Women have long known about the slimming effects of sculpted underwear. Many a celebrity, wanting to look perfect on the red carpet in that haute couture gown, has pulled on a pair of Spanx or something similar to keep any unsightly bulges at bay. Now men are discovering it could work for them too.
This week I read with much amusement that at Debenhams, the UK department store, sales of men’s body sculpting t-shirts have risen by 317 per cent with men’s lifting-pants up 238 per cent.
From tummy tightening pants to t-shirts that promise to make those man boobs disappear, men seemingly can’t get enough them. But who is really being deceived – the audience or the wearer?
Having never been overweight myself, I've never had to consider wearing something that would squash or squeeze away any wobbly bits. But even if all those cakes, portions of fish and chips or pints of beer that I love so much took their toll on my waistline I am not sure I would even dream of donning a tummy flattening t-shirt or a pair of male Spanx.
I know how uncomfortable a pair of skinny jeans can be, that restricted feeling you get when everything is squashed to within an inch of its life, so I can only imagine what it would feel like to wear something like this tummy belt, pictured below.
Do these items really make people feel any better about themselves? Do they stand in front of the mirror and say, ‘I look so much slimmer/more muscular’, and as a result feel more confident/attractive?
To me these items are really just fair-weather friends that will desert the person when they need them most.
So you’ve got your magic pants and tummy tucking t-shirt on, gone out on that date and its all going well so far. You decide to carry things on back at your place. A glass of wine later and you move into the bedroom.
What about when it's all taken off and discarded on the floor, what happens when it all comes lolloping out? Does the body anxiety just come back again, right at that crucial moment? Is the other person thinking, ‘whoa, where did all that come from? Maybe you're just thinking, 'yes I've pulled!'
Surely nothing can beat actually having a flat stomache, rather than just appearing to have one with a few layers of clothes on? Has looking good on the outside become the most important thing?
The website for male Spanx shows buff looking men, with barely any fat on them whatsoever and who hardly appear to need Spanx before or after. A fat person is never going to look like this by slipping them on.
I am certainly not sizeist, people are free to be the weight they choose, but if they are not happy about their size, is squeezing everything into a pair of uncomfortable looking stretchy underwear really the best answer?
There was a time when people would turn to healthy eating and exercise in a bid to loose those extra few pounds. Now it seems, in our desire for instant gratification, it just takes too long.
So will we see gym memberships cancelled, diets out of the window and a nation of people just buying the next size up when they can no longer squeeze themselves into those miracle pants? And if so, in the long-run who will it really be kidding?
Dirtycowgirl has posted a really funny response to this post on her blog, which you can find here or go to http://dirtycowgirl.blogspot.com/2011/02/this-post-is-in-response-to.html. Check it out and let us both know what you think.