I'm Giving Up Shape Wear, Because Life's Too Short For Your Undergarments To Suffocate You

by Colleen Dilthey Thomas

Guys, gals, nonbinary pals, my darling husband, and the women in the public bathrooms where the spandex struggle is real: I am giving up shape wear … for good. Bold statement? Yes, but I am done with it. I simply can’t do it anymore. I am tired of sucking it all in. The days of coming home from a night out with crease marks across my body that rival my stretch marks from a ten-pound baby? It is fucking over! If you don’t like the way my real body looks, too damn bad.

Here’s the thing. I have been wearing something to hide my body since I was in high school. You know, when I weighed 100 pounds soaking wet and had nothing to shape up. I remember walking to Target, alone so no one knew, and buying my first girdle. Think your grandmother circa 1955. Yeah, it was that kind of shit. I have had terrible body image forever and have been hiding. But what exactly am I hiding from? That, I am not so sure about.

Because let’s be honest. When I, a 42-year-old mother of four, am out to dinner with my husband, is anyone looking at me? No. Am I trying to attract a man? Absolutely not! Do I care what other women think of my body? Nope, not anymore. Sure, there was a time when that stuff would really bother me. I am just not there anymore. I have too many other things to worry about than whether or not my stomach looks flat and my butt doesn’t. Who really gives a fuck about my body? No one!

Do I think that shape wear serves a purpose? Sure I do. I loved it when I was newly postpartum and needed a little self-esteem boost. It was great when I was squeezing into a pair of pants that I hadn’t worn in a while and wanted to look sleek. But the last time I had on a pair of Spanx, they were so uncomfortable I legit thought that I was going to throw up. Were they the wrong size? Perhaps. User error? Maybe. Did I go to the bathroom, take them off, throw them in my purse, and go back to the table? You bet your ass I did.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do keep buying into diet culture and unrealistic expectations of our bodies? Stop it, OK? Just stop it! You don’t have to squeeze yourself like a sausage into a spandex wonder suit to be beautiful. There is no reason to crash diet, take pills, or buy into these crazy MLM schemes that prey upon you to make you feel bad and then take your money. It’s all just so disgusting.

Do you love to wear leggings? What about a pair of jeans? Maybe a dress or pencil skirt? You know you can do that without stretchy armor underneath, right? You can wear regular old underwear. Hell, you can go commando if you want to! You do you, boo. Just be comfortable. Don’t try to change who you are to meet some superficial standards.

And for fuck’s sake, please don’t alter what your body looks like to please a significant other. If they are shallow enough to expect you to meet their standards of beauty, you can certainly do better. You owe it to yourself to be better! No one can say they love you in one sentence and then turn around with a, “but, you look better in Spanx.” Fuck that noise.

I am not coming at this epiphany with the same body that I had as a high schooler with poor self-esteem and pretty nice curves. Uh, no. This sucker has gone through a transformation. Do you remember me telling you about that ten-pound baby? Yeah, that’ll do it to you. But you know what? My husband still finds me attractive because I am the mother of his children and that’s what made my body different. That is the kind of love that I want. He couldn’t give a fuck if I wear shape wear. As a matter of fact, he is looking forward to date night when he doesn’t have to pull those suckers up to my mid back because I can’t reach. Again, that is true love.

In addition to doing this for myself, I have a daughter that I have to protect. She is only five, but she is impressionable. She sees me in various stages of being undressed, but she doesn’t see other women. My body is what she knows as an adult woman’s body. I want her to love and respect her body, so I am going to do a better job of loving mine.

In the 1960s they burned bras. In the 2020s, I am going to take a torch to hundreds of dollars worth of suck-me-ins. Actually, let me rethink that. I mean, that is some super flammable shit and I live in the burbs. I can’t be responsible for burning down the neighborhood. Maybe I will ceremoniously bury them in the back yard. Because right now, it is all dead to me.

Next time you see me at Target with my belly peeking over my waistline and my ass looking flat as a pancake, know that I am fancy free and feeling good. I will no longer be stopping in that lingerie department unless I am grabbing myself a package of Hanes microfiber briefs with two extra pairs for free. And I buy that shit at least one size too big too make up for all of the years that it was two sizes too tight. Life is way too short for letting shape wear suffocate you. Instead, let it all hang out while you enjoy dessert on your next date night! You deserve it and you are worth it.