Monday, December 7, 2009

Does Spanx mean the end of the sexual revolution?

When I was in college in 1958 my dad made a comment that my generation was the worst generation ever, meaning primarily morals and music. It’s a statement most dads have probably made to sons over the millennia. My retort was, “well what about the Roaring Twenties, bathtub gin and petting parties?” After denials of his involvement in any of that, this line of conversation ceased.

Those who came of age in the fifties lived through what is now considered one of the tamest times since the Victorian era. It was the age of Doris Day, hula hoops, and dancing the jitterbug. It was the heyday of the Catholic Legion of Decency, and airbrushed body parts in Playboy center spreads.

But most of all it was the age of the girdle. Young women with great shapes felt they had to improve on Mother Nature’s perfection. The ultimate development of the girdle was the panty girdle, the modern day equivalent of the chastity belt. A gentleman caller knew instantly from a gentle pat on the fanny that the best he could hope for was a gentle kiss goodnight.

All that changed in the sixties and seventies. The boomers burned their bras and shed their girdles. Bras had a revival simply because of gravity and inevitable natural aging but the girdle went the way of the buggy whip. However the lady boomers who thought modern diets and Jane Fonda workouts would keep them forever looking 18, found fat deposits still wanted to migrate from their top parts to their tummies and rear ends.

In 2000 the mother of necessity answered the need and Spanx was invented. Now you can’t call it a girdle, it wouldn’t sell. It is a development of panty hose with a super duty fabric. And it is spreading to a younger generation. But it has its drawbacks as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Before Jessica Kraus put on a tight-fitting frock one recent evening, she wriggled into a $76 piece of flesh-toned underwear that extended from the bottom of her bra to mid-thigh. She felt confident and svelte as she left her apartment to meet friends for cocktails. Then a few hours later, the 25-year-old Boston event planner was faced with what she says was a "horrific situation." As she was embracing a man she had met that night, Ms. Kraus got to thinking about what lurked beneath her sleek exterior. "There's no graceful way of taking the thing off," she says.

The world has come full circle. Will this dampen the sexual revolution? It’s doubtful anything can. And I hope not.

13 comments:

jayemarr said...

No, but it might make me start carrying a pair of scissors. ;)

MichaelTom said...

Maybe that explains why the women in those old movies would also say, "let me get into some more comfortable," and come back ready to play. I never realized. She was getting out of her girdle.

submandave said...

Michael, your connection reminded me of a girl I met back in 1987, when complicated triple-loop-across-the-hip-between-the-legs belts were fashionable. When she came back from the bathroom with the damn thing missing I knew the game was afoot.

Bildo said...

I went to high school in 1970. My experience was, if you got her girdle off, you win.

td said...

At a certain point grace ceases to be an issue.....

John M. Potter said...

wow- fast mover and I'm trying to refrain from saying anything else regarding- well, not even a first date.

JohnnyI said...

The right tool makes any job easy.
http://twitpic.com/s3ocw

Wacky Hermit said...

In the 18th century noblewomen wore several complicated layers of corsets, panniers, skirts, petticoats, bodices that were pinned on with actual straight pins, powdered wigs a couple of feet tall, and other excesses of fashion. And for some reason none of them seemed to have any trouble sleeping with each other's husbands on a more or less regular basis.

Fiftyville said...

Reminds me of the old joke where he says "If I'd known you were a virgin, I would have taken longer" and she replied "If I had known you were going to take longer, I would have taken off my pantyhose first."

miriam said...

Spanx are awful; wearing them is torture.

I never wore a girdle, but my mother did. As she walked in the door, she slipped it off and heaved a sigh of relief.

Patrick said...

Hello!

How about those uplift bras that promise suffocation and deliver less than a handful?!?!?!!!!

If the Wermacht had this technology in 1943, we'd never have invaded France.

Just sayin'

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

Thank goodness Spanx modified their design and added an opening down there.... ;)

I love your idea that Spanx might bring about a new sort of chastity or even modesty in the 2000s, but I doubt it. There will always be bathrooms available to slip into and 'freshen up' i. [Cue The Devil's Horseback music and frantic peeling off of Spanx and stuffing into pockets or purses....]

Fat Man said...

AIDS didn't