God, I wish I could wear stuff like this - my mother says it was as uncomfortable as hell, but oh, everyone had a figure then.
Just look at it! This is a marvel of engineering. The snaps and hooks and elastic are something else. So much force is required to mold me, or you, or almost anyone into that perfect shape. Suspension bridges have nothing on breasts and bellies; engineering schools should have courses on women’s undergarments. Maybe they do and I just took all the wrong classes.
I never liked the word. Girdle. I understand you can gird your loins before battle, but really, what do you do when you gird? It’s one of those nouns turned into a verb made more feminine by the -le on the end. Now when we gird our bellies and breasts, it’s with body shapers, certainly a better name and less painful to wear, but those slick shadows don’t have the same allure as elastic and snaps, metal and straps.
Oh, those straps, like an octopus reaching down to grab soft silk stockings, shaped like legs themselves with a seam to draw the eye up and down. The delicate stitching along the sides, a zig-zag cartography molding hills into plains and flaring out over hips like a sudden curve in a road. Cups like reassuring hands, lifting what is or what isn’t there into high fairy tale pillows that no woman has ever really had but we all pretend we did, pillows that have no relation to their real purpose or shape.
Of course, if a woman is to be this beautiful, she can’t breath or bend. To touch her is to touch a hard surface, not warm skin and soft fat over muscle and bone, nor the hints of strength and possibility in her own body, but a construction designed for looking, not touching. And god forbid one piece of rubber or metal goes awry; you could lose a limb as it goes tearing out of your clothing.
But, oh, to be a goddess from afar for a few hours, untouchable and unattainable. Gasping. Fainting. Perfect.
(c)2011 Laura S. Packer
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