Enhancing the Derrière

In August, everybody should wear just muumuus – and that’s it. Well, maybe underpants, in case a stiff wind whips up or we step on a sidewalk grate like Marilyn Monroe.

But nothing else; it’s too hot.

My mother-in-law, Ms. Larda, says if I’m complaining now, I should’ve grown up before air conditioning. She says that also happened to be the Golden Age of Underclothes, when all the underclothes tycoons amassed their fortunes. Not only did ladies wear bras, but they also wriggled themselves into girdles and slips and garter belts (which held up their stockings until somebody invented panty hose).

She says they bought it all in the “foundations” departments of Maison Blanche or Holmes’ or Krauss’.

They didn’t mean “foundation” as in a brick house, but as in the foundation of your fashionable outfit, she says.

The support beam of your foundation – your load-bearing wall – was your girdle, which you would not leave the house without, because somebody might notice that you jiggled. The girdle made use of the principle of squooshing to rearrange your fat from where people could see it – on your stomach or your backside – to where they couldn’t – up under your bra, which in those days, was covered by a blouse that bloused instead of a clingy T-shirt.

Finally, everybody had had enough, and young girls started setting their bras on fire. They took them off first, of course, and held them on a stick over a fire, like marshmallows, and got their pictures in the papers. Ms. Larda says she remembers exactly which of her friends did that, back in the day, because now they got very low-slung bosoms.

But there was no stopping the underwear revolution. Pretty soon everybody trashed their girdles, slipped out of their slips and ripped off their panty hose. And finally everybody was comfortable, even if they did bulge out a little here and there, Ms. Larda says.

But it was too good to last.

Girdles have snuck back. They got a new name: shapewear. I am looking at a magazine at the beauty salon and I see the ads: Spanx, Miraclesuit, Not Your Grandmother’s Girdle. They all do what your grandmother’s girdle did: squoosh your fat. But there are some that do more. There is the “Leonisa Magic Benefit Derrière Enhancing Panty.” For true. That is the real name. And I want one.

I got to explain. I am so skinny, I never needed no shapewear. Give me a padded bra and I’m good to go. I used to feel kind of smug about that.

Then my gentleman friend Lust bought me some gorgeous leopard-skin pants, kind of tight. He wants me to wear them to a salsa party they’re going to have in his bar, the Sloth Lounge. I don’t know why I got to wear special pants to eat chip dip, but I get out the pants and try them on in front of the mirror. They look great in front. Then I twist around for a back view and I see the seat of these pants is hanging loose. I ask my daughter Gladiola about it, and she hems and haws, and finally says I had a very nice shape except around back where I don’t got enough for these pants.

So maybe I need enhancing panties. Or even “Booty Pops,” which actually got pads back there, according to their ad.
I made the mistake of telling Ms. Larda about them, and she says why pay good money? She sews for a living, and this might be her chance to start a whole new product line: Gunch Buns.

The next week, she presents me with her Gunch Buns. She stuffed them with some Dr. Scholl’s gel pads to get that natural feel, and somehow she got them shaped like buns. No need for a special panty – just position them in the seat of your leopard-skin pants and they’ll perk it right up, she says. Well, they do. Plus the pants are tight enough to hold them in place. They even feel good when I sit down – kind of bouncy.

Lust smiles all over his face when I strut in wearing my new pants, and he gives my buns a little pat. I don’t see no chip dip, but the music is real lively so we start dancing, and even though we don’t know the exact moves we just do what everybody is doing until we get the hang of it.

Finally we take a little break and sit down. And I realize I don’t feel no bounce. I try to feel around discretely, sliding my hands under me, but I wiggle around so much that Lust asks me if I’m all right. I ain’t about to tell him I can’t find my buns with both hands.

I excuse myself to the restroom. Since I don’t know where my backside is, exactly, I got to sidle along with my back to the wall. I smile and give Lust a little fingerwave as I back through the door. Very romantic.

I immediately see the problem in the mirror. The pant legs were too tight to let my buns slither down while I danced, so they scooched up my back. I now look like the hunchback of Notre Dame.

What saves me is my pashmina – that big scarf that you can wear like a shawl. I stuff one into my purse whenever I go out in case I get cold. So I shove my buns down where they belong, then tie this scarf real tight around my waist, and let it drape down in back in case my buns decide to go wandering off again.

Like Lust says, that’s one way to cover your assets.

When I get home, I find that magazine and send off for the Leonisa Magic Benefit Derrière Enhancing Panty.

Some things you should leave to the professionals.

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