A Recent Encounter with Vanity: Or All’s Well that End’s Well

Jane It was an important event.  I wanted to look thin in my outfit—well, at least thinner!  I’ve put some weight on recently in reaction to stress. (I try to eat stress away and am surprised every time it doesn’t work.)  So, I squeezed into my Spanx, put on my fancy clothes and heels, and headed off to the gathering of nice people, where I was going to speak about my organization and convince them all to become members!

The evening started out fine.  I nibbled on finger foods and drank a glass of wine.  Then, it came time for my talk.  Standing in front of people like that always makes my heart beat a little faster, so nothing seemed out of the ordinary at first.  I simply started talking and thought, any moment now, I’ll hit my stride and feel comfortable.  But the moment didn’t come. And yet I wasn’t really nervous; I simply could not breathe.  My breath was coming in little gasp between words.  I thought maybe I was having a panic attack.  I talked faster, to try to feel more relaxed.  Things just got worse.  I could feel my face getting hot and flushed.

I looked around the room and could tell from their faces that a few of my friends in the room were a little concerned:  this was not my usual presentation mode!  Then, all at once, there seemed to be no air at all left in my lungs for breathing.  The thought crossed my mind that I might be having a heart attack.  I could picture myself collapsing in front of the gathering and being carried out the kitchen door on a stretcher.  I wondered if it might be a stroke. I wondered if my husband would ever forgive me for working so hard that I died on the job.  I prayed that, if it was a stroke, I would die quickly and not linger for years in a vegetative state while my children came for obligatory visits.


Spanx for Men?
Spanx for Men?

Somehow I got through the talk.  Needless to say, it wasn’t the best talk I’ve ever given, but I got through it.  Several board members in the audience helped me along by offering testimonials.  That worried me even more.  I thought to myself, “They can tell I’m dying, and they are taking pity on me!”

I didn’t die.  I didn’t even faint.  But after the whole event was over, I still felt breathless.  So, on my way home, I wondered if I should head to the Emergency Room.  Then I imagined myself dropping dead in a corner of the ER while waiting to be seen.  I could hear my friends reacting to the news:  “Well, no wonder!  I mean, did you see her at the party?  She was a mess!”

I arrived home and decided to change clothes and relax a little and then assess the situation.  In any case, if I was going to go sit in the Emergency Room for five hours, I was not about to go in my fancy clothes and heels!

I took off my heels.

I took off my dress.

And then:  I took off my Spanx.

Ta Dah! The skies opened up!  I could breathe!

As soon as those Spanx loosened their stranglehold on my stomach, I was a new woman.  I wasn’t dying!  I wasn’t Camille!  I was Scarlett O’Hara after the picnic, breathing freely after being released from the horrors of her corset.

I felt like an idiot.

It also cracked me up completely.  All that drama—and I’d done it to myself!  I’d stuffed myself into a sausage casing.  No wonder I couldn’t breathe!  Duh!!!

So, here’s my thought on the whole matter of Spanx or no Spanx, which might as well be described as girdle or no girdle, corset or no corset:  to hell with all of it!  It ain’t worth it!  What in the world were we all thinking to imagine that was a good idea?  I don’t care how I look in my skirt!  I don’t care how many bumps there are.  I am never, ever going through that again!  You don’t see a single man in the universe ever giving up his breath to fit better in a pair of jeans, do you?

Here’s to freedom:  here’s to letting it all hang out!  Say it loud:  I’m fat and I’m proud!

As God is my witness,  I’ll never be breathless again!

5 thoughts on “A Recent Encounter with Vanity: Or All’s Well that End’s Well

  1. And thanks, Katina and Sadhvi, for your comments! Always good to know you’re being read! Katina, I’m with you! Jane

  2. Dear Fat Bottom,
    I love your blog!!! Thanks for this great comment. Our readers need to know about your blog: fatbottomfiftiesgetfierce.com. Check it out, folks! Would you consider contributing a post to our blog? We would love to have one from you! Jane

  3. I could relate all too well! I smoothed on my first pair of Spanx and looked quite spiffy in my knit skirt. 12 hours later I sashayed into my home church, still almost 100 degrees at 7:00 p.m., to donate blood. I didn’t look quite so spiffy coming out. The heat hit me and it was all I could do to make it to my car. When the volunteer nurse who ran over to help started loosening my clothes I made the connection. To make a long story short, there may still be a pair of Spanx in the church parking lot and me and my jiggly bits have no intention of going back for them!

  4. I can remember from seeing my mom squeeze into a girdle back in the 60’s, and saying I would never do that! And I haven’t. So glad you have decided never to use a girdle, or as they are so sexily called these days, Spanx, again.

  5. Really enjoyed your article…could see myself in the same situation …really!!
    What we put ourselves through!! And all those thoughts galloping through our brains!!
    I’ve been in front of 70 or so people, chatting away as I’d done for years and suddenly couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe…and it was a panic attack and it was horrifying….I only had about 5 more minutes but excused myself quickly and ran off the stage
    A month or so later , I could feel another one starting to happen, but this time I told the audience what was going on and they were all so supportive. After 5 minutes, I told them that with their loving support, it had passed and everyone jeered !!
    For me, it was a good lesson to be learned.
    Thank you for a great article

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