Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pantyhose is so.........Undead.

In my circle, coming of age meant getting your first pair of "heels" (the Pappagallo patent-leather, bow-adorned 1"-chunky-heeled trainer) and a garter belt. Not a fancy lace-and-ribbon pole dance garter belt. A contraption similar to (but not as colorful as) the rubber band holding the raw asparagus stalks together at the grocery store, with smaller attached rubber bands ending in fabric covered rubber "fleshtone" snaps, the size of kiwis.

It was the '60s, and we were NOT going to wear our mothers' girdles; and The Fashion Designers decided rubber bands were more fashionable so we begged for garter belts. Our mothers knew our skirts were too short and they would ride up and our garters would show, and we were Too Young for Stockings Anyway; but we took vows of modesty and the mothers relented. And we got our garter belts, and stockings in every color of the rainbow (COLORED stockings? Our grandmothers just shook their heads and adjusted their girdles and wondered what was happening to Young People Today) and matching patent leather 1" heels with bows. And our garters showed.

I remember, at age 12, taking the day-long Amtrak Trek from Atlanta to New York City, because we were "School Safety Patrols" and no one had gotten squashed by passing traffic on our watch so we all got to go to see the Empire State Building. My friend, Elizabeth and I shared a hotel room IN NEW YORK CITY with NO ADULT SUPERVISION and found our way to the bus that was taking the myriad unsupervised 12-year-olds to the Empire State Building without incident. It was Easter weekend, and we were going to CHURCH before the ESB (this was a public school trip, go figure) and we were all to wear "dress-up" clothes for a photo and our dose of religion. Every girl had a Jackie O shift dress and matching stockings and Pappagallo patent leather 1" bow pumps. My ensemble was turquoise, Elizabeth's was yellow. We thought it might be rather fun to swap stocking legs, so we each had one yellow and one aqua. You can't tell from the group photo, though; because it is black and white. (I will tell you that the 2 chaperones - for 75 boys and girls - were not amused but had much more serious things to deal with. Like half the crowd who were barfing from the egg salad sandwiches at the Automat the day before.)

It took a very long time to set up for the photo. The tall girls (that would be me) had to sit on the grass in our Jackie O shifts, because our precocious hormone-induced growth spurts caused us to tower dangerously over the boys (and the two chaperones and the photographer.) We tried (without 100% success) to arrange our gangly limbs in proper photo fashion, with garters neatly tucked away. The GrownUps concentrated on arranging the barfing people in the back row where they could barf over their shoulders if necessary. There was a great deal of "Where's Mark? Where's Debbie?" and scurrying to the Central Park bathrooms (for a variety of reasons) and eventually everyone was accounted for and we got the photo. And then we went to church. Sometime between church and the Empire State Building, pantyhose was invented.

Because our mothers complained that our garter belts showed and (I think) found out that Elizabeth and I traded stocking legs.

(And 15 minutes after the invention of Thank God Pantyhose, came the Miniskirt. Which wouldn't have worked so well with the asparagus rubberbands.)

We loved pantyhose. If you had a run in one leg, you could cut the bad leg off and wear it with the "good leg" of another pair. So practical! Our garters never showed. And, as we got older, neither did our varicose veins and sunspots.

And then. Somewhere around the mid 1990s, Famous People like Jennifer Aniston decided that pantyhose were stupid. They stopped wearing them, we stopped wearing them. Except to places our mothers would INSIST that we wear them. Well, everyone but me stopped wearing them. I didn't know about Jennifer Aniston; and, frankly, I didn't go to many places that my mother would insist I wore pantyhose.

Until last week. I was going to a wedding. I went to T.J. Maxx for a new purse, and decided to pick up some Wedding Pantyhose while I was there. Public Service Announcement: There IS NO LONGER a Pantyhose Section at T.J. Maxx. I brought this to the attention of my friends, who knew all about Jennifer Aniston and told me that even The Queen doesn't wear pantyhose anymore. My friend, Penelope, who once bought a REAL Chanel suit worth $3500 off eBay for $600, proving that she has great fashion sense, told me that the only place to get pantyhose now is in those little eggs at the grocery store. I still couldn't imagine a "dressy dress" without them, so I wore an old pair to the wedding, but stood at the front of the venue before the nuptials to conduct a poll. Only three other women had hosiery on. My mother-in-law, and the two grandmothers of the bride. So I went into the bathroom, took them off and threw them away. Panty hose is so dead.

After the wedding I did a little research, because I was feeling extremely old. I had witnessed the birth of the Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread (which, to my knowledge, Jennifer Aniston has not taken a stand on) and then its death.

This is what I found. (On Wikipedia, so it MUST be true)

(I)n the mid-to-late '00s of this century, pantyhose have been appearing once again in fashion and in public, indicating the recurring cycle of couture once again bringing the leg covering back into vogue, especially in the form of thicker, dark tights and shades of black pantyhose. Pantyhose have even made a return to Paris runways and Haute Couture

If you know Jennifer, or T. J. Maxx, please let them know. Pantyhose is now Undead. Like Zombies. Which brings me to the question...are Zombies good or bad?

When we wore stockings, Zombies were extremely scary. Our parents wouldn't let us go to Zombie movies, because we would have nightmares. So we snuck into the movie theaters and watched the Zombie movies (we had friends who worked the popcorn machine. They accidentally left the back door of the theater ajar when they took out the trash; and, while there was no line at the box office there was quite a crowd at the back door.) Then we had nightmares. Now, if we have, for example, a son who thinks Zombies are The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread we can get him this T-shirt. And, we can put this in his Easter basket.

(If you're calling Jennifer about the pantyhose thing, would you ask her opinion on Zombies?)

So, in conclusion (one must always have a concluding paragraph to tie loose ends neatly in a bow. Unless a celebrity and The Queen have concurred that this is no longer necessary, and I have not yet been told.) Jennifer Aniston killed pantyhose. Except for the ones in the plastic eggs. But, just like Zombies, pantyhose aren't really dead. You shouldn't put bunnies in Easter baskets anymore, because Zombies are the new bunnies. If you want to get into the movies for free, befriend the Popcorn Person. And if you take 75 12-year-olds to New York City to see the Empire State Building it would be wise to avoid the egg salad at the Automat.


High Desert Diva said...

Oh...thanks for the morning laugh!

Crystal said...

You are so funny! I hate pantyhose and always will. *shudders*