WEST COAST SWINGLiving La Vida Lycra

by Joanie Fuller

The July heat will be ON this year at the Phoenix convention where most of us will endure the humiliation of squeezing into bathing suits, stretch pants, and scanty tops made with flat chested pre-teens in mind. With most fabrics containing Lycra, squeezing is more limitless, and seam-explosion less likely. No longer do we see fabrics drape softly over the womanly body, hinting at curvaceous features. These days it takes one glance to determine who’s got lumps ‘n bumps and who doesn’t! Is there any place to hide from this too-tight invasion?

Not only are manufacturers making clothing stretch to the limits, there’s even a new dance shoe with fabric made of Lycra just in case you want to squeeze a few more toes into your size 7’s. Don’t worry they stretch! You can tell, because after removing these shoes, your toe bumps remain. It’s like your own personal identification. Speaking of bumps, it may be fashionable to have big breasts, but it has never been fashionable to have big feet.

In the world of fickle fashion it’s difficult to become complacent with one’s body measurements, or even shoe size. Just when I felt comfortable wearing a size M top, the M’s start resembling Extra Small’s and now I must reach for XL’s just to breathe. At times, I feel like a marshmallow with a rubber band strangling my middle.

With the freedom of middle age, the children gone, and no other ties that bind (except for elastic waistbands), another menacing feature of aging rears its ugly head. The metabolic tornado has arrived. Eeegads, if squeezing into Lycra wasn’t enough, there is no diet in town potent enough to stop those raging hormones, or lack thereof. Heads up! The hormonal ride of your life is in the offing and a victimless crime it is NOT! Hold onto your cotton undies, and hope the elastic has plenty of give!

Not only do moods swing UP, DOWN and SIDEWAYS, so do the surprising statistics on the bathroom scale, some I have never seen in my life! The day has come! All those ravioli dinners have caught up with me, and I can no longer hide behind the Caesar salad simply to placate those who remind us that salad is LIGHT. Does it matter that the caloric content of the dressing is usually equal to or greater than two meatloaf sandwiches? But, it’s SALAD!

Each one of us has an old story about when we fit into a size 3 or 4 or 5, then 6 and 7 and 8, and after that, size becomes a secret. Even then, fabrics weren’t so cling-y. There was a time when nice girls didn’t reveal their speed bumps.

I know that most of us can still fit into the new styles especially when one size fits all, but creative squeeeeeezing is in order. Throwing oneself on the bed and zipping is tough at any age. Trying to stand up renders most zippers totally unforgiving and any room to breathe is considered a luxury. Also, periodic rearrangement of ones lumps has become a must. How humiliating! It’s tough to look down at your belly button and see it staring back at you like a one-eyed ameba.

It’s difficult accepting that your time to shine has passed and that you must revel in "the wonders of cotton." I hated relinquishing my two-piece to the Good Will, and settling for a more sensible swimsuit with a control top. It is simply too defeating. However, I detest that phrase, "I used-to-be." Some will even mortgage their homes to go under the knife, but how much cosmetic surgery does it take to render a person totally unrecognizable? And then, where do you stop? My mother once told me, "you can stretch and pull everything until you’re nipped, tucked, and toned, but you simply cannot hide those wrinkled elbows." Boo, hoo!

What to do? Walk backwards? I believe that if you have a young attitude you should never give up!

So, until I can no longer suck in and squeeze tightly, or pack the overflow into my control top, and until my belly button gets so buried between the creases it cannot be found, I will see you in Phoenix to endure another spectacular, diet-provoking, 4th of July weekend pulling, tugging, and yanking while living La Vida Lycra.