Monday, June 11, 2012

One size

One size fits all.  Yeah, not so much.  The Halloween costume and lingerie manufacturers eventually figured that out, and now they use the phrase “one size fits most.”  An improvement, but nope, still not true.  See, about half of the women in the U.S. are a size 14 and up, and in my experience, size 14 is approximately when those “one size” things stop fitting.  So no.  One size fits half.  Oh wait, some women are probably thin enough, but too tall or short to fit in those sparkly novelty stockings or whatever.  Actually, then, one size probably only fits a minority of women. 

So imagine my skepticism when a size 0 friend told me that I should buy her favorite panties, because they were one size fits all. 

Hanky pankies.  A cotton thong with uber-stretchy lace on the sides.  Do you guys know how hard it is to find cotton thongs in plus sizes?  Let me tell you.  It’s hard.  You can get them at Lane Bryant, but not always.  You used to be able to get them at Macy’s, but not recently.  Microfiber or nylon thongs?  Sure, you can find those anywhere.  But not cotton.  I feel pretty strongly about cotton, or rather, a certain part of my anatomy feels strongly about it.  (Note to self:  Stop writing about hoo-hah on blog.)  If you have a secret source of plus size cotton thongs, please let me know!

So there I was, in the waiting area of my kids’ dance studio, listening to the other moms go on about Hanky Pankies.  These thin, triathlon-racing women swore that the very panties they were wearing would fit me.  Apparently the saleslady at Nordstrom bonded with them about how comfortable Hanky Pankies were, and she was bigger than me.  In order to convince me of their superior comfort, they used the phrase, “They’re like butter for your butt.”  I refrained from replying that my butt had clearly already had more than enough butter.

But never one to turn down a possible new source of cotton thongs, I went to Nordstrom online and looked them up.  One size fits 4-14.  Sigh.  Well, I can’t complain about that.  That is precise and descriptive, much better than saying “most.”  Good politics, Hanky Panky, but sadly, I fall outside that size range.  B-b-but, the sales lady.  What about her?  Oh, they make a plus size line!  Awesome! 

But not in cotton.

Are you effing kidding me? 

I’m not that far outside the recommended range, so I bought a pair.  I tried them on.  They fit.  Kind of.  I mean, they fit around me.  And they also fit around a size 0 woman who once put her phone in her lap and had it slip through the crack between her thighs, because her knees touch before her thighs do even when she is sitting down.  They fit around her and they fit around me.  That’s a pretty impressive feat of underpants engineering right there.  But sadly, they will not be my new go-to thong. 

In my pre-twins body, which was actually one clothing size larger than the body I have now, I think they would have fit and looked cute.  But see, there’s this skin issue.  Y’all have seen me in a bikini, and you think you know, but you don’t know.  Hidden in those bikini bottoms, camouflaged by forgiving black or eye-tricked by a contrasting band, is the skin that was left after two babies lived in me at the same time.  Twin skin, it’s called.  Not everyone gets it.  But I did.  And regular-size Hanky Pankies don’t hide it.  The front triangle is too narrow.  I’m not all about hiding my body, or even necessarily hiding my flaws, but that twin skin is the thing I struggle with the most.  I can (almost) be OK with it when I’m naked, but I don’t need a pair of what should be sexy panties drawing attention to it.  So no butter for my size 16 butt, I guess.

Overall, I’m pretty at one with my body.  I think that unconditional body love is an important part of my message to the world.  I wear a bikini in public partly as my own little subversive act, pushing back against the predominant aesthetic we are fed about what is beautiful.  In putting this message out to other people, it has sunk in for me more deeply.  I do believe I am beautiful.


Just like anyone else, I struggle with body image.  Of course I do.  I don’t have some magic pill or potion that makes me immune to self-criticism and comparison and all of the other effed up things we do to ourselves.  I struggle with my weight, with aging, with the hanging skin left over from my pregnancy.   Self-love and self-acceptance are not a goal you reach one day, or at least that hasn’t been my journey.  They are, instead, values that I aim for.  Some days, I’m there.  Some days, not.  The messages of body hate are constant and plentiful in the world, so for me at least, loving my body requires mindfulness every day. 

And let me tell you, nothing makes me feel worse about my body than not being able to find stuff that fits.  A cotton thong.  It really shouldn’t be that difficult.  I am not that much larger than the average American woman.  I’m one clothing size larger than average.  That’s it.  I should be able to get some cute panties that show off my fabulous booty and don’t give me a yeast infection.  The fact that I can’t makes me angry. 

But it also feeds the tiny voice inside that tells me that maybe I shouldn’t be wearing a thong.  At my size.

I hate that voice.  Please excuse my language, but fuck that voice.

One size does not fit all.  True of panties, as it is of life.  Beauty comes in all sizes.  I wish that cotton thongs did too.

[Updated to add that Gap makes a cotton thong and I recently discovered that they carry some of their colors in up to XXL.  And the XXL is big.  If you're generally on the fence between XL and XXL, the XL will definitely fit.  I think the XXL would fit up to a 3X pants size at least.  So if you've come here looking for a secret source, try the Gap!  Boring colors only (black, white, nude), but if you're a size 16 or 18, the XL's will probably fit you, in which case you can get the cute stuff.]

No comments:

Post a Comment