Shapewear: Friend or Foe?

Shapewear: Friend or Foe?

The other day after a great and sweaty workout in a class at my local gym, I was quick to hit the locker room and get going on my day.  I was fascinated, however, by the locker room shenanigans of a woman who’d just been sweating in class next to me.  She was going through quite a bit of post workout acrobatics, but these groovy little moves were of no real exercise value.  In fact, what she was trying to do was slither (rather awkwardly) into a tight girdle, or I guess if I am being politically correct by today’s standards, I would say “a piece of shapewear.”

I immediately thought to myself that yes, indeed spring has sprung and it is that most wonderful time of the year when as the temperatures go up, the clothes come off.  All that skin exposure can be a wonderful thing if you are ready for it; in those cases when you’re not; well it seems that it can be downright stressful.

Anyway, back to the locker room.  After somehow successfully managing to wriggle her way into the knee length, waist high, beige-toned piece of shape wear…well, I’ll be darned if this woman wasn’t going back for more fun.  Watching out of the corner of my eye (and as shocked as I was, not wanting to stare) I noticed that gym girl was indeed now putting on piece of shapewear number two!  What kind of self-torture was this?  I had actually heard of women wearing two bras to give themselves a huge lift in the cleavage department, but wearing two girdles (excuse me, shapers) was a completely new concept to me.  In fact, in addition to sounding incredibly uncomfortable, I wondered if there were any potential health risks involved in doing this.  I’m not sure how she was breathing; and her girly parts surely weren’t faring much better, in fact, the whole scenario looked like a bladder infection in the making.

Women have been using contraptions to reshape their bodies for centuries.  Corsets have been around for thousands of years and heaven only knows that women have done all sorts of atrocious things to their breasts over the years to get them pointing in the right direction–from flattening them out to make them boyishly disappear, to boosting them up and out to the point of overflowing.  Corsets of old were no easy piece of lingerie to endure, either.  Women were known to faint from having a corset on way too tight, and some gals were even known to carry smelling salts on their person “just in case” they passed out from an overly tight corset.  Since breathing was difficult, I’m guessing sitting or walking was probably a herculean feat as well.  Corset abuse has been proven to cause all sorts of health concerns over the years, from gastrointestinal problems to breathing issues and even general muscle atrophy.  When women abandoned the general use of a corset for serious function rather than just fashion, they likely did themselves a huge favor.

As for the woman I saw struggling to get all her shapewear/gear on so she could go about her day–I could only feel a twinge of sadness that she felt all that so necessary.  Centuries of women have come and gone and still nary a satisfied one amongst them–are we all destined to be obsessed with wanting a body that nature just didn’t intend for us to have?  It seems that even common sense and good health aren’t enough of a reason to stop the madness.  Lingerie can and should enhance your feminine assets; that’s the point.  But when the shaping, contorting, squishing or binding becomes painful or even torturous, perhaps your underwear routine needs a second look.

Bedpost Scoreboard: He’s a Stud, You’re Just Easy

Bedpost ScoreboardRemember that movie from a few years ago called, “What’s Your Number?” Ally, (Anna Faris) agonizingly looks back on the twenty men she’s slept with during her life, taking some heat from her friends who now warn her that because of her high number, the odds of finding a good guy who will actually want to marry her are becoming stacked against her.  Whether this reality is fair or not, the truth of the matter is, there is an unwritten social policy out there.  What’s good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander.  It seems that although sexually skanky behavior might be something that is high-fived or even applauded in a man’s world, this kind of sexual prowess, when equated to females is still frowned upon by many; including that man you might actually want to have for your very own.  Even in our modern world, girls who have slept around often find themselves being judged.  Why the inequality? Aren’t girls allowed to have fun, too?

The truth is, there is a huge double standard out there.  Men are almost expected to be sexually experienced; in fact, most women seem to prefer men that know what they are doing in the bedroom.  Men however, are a different breed and when it comes to the past sexual experience of the woman a man may be dating, she who has a very vast bedroom repertoire can be viewed more negatively, at least when it comes to being potential “wife material”.  Many men do tend to get wrapped up in a woman’s “number” (meaning the number of sexual partners she has had) and if it’s above his personal threshold of what he’s comfortable dealing with, well, that girl might be history.  The number is likely somewhat arbitrary and what it can be does depend on the man—but you can bet that most guys have an idea in their head of what they can live with, and what they can’t.

AskMen.com did a very comprehensive survey in 2013, asking men about how they felt about this somewhat touchy subject. 39% of the males surveyed indicated that they would be bothered if a woman they were in a relationship with had had 10 or more past sexual partners.  Nine percent of the men surveyed indicated that they would be upset about her having more than just one other past sexual partner. The interesting part of this is that according to the 2013 Annual Men’s and Women’s Health sex survey, of the men who responded, 35% indicated they preferred their potential lovers had 3 or less past sexual partners, yet all of these men had more sexual partners than this amount themselves, obviously creating a big double standard.  As archaic as this notion may seem, it seems that in many circles, men are still valued for their sexual proclivity while women are valued more for their perceived naïveté and purity, particularly by men who may be considering these women for any potentially long term relationships.

Because of all these harsh realities in the dating world, women have been known to conveniently begin to disregard, completely discount, or just “not count” various sexual partners that have little, if any significance in the big picture because they know that once their personal “number” starts getting into the double digits, whether she likes it or not, she may be negatively judged.  Nobody likes to mislead or tell big white lies at the beginning of a relationship, but the truth is, not many men want to be with a woman who they perceive as being overly easy, either.  The biggest part of all this conflicting information is the notion that men seem to have that although they think they want this almost innocent virgin, once she is his girlfriend, the woman is then somehow expected to become this complete sex maniac.  In fact, most men would say this is highly encouraged.  And they say women are confusing!! There’s no point in crying over spilt milk, but if you’ve had a few one-night-stand’s too many, it could be time to consider a new strategy.  

Springtime: Can Love Really Be In The Air?

Love Is In The Air!With wintertime rapidly melting away into spring, the signs of warmer weather are everywhere.  Can warmer weather also equate to feelings of love?  British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson famously mused, “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” Lord T’s commentary obviously then begs the question, “Is there a real connection between springtime and romance?”

Scientifically speaking, warmer weather does generally make us feel better and this is because of an increased exposure to sunlight.  Longer days, a generally better climate and an upswing of contact with Mr. Sun all naturally will put us in a better mood.  It does stand to reason that being in a better mood would make one more susceptible to romance…but is there any real scientific evidence to support this?

Rumors and folklore about supposed cases of spring fever have been around for hundreds of years, and believe it or not, there does seem to be some legitimacy to its existence.  A case of spring fever has shown to include symptoms such as increased heart rate, a flushed face, a tendency to daydream and a dramatic improvement in energy level.  All these symptoms do indeed seem to be directly correlated to better weather!  Even the most mundane tasks (such as spring cleaning) seem less daunting and far less overwhelming in the springtime.  What is going on here?  Is the change of seasons really that powerful?

According to Helen Fischer, a Rutgers neuroscientist, the culprit at play here is likely a brain chemical called dopamine.  Dopamine is naturally made in your brain, but in the springtime your dopamine levels naturally rise.  Dopamine makes your brain crave new experiences and since springtime is filled with all things new, this also triggers more dopamine production in your brain, thus making you susceptible to other new experiences, not limited to but certainly including love!  “There’s so much novelty in the spring,” said Fisher.  “There is so much more color, new smells, people take their clothes off and you can see more of them. And so there are a lot of new stimuli that trigger the brain and drive up dopamine, and make you more susceptible to love.”

Looking for love?  Springtime just might be the time to find it.  Use the freshness, vibrancy and newness of the spring and world around you as inspiration to find love.  Spend more time outside and participate in more outdoor activities.  Be active.  Look for opportunities you may have been missing.  Smile at someone you don’t know that looks interesting.  Strike up a conversation with that new guy at work.

Already in a relationship?  Springtime is the perfect time to fall in love all over again and rekindle those feelings of romance that may need some attention and nurturing.  Hold hands.  Go on a romantic date.  Break out of your day-to-day routine and try something new and adventurous together.  Invest in some sexy new lingerie pieces that are sure to spice up your sex life. 

Now is the time to take advantage of springtime and all that it has to offer you and your relationship.  Can love really be in the air?  Perhaps it can be.

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