68: The Dance of the Deranged Caterpillar

68: The Dance of the Deranged Caterpillar

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls

The Dance of the Deranged Caterpillar

You can always tell a real friend: when you’ve made a fool of yourself he doesn’t feel you’ve done a permanent job.

~Laurence J. Peter

My best friend Adrienne and I have been through it all together. The perils of dating, jobs, breakups, engagements, marriage, kids, family matters, buying our first homes, moving out of town. You know, the usual life and death events that friends of twenty-two years would normally go through. We pride ourselves on always being there for each other.

I had the great privilege of being in the delivery room when she had her first son, my godson. She was the first one (after my husband) with whom I shared the news that I was pregnant. It’s that kind of closeness that we share. But we shared a day even more intimate and close than most friends would ever admit to.

It started like any other typical girls day out. We had a quick lunch at our favorite Italian restaurant on State Street — our usual shared Brie cheese and pear appetizer, two Caesar salads, and iced teas. We had to eat fast, as we didn’t have long before we had to relieve the babysitter of our combined four children.

We decided a quick trip to Macy’s was in order, to peruse the women’s department for some new clothes that would fit our post-baby bodies. After almost breaking into tears because of one too many too-tight pairs of jeans, I put my clothes back on, found Adrienne, and told her I was going to the lingerie section. She gave me a “that’s brave” sort of look, and I headed over. I made my way past the pushup bras, teeny tiny lacy underwear, past the lacy, silky nighties, and over to the back wall. The dreaded Back Wall. It’s where the “granny panties,” girdles, and body shapers are. I had never stopped there before. But times had changed. I was a new mom. I had a new body. I needed a little help.

I reluctantly looked around, and when I was sure the size zero, twenty-something mom in the lacy undies section wasn’t watching me, I grabbed an assortment of not-too-hideous-looking body shapers in an assortment of colors and sizes and dashed into the dressing room. Safe in the privacy of my own dressing room, I looked a little more carefully at the labels. Slimming, miracle lifting, tummy control, butt lifter… which shaper had all of these properties? Of course! The ugliest one of the bunch. A nude-colored contraption made of a rigid non-breathable nylon blend. The medium looked a little small, so I opted to try on the large.

I made a conscious decision not to look in the dressing room mirror until I had the shaper on. As I began to shed my clothes, I started picturing how this miracle shaper would transform my newly acquired mom body into a stunning re-creation of my former self. I would buy it on the spot. I wondered if they even had more colors.

I took the shaper off the hanger and debated for a moment if I should step into it or put it on over my head. I decide to step into it. Was it mismarked? The large seemed a little tight. I kept going. Shapers are supposed to be tight to hold your body in. I inched it up, a little at a time. It was getting hot. Did they turn on the heater in the dressing room? I started to sweat. After what seemed to be an extraordinary amount of time of tugging, tucking, pulling, and sucking it in, I finally got it on. I looked like a stuffed sausage, fat bulging out in all the wrong places, body parts pushed in very strange directions. The heater must have been broken, because it was like a sauna in there. Suddenly, I realized I couldn’t breathe. I had to get it off, and quick! Remembering how long it took to pull it on, I decided to take it off over my head. I crossed my arms, reached for the bottom of the shaper, and started to pull it up over my head. Houston, we have a problem! The shaper was so tight, and I so sweaty, that it had completely stuck to my body… and trapped me in it! My arms were straight up in the air, the shaper wound tightly around my arms, head, and upper torso. I looked like a fat caterpillar half out of her cocoon!

The flailing made me sweat even more, and I still couldn’t breathe. How was I going to get out of this one? I moved and wriggled around trying to get my hands free so I could pull this thing back down. No luck. I didn’t know what to do. New mom hormones still going strong, I started to cry. Just then, I heard Adrienne calling from the front of the dressing room.

“Cres? Are you in there?”

“Yes!” I screamed. “Help!”

She quickly made her way to my room. What a sight poor Adrienne had to endure. There I was, crying, naked from the waist down except for my mom underwear, and the upper half of my body trapped in a shaper! After a moment of silence, she started laughing hysterically! After two moments of silence… I was right there with her. Still trapped and now jumping around and doing the “dance of the deranged caterpillar,” we both laughed until our sides hurt.

She helped me out of the absolutely-not-a-miracle body shaper and left me to get dressed.

We met by the escalator, and when I gave her an embarrassed look, she put her arms up in the air and began to hop around and do the “dance.” I started laughing, and we headed down the escalator, thus putting an end to our not-so-successful shopping trip.

What Adrienne did for me that afternoon — finding me, coming to my rescue, and turning my tears to laughter — is the true definition of a best friend.

~Crescent LoMonaco

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