2011-11-09 / Irregular Regulars

Observations from the F.A.R.M. (Fresh Air & Room to Move)

Spandex ain’t for sissies
By Karen Pease

I shouldn’t have done it. I realize it, now.

I purchased some Spandex clothing. It came without instructions. No warning labels. No “How To” directions…

It was a free-for-all.

I waited until the house was empty before entering the fray. In my bedroom, with the door locked, I took my Spandex outfit out of the package.

It wasn’t much bigger than Barbie doll clothes. How could those tiny pieces of black material fit someone my size? I was entering the world of polyurethane-poly-urea copolymer. That tells you right there… Spandex ain’t for sissies. This stuff is used in orthopedic braces. Surgical hose. Wrestling singlets. Heck… Superman, Batman, Captain America and Dolly Parton all wear Spandex. This stuff ain’t for sissies!

By the way, until I began writing this, I didn’t know what a “wrestling singlet” was. Without a doubt, it is the ugliest sports uniform known to man. A wrestling singlet is like wicked tight underpants... with suspenders. Horrific. There’s no way I’d ever put a full-Nelson on a guy in a wrestling singlet. No way.

But back to my Spandex. I shook out the tank top. Sizewise, it was more “Tonka” than “tank,” but I shrugged off my apprehension. I took off my sexy, knee-length sweatshirt. I took a deep breath. It was the last one I was allowed to draw for several minutes. I took that deep breath, and I pulled that Spandex tank top on over my head.

Over my head. Over my shoulders. Arms through the holes on either side.

But there, it stopped. Completely. Rolled up in a tight ring underneath my armpits, it remained. It was a band of rolled steel encircling my shoulder blades and my upper sternum. I couldn’t drop my arms to my sides. The pressure was so bad that the blood stopped flowing to my head. I couldn’t contort myself in any way, shape or form to allow me to unroll the rest of that elasticized straightjacket.

I’m claustrophobic. I could feel panic setting in. I sat down on the edge of my bed, arms straight up in the air— but that was a mistake. For—opposite the bed is a mirror… and the sight of a half-naked overweight woman being cut in two by polyurethane-poly-urea copolymer is not a pleasant or calming sight. I couldn’t get it on… and I couldn’t get it off. I was imprisoned by Spandex.

There was only one course of action. I was reminded of the Spandex-clad Caped Crusader. When Robin asked, “Where’d you get a live fish, Batman?” Batman replied, “The true crime fighter always carries everything he needs in his utility belt, Robin.”

I knew there was a reason why I kept a finely-honed eight-inch buck knife in my night-stand.

As I looked at the cleanly sliced Spandex tank top lying on the bedroom floor, I was not defeated. After all, the exercise pants couldn’t conquer me. I could visualize how I would look in those skin-tight leggings. No longer would I have soft, squishy thighs. Oh, no! I was about to be toned and honed!

I shucked my sexy flannel sweatpants and sat back down on the edge of the bed. I put one leg through and then the other. I drew the Spandex up—much like one would pull on tights, tights that were way tighter than any tights had a right to be. Up over my calves. My knees. My thighs. I laid back on the bed. I broke out in a sweat, because you see... Spandex ain’t for sissies! Not only was I fighting the laws of elasticity, but until I laid down—I had gravity working against me, too.

The “law of elasticity” is called Hooke’s Law—named after a fellow named Robert Hooke—and it states that “the extension of a spring is in direct proportion with the load applied to it.” Therefore, if I wanted that Spandex to stretch up over my hips and my butt, I was gonna have to apply a heck of a load.

Not only was I sweating; I’d commenced with some heavy breathing, too. But by Hooke (or by Crook) I was gonna get those Spandex leotards on!

I rocked back on my shoulders and picked my butt up off the bed, and with one final gasp, tug and spurt of adrenaline, I hauled those babies up over my hips.

I was exhausted. Exhausted, but triumphant. I laid there for a minute and caught my breath, but I couldn’t wait to see what I looked like in Spandex. The mirror beckoned.

And I couldn’t move.

Seriously. I couldn’t move. Could not get off that bed. There was no bending of this body. I couldn’t sit up. Every time I tried to heave myself upright, the laws of elasticity, gravity and constraint conspired against me. It was as if my bed was a magnet and I was a huge iron filing. I didn’t know what to do.

I couldn’t stay there. No way was I going to let Steven come home to find me stuck to the bed. No way was I gonna ask Steven to help get me out of the leggings. Besides, he wouldn’t be able to help me, anyway. The door was locked.

My analytical mind kicked into overdrive. It was time to make the laws of nature work FOR me, for a change, instead of against. With a heroic show of strength and using the laws of leverage to overcome the laws of elasticity, gravity, constraint AND inertia, I rolled myself over onto my stomach and began inching myself backwards across the bed. Off over the side went my feet. My knees. My thighs. And at last, the law of gravity enabled me to bend at the hips. I got my feet underneath me and pushed myself upwards, until at last, dizzy with effort (and lack of air) I was upright.

Victorious, I spun towards the mirror… just in time to watch those Spandex pant-legs roll up on me like windowshades! It appeared as though I had kielbasas wrapped around the top of each of my thighs. Or, better yet—black rubber inner-tubes.

It came to mind then that polyurethane-poly-urea copolymer might actually BE rubber, because I’ll tell you this! When that stuff went whizzing up my legs, rolling along at 36 inches a second, it took with it every hair it came in contact with on its way up. And then some! I discovered I had hair I never even knew about. Hair that I wished I didn’t have. Hair that’s never grown back.

You think waxing is the way to go?


It ain’t for sissies.

Karen, whose column has garnered a number of awards, welcomes your comments and/or questions.

Email her at roomtomove@tds.net. Visit her Web site www.karenbesseypease.com or her blog, Grumbles and Grins, http://karenbesseypease.blogspot.com.

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