It’s Saturday afternoon. I’m looking relaxed and enjoying myself, despite the underlying pressure I was hiding from my fellow race-goers.
You see, I’m off to the country picnic races with a handful of girlfriends . A last minute decision to go, clothing crisis, picnic thrown hastily into a basket. My window of opportunity for getting ready – shower, hair, frock, accessories (matching shoes, jewellery and handbag is just so not my thing, sigh) – is quite small and as I peruse the reasonable frock section of my wardrobe, I realise I only really have a choice of two. Bloody midriff.
Yes, I blame my midriff.
Until barely a year ago, my midriff was just your stock standard body area sitting unobtrusively between bosom and pelvis. Not especially trim, taut or terrific, but equally not particularly pudgy, wobbly or disgustrous. Then, last year, it was as if the elastic holding my stomach in was snipped by some prank-playing internal gremlin who invited gravity along for a party. Oh the horror!
It’s been a trauma, I can tell you. Middle-aged spread, too much chocolate, aversion to exercise, my medicinal evening wine. How dare they get all chummy with each other at my expense! It’s almost enough to make me join the gym and give up booze! Still, until absolutely every item of clothing is too tight to wear, that is unlikely to happen. Pffft.
So I quickly establish there are two frock choices for the races. One I had worn out on numerous occasions and the other only once. Trouble is, the only-once selection required a particular colour of shoe, and it appeared those particular shoes had been worn to country picnic races last November and clearly had never been looked at since (seriously – are they flecks of horse poo on that pale pink leather???) and the other selection was a clingy number that would show every bump, lump and dimple fighting for attention in the midriff area.
Time is ticking. Suddenly I remember that somewhere in the undies drawer was a pair of big girl pants – the type that suck and tuck everything out of sight for just this sort of emergency.
I’m saved! I can disguise the horror and wear the clingmeister – sorted!
I grab the big girl pants and dash to the shower for a quick splash. My ride is about twenty minutes away, it’s going to be close. I step out of the shower, dry off and step into the BGP. Then I made my first mistake. Without thinking through the process, I just reef those buggars up my legs. Instead of sliding smoothly up over my skin to the required position, they rolled, broke a fingernail and stopped midway up my thighs.
Concentrating on one leg at a time, I pulled up on one side, only to have the roll of latexy, rubbery fabric pull ever more tightly halfway over my right butt cheek. I may have sworn. Grabbing at the other side, I managed to at least pull them up to the same point of no return, so tight no purchase could be made with fingers to get the things up OR down.
I was trapped in my big girl pants in the bathroom with the clock ticking ever onward.
Apparently my big girl pants were tired of being so big, and trying to live out their dream of being a bikini bottom. Shame they didn’t decide to do that while they were sitting in the back of the undies drawer, and not while they were strangling my lower body. Starting to think I’d have to call for scissors to escape them, I managed to finally snag a finger under the fabric and bit by bit, unravel the pants to their full height, sitting snugly under my bra.
I slipped the dress on and took a sideways look in the mirror – yep, that would do. However my tribulations made me realise that, in true Cinderella fashion, the magic working on my meaty midriff had an expiry date and I would almost certainly have to make a run home from the races the minute my bladder called for attention. There was NO WAY I could manage to get them up again after a few champers, and in those cubicles, without doing myself an injury or ending up in the social pages for all the wrong reasons.
So I told my fellow racegoers when they arrived to collect me scant moments later, much to their amusement. As it was, I almost forgot I was wearing a stretchy instrument of torture as I backed a couple of winners, enjoyed a picnic in the shade, sipped on champagne and chatted and laughed through the afternoon. And shortly after the last race, I packed the picnic away and informed the ladies it was either time to go or one of them needed to accompany me to the loo.
And you know, while we wisely decided to head home at a respectable hour, I know that if it came to it, and I needed their help to get those suckers back on or cut them loose or whatever – despite the horror, and in spite of them laughing so hard we’d probably all fall down in a heap – I know those gorgeous girls would probably have pulled up their own big girl pants to help this Cinderella get home, glass slippers, ahem, intact.