Freedom Is… Forgetting the Spanx

Outlaw Mama TEARS IT UP at weddings.  Pictured here with her very own Outlaw Papa.

Outlaw Mama sans Spanx. Pictured here with her very own Outlaw Papa.

My therapist used to have a rule for me: no inviting a man to be my date to a wedding unless I had been dating him for six months.  This rule, an effort to educate me on the pacing of a healthy relationship, meant that I went to a lot of weddings solo.  I ate lots of banquet chicken at the “singles” table.

Back then, it was a lot of work to be a wedding guest: picking out the perfect dress, asking about the eligible male guests, and engaging in a thorough beauty routine (which no doubt included eating very light and running very hard for several days prior).  I wanted the single men to covet me, and everyone else to see me and start plotting to set me up with their beloved bachelor friends.

Now, that I am a married woman, however, pre-wedding rituals have been whittled down to one: tracking down my Spanx in my underwear drawer.

But even after finding them beneath the sports and nursing bras, I face a dilemma:  “Am I going to wear it or am I going to be a body-loving, shape-affirming feminist?”

The problem is that I like what Spanx does to my figure—it makes it firm and smooshes down that C-section poof.  It seems like it makes my dress hang better, which makes me somehow feel better in my skin.  But, I recognize it’s self-abuse to wear clothes designed to “snap” my figure into a shape it no longer naturally is. So, it also feels like a failure to peel it off my body at the end of a night.

I have lost precious time to the Spanx debate that ensues in my head before I slip on a cocktail dress.

I know if I asked my therapist, he would support me in having a no-Spanx rule.  But I haven’t brought it up because I want to the leave the door open—the door that will allow me the “freedom” to stuff my giggly parts into a tiny piece of stretchy material that will make it uncomfortable to breathe after I eat that initial bite of salad.

Having a rule would make it so much easier to get dressed before a special, cocktail-y event.  There would be no debate.  I would just wear my mama panties with pride.  Plus, those damn Spanx would quit taking up so much room in my underwear drawer.

But there is something even better than enlisting my therapist to ban Spanx like some Mississippi public school district banning To Kill A Mockingbird.

There is simply forgetting all about Spanx.

There is leaving the debate, along with the wadded up Spanx, back home in the deep recesses of my wonderfully cluttered underwear drawer.

There is dressing in my fanciest mommy panties and going to a wedding to feast on hor d’oeuvres and perfectly butter-creamed cake.

There is dancing with beloved friends to songs I haven’t heard since the Sigma Chi Fall Formal in 1991.

There is so much to remember when I forget my Spanx.

And the mirage that rules offer is a fettered freedom I grasp for when I haven’t truly let go yet.

But, the true freedom that comes from forgetting altogether shows me I already have.

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71 thoughts on “Freedom Is… Forgetting the Spanx

  1. i can’t move past “Heaven– where an ice cream cart rolls out (think Drumsticks) by the dance floor at 10:00 PM, accompanied by warm cookies with a shot of cold milk.” :)

  2. Get rid of the Spanx, girl. Just bullshit marketing preying on your fundamental belief that there’s something wrong with you that isn’t.

    Great pic! You look fab in that red dress!

  3. The night sounded amazing, then you got to the ice cream cart and warm cookies…and it surpassed amazing to spectacular! I love weddings, and I think every married person should have to go to one a year so that we can remember that feeling that sometimes gets forgotten amidst regular life. You know the one….where you look into your husbands eyes and nothing else matters.
    This makes me want to crash a wedding tonight and dance the night away!

  4. I’m guessing spanx would have ruined that fantastic night – just a physical reminder of the after affects of glutony and something else to make you slightly more self conscious on the dance floor! Glad you let it all hang out. I’m jealous. I could use a night that requires a 4 day recovery period!

  5. Miracles abound. Bravo! Loved doing the grapevine and other Jazzercize-inspired dances with you and all the other lovely ladies on the dance floor on Sunday. So. Much. Fun. xoxo

  6. I love the idea of freedom in forgetting. And I love that you forgot your Spanx rather than banned them. Nice post!

    Sometimes I wonder about these “feminist donning clothes and accessories that make me feel good about my appearance in a conventional way (heels, Spanx, push up bras, etc.)” vs. “feminist this is the shape I am and I’m owning it” debates we all have with ourselves. There’s this whole third option of “feminist I’ll wear WTF-ever I want because I want to” thing we need to explore more. Lipstick or lack thereof does not the woman or the feminist make.

    • I agree. I like door #3 which gives me the freedom to do what the fuck I want. Maybe this time no Spanx. Maybe next time I wear a head-to-toe Spanx ensemble. I want my decisions to be a little less fraught.

  7. You are so right. When I look back at the weddings I went to where Spanx were a part of my outfit, what I remember is just being so damn uncomfortable. I remember visits to the ladies room to make sure they were sitting right and that nothing was unattractively hanging over the top or under the bottom, and I remember serious Spanx-induced stomach aches that made it entirely to hard to sit, breath, or perform any other basic human functions. But the weddings where I ditched the Spanx? I remember laughing, smiling, dancing, and eating with nary a visit to the ladies room or stomach ache in sight.

  8. Spanx philosophy – gotta love that. “The mirage that rules offer is a fettered freedom I grasp for when I haven’t truly let go yet.” I like that. It drips with meaning, but is a simple concept to live by. No one notices our “giggly” parts (I like that too) when we’re comfortable in our own skin. If only…

  9. And I think when you forget them is when you really embrace yourself. That feminist ideal doesn’t really want you to be torn between what makes you feel comfortable in a public setting, and I think forgetting the spanx suggests that it’s a way of thought that is becoming more at-home for you.

  10. Well, I have to say you look pretty good in that picture sans spanx. So go ‘head girl, get down, get down. There is actually a “Manx” now, which is meant to hold in a man’s belly. I will never do that, I will just wear my shirt untucked, it’s the new fashion.

  11. I wasn’t even looking at the midsection in that picture. I couldn’t get past the awesome rack!! You have great boobs. And I mean that in a totally un-creepy way.

  12. Girl, I always enjoy your posts! The only thing that I love more than Spanx is breaking it down to early 90s music! We are soul sistas.

  13. I wholeheartedly agree that Spanx keeps women from appreciating, loving and respecting their bodies for what they are. I for one hate every single thing about my body and would love to run around with just my mama panties (well, not JUST, but you know) and be who I am and be OK with that. But I can’t. So I wear the Spanx. Good piece!

  14. I loved this.
    I am not at a place where I would DARE leave the house without my high waisted mom panties on. At 10 months post partum and after 2 pregnancies, I wear those suckers under everything.

    Your post gives me hope about a spanx free life.Thanks for that.

  15. First of all…you look smashing is your sans spanx evening attire shaking things up. I have such a love/hate with them!!! I love the look as I glance in the mirror quickly before I leave the house but the minute we pull out of the driveway, I’m annoyed! The waist band begins to roll and I’m pissed I have them on, slightly self-conscious and pulling up the waist band constantly. There have been a few times where I have taken them off mid-event (I know weird) and stuffed them in a purse (if it was big enough) and thrown them out once. But boy, did I feel great after….so that’s my answer. I shouldn’t put them on. Ever. But I will and be annoyed all over again. New follower from Chicago, BTW.

  16. You just do whatever works for you, what feels best for you. I am back and forth with the spanx. If I’m giving a speech I wear them because, oh my gosh, things need to be smooth with all those eyes on me. If it isn’t about work, then no way. They’re so confining! The best part about wearing spanx is when you get home, free yourself from them, and put on comfy pants. Heaven. It’s all so liberating!

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