Standing in the bedroom, staring at my closet and bathroom counter, pondering the vast array of products specifically designed to improve our self-esteem and increase our confidence by hiding, correcting, fixing, or even eliminating our flaws.
For virtually every un-perfect body part, there are products enthusiastically promising to shove recalcitrant 50+-yr-old bodies backwards in time, so we can look more socially appealing (read: y-o-u-n-g-e-r). With minimal research, we can find products that push up our bosoms, firm our thighs, tighten our buttocks, reduce our cellulite, even our skin tone, shrink our waistlines, de-bloat our bellies, de-puff our eyes, lengthen our lashes, thicken our hair, smooth our wrinkles, plump our lips, and change our hair color from blah to bombshell in just 30 minutes. Wow.
Make no mistake. I am a BIG fan of these products. Being a sucker for anything that promises youthful beauty without having to join a gym or give up Pop Tarts and Cheez-in-a-Can, I tend to whip out my Visa on the first promise (Kenny has an unhackable password on the late-night QVC channel. Wine tends to make me believe anything someone tells me) and I own a dizzying variety. Some work. Some don’t. Here’s my current list of my All-Time Products worthy of commentary:
1. Spanx. Designed to firm and smooth out EVERYTHING from bust to ankles. Our mothers called these “girdles.” Be warned. They only work if you buy a size you can’t get into in less than 20 minutes and you’re prepared to break a sweat. And pee BEFORE. Once up, they’re on for the night.
2. The WonderBra. Shoves the sisters up to THERE, with water inserts to make them realistically bouncy. Works great, until you take it off and he realizes your REAL ones resemble beagle ears. Best to remove this in the dark.
3. The 5-Way Convertible Bra. One bra, 5 different styles, including halter, strapless, and cross-over. Invented by a man whose fantasy woman is obviously a double-jointed circus contortionist. Bought one and spent 1/2 hour trying to figure out the damn straps, another 1/2 hour trying to get it on, then finally threw it out the window into the neighbor’s arborvitae. He’s still confused.
4. DIY Hair Streaking Kits. Never understood this one. You’re PAYING to put white (gray) streaks in your hair that you’ll be PAYING to have removed when you realize you now look like your middle-school librarian (no, not the hot one).
5. Butt Pads. Very few things leave me speechless. Intentionally attaching something to your backside, specifically designed to make it look bigger… Nope, can’t speak.
7. Bosom Max. Promises to “lift and enhance bust size” with an electromagnetic pulse massaging bra. Awesome. The person who buys this probably also bought the Ab Roller and the Shake Weights. I can’t drink enough wine for this one. I’ve tried.
8. Rogaine for Women. After years of bleaching, thought I’d try this, until I read the side effects, which include “Possible extreme weight gain.” SERIOUSLY?? So it not only makes your HAIR thicker, it poofs up your a**?? See #5.
9. Lip Augmentation. Quite possibly the stupidest trend since, well…ever. Channeling Daisy Duck is likely to result in friends and family questioning your decision-making processes on virtually every other issue in your life. Don’t believe me? Ask Lindsay Lohan.
10. “Cleansing” Kits. Raved about by Hollywood celebrities, these teas and tablets promise to “cleanse toxins, reduce water retention, and flatten the tummy.” Our parents called these “laxatives.” Save on shipping. They’re available at any drugstore.
So yes, while it is true that we can alter or even eliminate dang near anything the good Lord gave us, it seems that confidence is best achieved by putting as much distance as possible between how we APPEAR and what we actually LOOK LIKE. Having said that, I’m not quite ready to go natural. Maybe WonderBra could come out with a “PleasantlySurprisedBra”? I’ll take one in Nude and one in Black, please.