“Muffin Tops”

I learned something new this week. I thought muffin tops were the top half of a muffin–the part with all the crumbly sweet stuff sprinkled on before baking. I think I’ve even seen them in bakeries–for those who want half the carbs but the half with all the good toppings.

Well, this week my eyes were opened to a whole new meaning for “muffin top.” I was with a friend at a local department store I visited once years ago. I noticed an interesting clothing item in her basket. It looked like what we used to call a tube top. I pulled it out and tried to figure out what it was. It was the color and fabric of lingerie, but not the shape of anything I’d ever seen. It was thick and had structure like corsets of the olden days. There were dozens of hooks and eyes for opening and closing. The tag said “Instant Slimmer Waistnipper.” My friend explained that it was worn around the middle to prevent or hide “muffin tops.” I must have stared at her with question marks in my eyes, so she showed me the one she was wearing right then.

I’ve now learned a whole new definition of muffin tops: it’s the roll of tummy fat that hangs over the top of your pants. It shows when you tuck your shirt in and wear a belt. Those are two things I never do, so I’ve never really paid attention to trying to hide that part of my body from public view. I was fascinated. The sign overhead in this part of the “women’s intimates” section of the store said “shapewear.” I’ve never heard of that. I looked around me and saw all sorts of interesting pieces of clothing, all designed to make women look thinner than they really are.

I remember my mother sometimes wore a girdle. It had hooks to attach panty hose to. I think I once had a girdle too. Maybe when I was in high school almost 40 years ago. I have some memory of the sensation of peeling it off after church and feeling relief.

The clothing items I saw in that department store only remotely resembled a girdle. They were of every possible shape and size, made to cover any number of unsightly body areas. It was fascinating. I just went online to see what they call these muffin top devices. Holy Cow. On this department store’s website, there are 278 different models of “Shapewear.” I had no idea women in today’s world subjected themselves to such torture just for the sake of appearance. I should have guessed.

Here are a few of the names of these modern-day girdle-ish devices: Control top underwear, body suits, thigh slimmers, waist cinchers, butt-boosting shorts, butt padding underwear, firm control full slips, spandex featherweight firmers, body control briefers, shaping torsette full slips, high-waist briefs, seamless slimming tanks, open bust full slips, body shorts, body suits, waist cinchers, and tummy panels. They push up, suck in, and pad out in all the right places–amazing.

ShapewearI’ve been educated. I’m heading back to the bakery.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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