Over the years, I've been operating under the delusion that I would be able to fit in during just about any time period, after some adjustments. I'm a pretty adaptable person, and I read quite a lot of historical fiction. This week has led to an epiphany regarding time travel, however. I will not be visiting the early twentieth century. Why wouldn't I survive what is known as a wonderful decade, full of economic prosperity and growth? The decade of Eisenhower and Happy Days?
Now that my drains are out, I've been asked by the plastic surgeon to wear a girdle to keep my belly incision moving along on the path to healing. And I'm trying to follow doctor's orders. I've worn some forms of shapewear over the years, but mostly for the upper parts of my anatomy. To push up things that wanted to sag, as it were. Since I usually wear pants, I haven't really had a need to wear a girdle.
I was clueless. So very clueless.
In the movies and television shows, women just pop girdles right on, without a second thought or a tug. That's false advertising. I have to fight with what is cutely known as a "hi-waisted panty", because people don't even want to think about the word 'girdle'. I have no idea why that word has such negative connotations! I have such a time even getting my legs into the contraption. Then I have to gyrate madly while pulling this anaconda-skin over my big butt. It ends with me wrestling said garment over my incision, without destroying the gauze packing, until everything is up to bra level. I would have an easier time trying to pull on a wet suit for a trip to the Bahamas. As it is, I look like I'm having a seizure, or dancing some obscure tribal rain dance.(Which might be true--there's rain in the forecast next week!)
And with girdles, I've discovered that the size matters. If the girdle had very firm compression, I have to buy a larger size than expected, otherwise I pass out from lack of oxygen. If the compression is a bit more gentle, I can get by with a smaller size and feel like the petite flower I want to be.
Once the girdle is on?
That is when things start itching underneath the girdle. Itching and sweating. In this situation, you just cannot lightly scratch over the girdle. It's like you're wearing a body cast; only a coat hanger will do. And going to the bathroom presents a challenge as well, since I'm stuck trying to wrestle everything down before I pee my pants, followed by more wrestling to get everything back into place. As someone recovering from surgery, I fail to see how this is therapeutic.
I have to sleep in this contraption, too! For the next six weeks.
That's when I decided that the fifties weren't for me, or any other time when girdles were required. Call me a rampant feminist, but I prefer to breathe the free air unrestricted by the boundaries set by men...and their undergarments.