I have always been the girl in the group whose goal has been to lose five kilos and who genuinely thinks the world would be a better place if she had arms like Michelle Obama’s. Having that mentality and adding the summer’s “I don’t give a F, I can eat and drink as much as I want without any consequences” attitude, I decided to do something irreversible: buy myself a pair of spanx.
There’s a legendary scene in the sequel of Bridget Jones where she is cursing and panting while desperately trying on spanx in a fitting room. A bit surprisingly, I found myself doing the exact same thing a few weeks back. I was in Tallinn, Estonia with A having a mini break, feeling adventurous and a bit too reckless with my money. A new shopping bag from Zara in one hand and a wallet in the other one, I made the decision to walk into the promised land of underwear in less than five seconds. E had recommended that fake versions of spanx were just as efficient and more affordable (yay!) so I thought I should give those a go first before – possibly – upgrading to the Ivy League later in life.
The underwear department of the particular store wasn’t the most encompassing, but I quickly found the pair I was looking for. If E hadn’t tipped me first, I would have been like a man in a menstrual section – utterly lost. There were dresses and corsets and pants with longer and shorter stomach sections. It is good to know that there are options that suit different body types and occasions. I opted for the “go big or go home” pair that covered the whole of my tummy and booty, starting just below my breasts and ending in my upper thigh. Once I was at it, I might as well do it properly.
While I was walking to the dressing room I went through scenarios in my head. What if I simply couldn’t get them on – or off? Would the dressing room lady silently judge me? Were all the other customers judging me? Was I really taking this next step? I realised it wouldn’t be the biggest to mankind, but in that moment it felt like a giant leap for me. The loudest voice echoing in my head, however, was the judgement towards myself: Am I now a lazy failure who just doesn’t exercise hard enough?
What I discovered, however, was that getting spanx on was almost an exercise itself. Bridget Jones didn’t lie: When I took them out of the packet, my first thought was “I can’t fit into those!”. After groaning a bit and doing some serious mantras “A couple more pulls and then it’s over”, I managed to get them on. I was immediately surprised by how comfortable they felt and how they improved my posture. Somehow they made me want to stand upright and hold my head up high. I don’t know if it was because I couldn’t really bend, but still. I put on the new little black dress I had just bought (see, it wasn’t an unnecessary purchase after all) and admired myself in the mirror. The spanx didn’t necessarily make me look skinnier, but they made me look leaner, more toned, if I may say so. Suddenly I realised what they had done to me: they’d turned me into a woman.
I happily paid the 27 euros and left the store feeling ecstatic. I couldn’t care less what other people were thinking nor did I listen to my own judgemental thoughts. I wanted to stand on top of tables and scream: “I am 20 years old, I own a pair of spanx and I’m proud of it!” For some unthinkable reason, though, I ended up not doing so.
The first appropriate event for me to wear the spanx occurred two weeks after that spontaneous shopping spree. I was wearing a slightly too-tight-from-the-hips dress that would have made me feel self-conscious the entire evening had it not been for the spanx and the unprecedented confidence aura they gave me. I had no need to fix my dress once, I ate all the cake I wanted to and I didn’t feel embarrassed or a tiny bit awkward. Now I am quite sure that spanx are, without a doubt, one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.
Every success story has a down side as well and this one is no exception. I freely admit that I am afraid getting too addicted to the safety and comfort spanx bring me. The decade’s booty queen Kim Kardashian has said that she doesn’t leave the house without wearing spanx and there has also been speculation that she wears them while expecting. That sounds silly to me mostly because if it’s not okay to show your gloriously bloated figure when you’re pregnant, then when? I also think all women should feel 100 per cent comfortable in their own skin and everyone is beautiful, with or without a tummy. I have come to terms with how I look and most of the time I am completely content. However, as a woman myself, I know that some occasions – or dresses – need that special confidence boost and if a pair of spanx can give me that, so be it.