Monday, February 8, 2010


Because we women have, for decades, fallen prey to the advertised idea that we must have smooth and perfect legs, we don't feel fully-dressed when wearing dresses, without an undergarment called panty hose.

Yesterday I took a new pair of L'Eggs out of its little cardboard container, and began the arduous task of putting them on. First I pulled them...lengthwise. Then I tugged them along each leg and at the allow them to stretch a bit before attempting to put my foot into them. Ok. I was ready.

I sat on the edge of the tub, with the entire left leg in the palm of my left hand. I inserted my left foot into the toe and gently led the silky, tan fabric up my leg as far as the knee. Then I repeated the process on the right side. Success, so far. No runs. Now there was the continuation process to be dealt with.

Standing up, I attempted to pull the stocking up my thigh on the left leg. Something was wrong.
It was very, very tight...(think tournaquet). The right leg was not quite as tight, but still difficult. I leaned over and plucked the box out of the wastebasket to check the size. Ok. It read the correct size....and according to the chart on the box, it should fit someone thirty pounds heavier and quite a bit taller than my stubby little frame. I tossed the container back into the trash and continued the chore at hand.

I unrolled and pulled upward. I wiggled. I twisted. I yanked. I bent. I marched. I tugged. I pulled and jumped at the same time. I took a deep breath and grunted, all to no avail. Those L'Eggs were NOT going up this time.

I took them off and went to the drawer for another pair, one that's been worn before. I repeated the gyrations and accomplished the feat, feeling like a stuffed sausage, only to discover that there was a huge run from the heel up the back of my calf. I unrolled my second skin and tied a knot in the garment, and slam dunked that baby into the garbage with everything short of a cuss word!

Back to the drawer to find something else. Determining that time for church was rapidly approaching, I chose the 'easy way out'... a pair of knee high trouser socks and went to the closet for my favorite pair of black dress slacks. While pressing the fold line out of the leg where had been hung over a hanger, I thought about how vulnerable and vain we women are about so many things. For years we've worn stockings...why, other than warmth? Why would we subject ourselves to leg coverings and all of the aggravations associated with that?

There were days when there were just the silk stockings with the seams up the back, knotted at the top to keep them up. Then there was the war-time, when silk was precious and too expensive to induldge in, so women put leg make up on their legs, and drew a line up the back of their legs with an eyebrow pencil, to give the appearance of that seam, which would never stay straight! After WWII women wore 'nylons', a sort of 'fake silk'. To keep those things in place, there were lumpy garters, attached to uncomfortable girdles (think tournaquet again.) Following that, there was the garter belt, more comfortable than a girdle, it was a belt of fabric and elastic, with 4 long elastic strips which had a garter attached at the end to keep the stockings up. Often there was not enough tension on the stocking itself, and there would be wrinkles at the ankles, like baggy elephant legs have. To prevent that, someone came up with the idea of panty hose. No girdles, no belts, no lumpy garters. It seems like it would be a brilliant idea, but the agony involved in donning the item makes me wonder if the creator is responsible for inventing the many methods Chinese torture.

Because there is not much alternative, other than wearing slacks to every event I attend, I will once again attempt the wearing of pantyhose. If you want me next Sunday morning, look for me in my Master bathroom. I'll be the one who looks as if she's doing a native ritual dance of the hunt. The grimace on my face will tell you that my role is that of the hunted victim.