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FLYNN: Medaling in Spanx

Features column

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Hopefully, I am not the only person who didn’t realize the Olympics would be returning in February 2014, this time to Russia where they will play winter games of all shapes and sizes. I still would be clueless were it not for the tiny Olympic logo I noticed in the corner of the television screen the other night.

“Oh, look,” I said out loud. “I guess the Olympics are coming back.”

Only no one was in the room with me at the time except for the dog, and he didn’t seem too surprised at my revelation. I guess he knew already.

Thinking about the Olympics made me try to remember all of the sports they play in winter, like skiing and ice skating and curling and the one where the athletes ski with a rifle strapped to their backs and then stop and shoot at things. Some of them are more fun to watch than others because most times I can’t get past thinking about how cold they must be out there in all that snow, which gets me to thinking about how glad I am that I live in the South where it doesn’t snow all the time. And before I know it I’ve missed a lot of stuff, including half the things the skiing rifle shooter has shot at. And I kind of like that one.

“I think it’s time they came up with some new Olympic sports,” my friend suggested and I shook my head in agreement. “Like running in high heel shoes,” she went on to suggest. “I’d watch that.”

I probably would watch that, too, I decided. Not being a particularly sport person, I would enjoy watching people compete in something that, albeit tricky, I actually do know how to do.

Like putting on Spanx. Nothing defines perseverance and unadulterated physical strength as much as trying to struggle into one of various unyielding torture garments we women (and some men, I understand) subject ourselves to in the name of fitting into our clothes. It takes skill. It takes practice. It takes patience.

Unless, of course, you’re forced to cram yourself into them in mere seconds because you hear footsteps coming down the hall, the door is not locked, and you know at any moment your husband is going to walk in and either (a) see you struggling to encase yourself in spandex like a sausage and never, ever look at you again or (b) think you are having a seizure and call an ambulance.

Now that would be unfortunate.

I learned that particular morning that I can finagle into a pair of Spanx in 4.8 seconds flat and run into the bathroom before the bedroom doorknob even begins to turn. Never mind that I very well may have broken a rib. He hadn’t witnessed that awful scene. Our marriage was safe. The next time he saw me I was fully clothed, smooth and appropriately confined, without a bump or a wrinkle anywhere. So what if there were a good five or 10 pounds squished in there somewhere between vital organs and struggling to break free at any moment, quite possibly out my nose or from under my armpit? I looked good.

Please don’t misunderstand me. We don’t have one of those “I Love Lucy” marriages where there is never talk of things unmentionable. He knows me better than anyone and I like to think the feeling is mutual. We just realize that there are some things better left kept to ourselves — like gravity-defying underwear and the removal of an occasional mustache. Some things should remain a mystery.

Which is why, on second thought, it might not be a great Olympic sport after all. At least not for winter. A bunch of women (and some men, I understand) trying to put on Spanx in all that snow?

Now that would be unfortunate.

Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at flyn1862@bellsouth.net.