Hey, Pantyhosers!

Pls write about pantyhose.

That message was sent to me by Wendy, a new reader of Just Humor Me. It could be a reference to pantyhose crafts, something I think I mentioned in the blog I wrote a few weeks ago about tacky ‘70s handiwork, my sisters’ upcoming visit, and my seventh grade brown corduroy jumper. (If I didn’t mention it, I meant to. There are whole Web sites devoted to pantyhose crafts. Everything you make from pantyhose looks like a homemade Cabbage Patch doll that has cancer and is being treated with chemo, steroids and lots and lots of water. I found mention of a book called More Pantyhose Crafts on the Web site Awful Library Books. I think that says it all.)

Or it could just be that Wendy wants someone to rip the lid off the pantyhose scam of 1924-2006. I’m just the one to do it.

People are starting to not wear pantyhose anymore. Pantyhose are becoming today’s girdles. I used to look at my mom’s girdles (not when she was in them) with such fascination. Why would someone wear this? Because it makes you look thinner. But, but - but, so do enemas, starvation diets and vertical stripes, but that doesn’t mean we should all do those, does it?

Pantyhose don’t make you look thinner. They don’t make you look prettier. Right now, they make you look like you’re living in the Heartland and haven’t picked up a Marie Claire in a while. They do, however, cover up broken veins, rashes, razor nicks and other signs of aging and getting-ready-in-a-hurry. Ergo, wearing pantyhose means you’re old, disorganized and/or square.

I am all of the above. I still wear pantyhose on occasion. When my niece Kim got married a few years ago, I bought a red dress and black shoes, so I got a pair of very sheer black pantyhose to wear with my ensemble. The operative word here is very. While getting out of the car to go into the reception, I “lipped my stocking” (reference for all of you Lost in Translation fans out there) to the point where there was more hole than stocking on my left leg. So upon arriving at the reception, I had to skip the receiving line and go directly into the bathroom and take off the pantyhose, throw them in the trash, and go pantyhoseless for the rest of the festivities.

“I was kind of relying on the control top to make me look a little better in this dress,” I told my niece, Amy, who was in the bathroom stall next to me. I mentioned panty lines.

“That’s why you should just wear a thong,” Amy’s bathroom stall said.

Well, shit, way to make me feel super old now, Amy.

When my first niece got married, my sisters and I spent some time at the open bar keening about the fact that we were THE AUNTS at a wedding.We are too hip and I, for one, was not busty enough to be THE AUNTS at a wedding.

But then less than 10 years later, there I was trying to pull off pantyhose (literally and figuratively) at another niece’s wedding.

If the end is near for pantyhose, then we’re going to have to come up with something else to filter new men in our lives. Now that the walls seem to be crumbling down, I can now reveal that since the early ‘70s we have used pantyhose to screen prospective boyfriends for longterm use. We did it with a simple request: Could you run into the store and get me some pantyhose?

Seemed easy enough, until he got to the store and saw that the possible combinations of pantyhose are like doing a 3-D mathematical grid puzzle that is only successful if you know every intimate thing about your girl and what she’s wearing that night. (Were you paying attention? We’ll see.) Nude, suntan, taupe, coffee, black, white or brown sugar? Sheer elegance, ribbed, silky, active support, shimmer, glimmer or light tights? Sandal foot or reinforced toe? Control top, regular top, sheer-to-waist or I-have-a-child’s-inner-tube-around-my-hips-and-if-you-don’t-like-it-you-can-eat-shit-and-die? Size A, B, C, or Q? (There is a separate table on the back of the package for size, based on your girl’s height and weight. Luckily there are no sizes D through P. Can you handle this? How are you doing?)

He may find the right color, size, with the right toe and the right top, but it’s not the ultra sheer you asked for, but instead the new Body Beautiful Active Smoothers Anti Cellulite and it’s made out of lawn and leaf bags. No cigar. Start over.

If your guy comes home and is wiping away tears and has made several calls to his mom in an effort to get it right, he’s a keeper, no matter what he chose. If he hands you a pair of knee socks, he can hit the road.

Diane Laney Fitzpatrick welcomes comments about pantyhose and other craft materials at diane.laney.fitzpatrick@gmail.com

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