right along with you. Horrific! Hilarious! Hope your sister is reading this. I’ve never worn shapewear, but it reminds me of trying to pee when skiing. For years I wore a one-piece contraption/ski suit with a zillion layers underneath and it was always a nightmare getting it all off and on again in a tiny stall.

    1. Jann, I’m delighted you liked the post! I think my experience would parallel your ski clothes crisis! hee hee! I think it might not have been so hard if the bathroom wouldn’t have been so tiny but that’s the problem with these European w c’s, they’re miniscule! In any case, since I won’t be wearing the shapewear anymore, I don’t think I’ll have to worry about landing myself in these type of little pickles! :)

  8. I had severe abdominal cramps at my brother-in-law’s wedding last year. By the time I got back to our hotel, I thought I was going to have to skip the reception. Then I took off the control-top pantyhose— and shortly thereafter felt MUCH better!

    Shapewear is a tool of Satan!

    1. Patriecemj, hello and welcome! Down with shapewear indeed! Imagine having to drape my clothes over any available surface! Add to that the fact that I’m a germophobe. I seriously don’t know how I got through the night. Oh I know, it was the wine! The wine definitely helped me get through the night! :)

  9. Bella, you had me in splits early in the morning. I was laughing so hard and also feeling your pain of squeezing yourself into that tiny body hugger :) Fantastic and funny post to start my day with, thanks.
    p.s. A big woof to Roxy from Sparky and me :)

    1. Sulekha dearest, first of all, big woof to Sparky and you from little Roxy! I’m so glad you found the post funny! It makes me happy that I was able to set the tone of your day! Thank you for your kinds words, friend. :)

  10. I’m with ya on this, Bella. I’ve only tried the ones for the bottom half. But all it seemed to do was push everything up and out the top like a Roman fountain spewing out somewhere between waist and breast. And NONE of these allow you to go to the bathroom, despite what they try to make you believe. I would rather own the bumps and lumps because they at least tell me that I need to eat better and exercise more. And those two things are much less painful than any Shapewear.

    1. Julie, absolutely! I’ve tried the bottom half ones and since they left me with a muffin top, I discarded them the minute I put them on. At this point, I think shapwear is just a waste of money. It’s time we either accepted our bodies the way they are, or do something to change them. After the shapewear nightmare, I don’t have either the physical or mental energy to change anything, so I’m embracing my lumps and bumps! :)

  11. I’m so sorry you had to go through that, but I sure did get a laugh out of it. My true confession… I have a girdle that I wear with certain cocktail dresses. It always comes off halfway through the evening and winds up in my purse.

    1. Shary, you’ve made me chuckle at the thought of you excusing yourself through a party to remove the girdle! hee hee! You have to wonder why we women do the things we do! Thanks for being empathetic, lady! :)

  12. I always fancied trying some-but now?No,thanks!
    Oh,girl!I’m so sorry you faced such inconvenience-the things we would do for beauty!No shapewear,no,NO!
    Have a great week :)

    1. Sweta, you’re so right, lady. I was just mentioning to Shary that I don’t know why we ladies do what we do. Perhaps it’s all part of our quest to find beauty. However, I’m glad you’re staying away from shapewear! Good for you! I know I’m going to bury mine as soon as I get the chance! :)

    1. Monica, I have a pair of Spanx and I hate it. I think it’s the worst waste of $40 I’ve ever made. Maybe I’m too short or my torso is or maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me I have to embrace my jelly rolls. Who knows. But hey, if i provided you with a laugh, I think it was worth every painful minute. My work here is finished, amiga. :)

  13. Bella, you are TOO funny! I have to admit, I am not a fan of shapewear, although I’ve tried it multiple times before. I may have been getting larger sizes than what was recommended for me, which is why I think they didn’t work. hee hee.

    1. Laura, that’s what my sister said. Actually, her exact words were, “I got it the right size because if it’s a size bigger, it won’t work.” But at least then it wouldn’t have nearly caused a lung puncture, eh Laura? hee hee! I think sit ups might be more effective and less painful. I’m delighted you liked the post! :)

  14. LOL! This really gave me quite a good laugh. I could imagine you fighting off the shapewear in that small room. I remember a friend last week who thought of giving me something like that, too. Good thing I told her I’m sure it wouldn’t fit me.:) Your post lightened a quite exhausting day! Thank you.:)

    1. Yen, I am thrilled to have lightened a heavy day for you! The thought of that makes me smile, so thank you! I really don’t know how the owner uses that bathroom on a daily basis. Although, what am I saying when my bathroom is almost as small? Grief. I think either we need to get smaller, or the bathrooms need to get bigger! :)

  15. Oh….. the promise of looking a size smaller. We all fall for it and we all suffered from it too. Thanks for the laugh! Spanx don’t work either, nothing works! Only Heidi Klum can pop 4 kids out and still looks the way she looked before, so not fair!

    1. Ariana, I think Heidi Klum’s not human! And I’m glad to know I’m not alone on my feelings regarding Spanx. I can’t get them to work for me. The waistband rolls down and they’re a nuisance. You’re perfectly right–nothing works! :)

  16. Dear Bella, you made me laugh to tears!, but, at the same time, you made me feel how awful your shapewear experience was!!!
    I’m a huge fan of comfort!, so I really believe there are some ‘decent clothes’ that make me feel fabulous without restraining my breath, (I know it’s hard to believe, but they exist!!), and I’m always in the hunt of this clothes!!. And I’m also a huge fan of clothes that have an elastic waistband!!!
    besos & risas

    1. Mrs. Allnut, I’ve always said I want to shop in your closet so I’m sure that you have plenty of clothes that would meet my requirements! And I wouldn’t have to wear shapewear to look great in them! I’m thrilled to have provided you with a giggle! :) Besos y risas!

  17. I’ve never even tried one; I like to breathe. :)

    I did try to get myself into some old clothes, now too small for me (say, somewhat tight bermuda pants I used to wear when I was 12), I was 20 or something at the time, I could get into them but not close them, it was quite silly… My mother did a great job then at convincing me I was fat. These days, if someone tried to convince me to wear something that would make me look one size smaller, I’d probably growl at them and wear my comfy cargo pants. :)

    1. Ivana, I think you’re smart to insist wearing your cargo pants. Sometimes the price we pay for beauty is too high. I think we have to be accepting of who we are but of course, that’s easier said than done, right? In any case, the shapewear has been retired. I will not be donating it only because I don’t want someone else to be caught in this type of contraption! :)

  18. Oh, Bella! I thought I was going to pee my pants laughing over that one, because it’s so relatable! I rarely wear shapewear in “real life,” but I’ve worn corsets and girdles on stage that have not only changed my posture and silhouette, but also how I walk, talk, and sing depending on their fit. Too funny, my dear! :-)

    1. Hot Coco, your kind words make me smile. Thank you! You are my hero for wearing those contraption on stage! I would never, and I mean never, be able to pull that off! Although the corset does sound enticing. I mean, who doesn’t want the girls pushed up, eh? hee hee! :)

  19. Ugh – the pros & cons of shape wear. I used to wear it often, it made me feel more comfortable in my clothes until I realized I just needed to become comfortable in my own skin. I still own two pieces of shape wear – just in the rare occasion I should want one. Only one of them is sort of full body (but there is a marvelous opening in the bottom so no complete stripping needed to pee there), and the other just a top portion.

    1. Kirstin, that body suit, the one you own, is what I needed this past weekend! I swear I don’t know why the heck they placed those snaps where they did. Or maybe it’s the size of my rump pushing them all the way back? Oh dear. That might be it! hee hee! Now that I know there’s some like the one you describe, I might be tempted to search one out. Or, I might just follow your inspirational advice of “being comfortable in your own skin.” :)

  20. Bella,
    This is hilarious! I have one of those contraptions too, but I ended up dropping it into the Thursday morning trash pick-up because I wore it one evening and felt like the Michelin Man. I had more ripples than a kid skipping a rock on calm water. A silhouette without lumps and bumps? I’m thinking that term should be associated with Betty Crocker’s famous gravy recipe, not shapewear. Still, that truly made me laugh!

    1. Annie, I am over the moon that you found this funny! Thank you! The Michelin Man? Now that makes me laugh! I think we’re doing the right thing in throwing away the shapewear. I say, good riddance! Life is too short to walk around like an encased sausage! hee hee! :)

  21. I tried one of those things in one occasion and I was so uncomfortable and sub conscious about it (in my head people at the party were all looking at my smaller but weird looking tights) that when I got home I washed it and donated to my Salvation Army store the same week.
    This things are like a high interest credit card, they promised you the heavens and them when you think that you are in control the monthly statement shows up and you see the 25% interest; then you realize that reality is always better than an illusion!

    1. Ofelia, that is a brilliant comparison! Girlfriend, I’m with you! Like the saying says, not everything that shines is gold. And this shapewear is a far cry from anything shiny. Maybe someday they’ll invent something that gathers our rolls in a comfortable but for now, all we have is the spandex contraption. Grief. :)

  22. OMG that was me a few years ago… and after that I vowed never again… I may have the rolls etc but there are better and easier ways of hiding them….
    LOL you had me in fits of laughter..

    1. Savira, I am delighted that I made you laugh! I’m glad you too have discovered that it’s better and easier to hide the lumps and bumps. I think we should start a club or something! The lumps and bumps club! hee hee! :)

  23. I once saw an episode of ‘Emergency!’ when the paramedics were called to the home of a woman who couldn’t breathe. When they got there, she was lying on the floor turning blue. After a quick exam, they discovered that she was wearing ‘shapewear’. Scissors came into play. The garment split up one side and shot across the room. After taking her first real breath, the woman thanked them. When asked how she got the dratted clothing on in the first place she simply said, “Baby oil.” Maybe she was onto something . . .

    1. Diane, why do you think I was looking for scissors in that man’s medicine cabinet? hee hee! Too bad the baby oil would have soaked through my clothes or I would’ve tried that! Perhaps it’s an option for removing it! :) Suffice to say I’m happy I wasn’t in that poor woman’s position. :)

    1. Rachel, I am delighted to have made you laugh! And I’m glad I lived to tell the tale as well! hee hee! Now I wish I knew who invented this contraption! Bali shapewear, I hate you! :)

  24. Hysterical… I’m sure you lost a few pounds pulling and pulling. I tried Spanx ONCE, but I nearly collapsed from the lack of oxygen. I am pretty sure one of my ribs were bruised, too. B- your first mistake was trusting your sister.. Tell me, was she howling with laughter – days after the event? I bet she had to go through with this just so she had something to laugh about all week. Ask her? Sisters!

    1. Brenda, immediately after coming home, I called her and told her what had happened. She assumed the innocent voice and said, “Wow, that’s never happened to me!” Liar! I bet you she was laughing into a towel through our entire conversation! Don’t worry, though. I’m already plotting! :) And yes, if we look at the silver lining, I’m sure I managed to at least burn a substantial amount of calories putting and taking that contraption off!

  25. Oh my, I am in stiches! I like the comment – ‘a tool of Satan’! And Brenda’s comment – what sisters will put us through! I don’t think it’s called shapewear, maybe it is, but I have a onesie that’s not too uncomfortable that I only where with snugger sleeveless dresses. Helps hide the armpit cleavage.
    I’m surprised there wasn’t a lineup of people waiting to use the bathroom. I could totally picture you walking out and past the line carefully blowing the wisps of hair out of your eye. Ha Ha – good job :)
    Hope you had fun though!!

    1. Astra, the Significant Other was ready to send a rescue team for me! Whenever we go out, the man wants to be glued to the hip! I like the term “onesie.” hee hee! It reminds me of the baby ones! And for the record, sweating like a piggy in that bathroom left me with plenty of wisps. Sadly, there was no blowing since they were plastered to my forehead! :)

  26. This is hilarious. While I have not had such a horrible experience as you, I do love my body slimmer and it’s truly amazing how it does make you look smaller. What we do for beauty and a waist!

    1. Leah, you are most definitely going to have to give us the name and brand of your body slimmer! :) Thus far, all the ladies here have not had positive experiences with shapewear and I for one, am dying to know what you’re using! It’s unbelievable what we’ll put ourselves through in order to define our waist and look more attractive. Unbelievable! :)

  27. Bless you woman, for your comedic talent!

    I’ve never tried shapewear, but will admit to similar experiences involving pull-over dresses. You know the fitted kind, with boning and such? Or the ones with zero-stretch fabric, like pure silk? Right. Those. Those dresses that should really come with zippers, or at least with lower price tags.

    Because when me and my linebacker shoulders are wresting into said dresses in some smidge-small fitting room, there have been multiple moments of sheer, half-naked panic, of furious imagined bargaining with the salespeople over why the $$$$ dress is ripped, and how I plan to pay for it.

    I can just see me – one arm akimbo, fabric over my eyes, bottom half exposed – stumbling out of one of those curtained rooms, alas and at a loss. One of these days, it will come to that.

    1. Jayca, and you have me in stitches with this comment! bwhahaha! I have never tried one of those fitted, no stretch dresses but it sounds to me that they’re just as bad, if not worse, than the shapewear. And come with a heftier price tag to boot! I tell you, it’s out fault for falling prey that we should look this way and that way. I’m convinced it’s time for a change. The kind that involves embracing jiggles, belly rolls, and lumps. Holler if you’re with me! :)

  28. Bella,

    You hit it out of the park, hysterical lol. I howled on the toilet at 3AM reading this! You definitely need to get your sister back lol.

    I think we’ve all had these terribly frightening encounters with undergarments that are supposed to make us perfect. I’m convinced that these contraptions are invented by men. Then again, most women will walk over hot coals to look more attractive to capture the right man ;). Sad, sad. If there is one thing I like about getting older it’s the freedom to be yourself. “I am, what I am.” If they don’t like it they can lump it lmao. No pun intended. I don’t do pain and discomfort well so I’ve almost thrown away all such devices but I will say that I still squeeze into my jeans like a 16 year old, so go figure lol.

    1. Oh Coco, howling in the bathroom at 3am–not good, not good at all! hee hee! I’m delighted to have been the reason of such merriment, amiga. I can see you squeezing into jeans like a teen! Does it involve laying on the bed and sucking your gut in? Cause that’s what I do! hee hee! I’m relieved you have done away with the contraptions, that yes, some little man who hated himself and women, invented. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we need to start a lumps and bumps revolution. Burn our shapewear like women who burned their bras back in the day! :)

    2. LOL. You posted it the night OWS was evicted from Zucotti so I was awake and glued to my screen. Now as the Lumps & Bumps revolution, that is definitely one I can get behind ;)

  29. I have never tried shapewear, only cuz if I did, my body would look like the best pear in town! I’m too chubby and pear-shaped already. Your story had me rolling! Awesome.

    1. Four, I think we should leave our hourglass and lovely pear shapes the way nature intended them to be. After all, why mess with a good thing, right? I’m stoked you liked the post! :)

    2. Yayayayayay I am ALL caught up with my comments email! Heheheheh I got a little behind and this is my last one, for the moment. :)

      You are right about leaving our shapes the way nature intended them to be, but sometimes I really, really wish I were my young, 25-year old self again. To think I thought I was fat back then. Sheesh, young girls have no clue what age can do. I’m 53, found an old t-shirt from basic training a while back, looked at it and thought, “NO WAY did I wear that!” It looks so dang tiny to me now. LOL

      Merry Christmas, my friend! I hope you and your family have the best of holidays!

    3. Fourbluehills, thank you! I hope you have a safe and lovely holiday season! And hang on to that t-shirt! It’s part of who you are and how far you’ve come! Thank goodness for loving ourselves just the way we are! :)

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