It seems that every generation of women has owned a garment that is supposed to help eliminate bulges, bumps and all manner of obvious lumps. Well, now, a new generation of fat flatteners has emerged. You can buy one of these Spanx items for almost every part of your body.

It seems that every generation of women has owned a garment that is supposed to help eliminate bulges, bumps and all manner of obvious lumps.


My grandmother wore a corset. I used to help her pull together both sides and snap it shut. I remember struggling with it as if I were reeling in a large tuna. I would encourage her to simply wear a bra, but she was adamant that it made her back feel good and made her figure look more youthful.


I used to wince when she took it off because it left a series of depressions that resembled train tracks.


My mother wore a girdle. I never understood how she got it on, because it looked like it might fit a toddler. But I guess that was the whole idea. Once you got it on, which could take years off your life, you looked like you were smaller. Again, marks from the girdle were imprinted on her body when it came off. I tried it on once and thought, “I will never, ever wear this crazy thing as long as I live!”


Well, we all know that many of our resolutions can change over time, and once I had a baby, I, too, felt the need to purchase something to flatten my belly.


At that time in history, there was something called a “living girdle.” Once you put it on, it was as if it died, because when you took it off, it had a rather peculiar odor. You had to powder the inside and then wiggle your way into it. In order to get through the day, you had to carry an oxygen tank, because breathing became almost impossible. I finally threw it away.


Well, now, a new generation of fat flatteners has emerged. You can buy one of these Spanx items for almost every part of your body. They recently came out with one that addresses the front and the back like a suit of armor. I tried on the pantyhose with the control top, because if anything is “out of control” it’s my stomach. I walked around the house a few minutes and ripped them off. The relief I felt was immediate. I knew at that moment that I was meant to have it “all hang out.”


Let’s face it, all these undergarments that promise miracle results lose their miraculous possibilities once you take them off. Perhaps working out and eating less might just be more of a miracle.


Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Mass. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth 02360, send e-mail to getalife@lorettalaroche.com, visit the Web site at www.stressed.com or call toll-free 800-99-TADAH (82324).