Friday, 13 November 2009

So tight, you squeak when you walk...

It must have been a man that came up with the idea of tights. A bitter, twisted man. With a special talent for sadism.

There's no other explanation for the trials and tribulations we submit ourselves to every time we feel the need to cover up our leggy imperfections with a sheer layer of unforgiving nylon in attractive shades of "Sable", "Capuccino" and the ubiquitous "American Tan".

If nothing else prepares women for the challenges, disappointments and pain of life, the daily routine of putting on a pair of tights certainly does.

You open up the pack, and hold up something that looks like two lengths of empty sausage skin joined at the top with a series of reinforced bands, intrusive seams and tortuous control panels.
It looks big enough to fit an anorexic Barbie doll - at a stretch.

Undaunted, you go through the ritual your mother handed down to you all those years ago. You insert your arms into the legs and stretch the nylon to something approaching human dimensions. If you're lucky, you won't snag the delicate fabric with your nails, rings or dry knuckles in the process.

That done, you're ready for a sit-down. You know what's ahead, and the very thought has you breaking out in a cold sweat.

Sitting there in their underwear, in the morning chill, and without the benefit of your first shot of caffeine, you're feeling pretty vulnerable. But you screw up your courage and get on with it. Carefully gathering each tube of nylon onto your hand, you ease it onto your legs and wiggle it upwards....
Blocking out the pain of the torniquette forming round your knee or groin, you soldier on.

Pantyhose MANufacturers (again, there's a man in the formula) must think most women are the height of your average Oompla-Loompla. If you're not, this is where you'll encounter the first major humiliation of the day.
The crotch of your tights will reach exactly 2 inches above your knees, making you look and walk like a penguin with special needs. You tug and pull, jiggle and wriggle, and eventually you reach the mid-thigh region. That's a far as it will go. You slap an extra pair of knickers on over the top of your tights to bring them closer to where they should be (maybe that explains Superman?), and try to ignore the rub of gusset seams against the delicate blubber of your inner thighs.

Red of face, with sweat oozing out of your scalp, you congratulate yourself on "mission accomplished" and reach for your skirt or dress.

And then... you spot a ladder working its way relentlessly the full length of your legs. As you watch, motionless, it grows like the popcorn in a microwave into a series of gaping holes spanned by a few strands of nylon cutting into the sweaty, throbbing flesh splurging through.

Cue desperate rifling through undies drawer for a replacement. And the whole thing starts over again.

Even if you do manage to get your tights on without incident, by lunchtime you'll be nursing a red welt round your waist (or worse, around the lower hip-line) and the sore tingling where the sensitive skin or your inner thighs is oozing through the weave like boiled spuds in a potato masher.

And before you say it - don't.
Stockings are just as bad. The truth is most of us girls only ever wear them when we want to... get some action. Any other time, friction burns on our naked loins and cutting off your circulation with elasticated hold-ups just aren't worth it.

So why, I wonder, would ANY man want to subject themselves to the same agony and humiliation that we put ourselves through every time we fancy a break from our trusty trousers?

The truth is, most blokes I know wouldn't.
Phew, that's a relief! The sight of the men in my life in the top of the range of M&S's control top hosiery is not one I am impatient to see.
That's why I'm still trying to get my head around the news of a range of 'mantyhose' being tipped as the next Big Thing in Men's Fashion this winter. (Tell you one thing, mate. Once you wrestle your tackle into the vice-like grip of elasticated nylon, it'll be anything BUT a Big Thing!)

I'm sure there will be an elite group of metrosexuals who will give it a go, cheerfully trotting off to Selfridges for their supply. I just don't think they'll be making a return trip to replace the first lot of shredded nylon in a hurry.

Face it boys, the only men that look good in tights are Robin Hood and his Merry Men, Nureyev and a few superheroes...

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