It’s strange isn’t it, how memories are triggered?
The other day I was talking to my friend at work, about our battles with weight. In the six or so years we’ve known each other, we’ve both dieted a few times, with some success and some failure. I’ve often said that our office makes us fat, because there are around 16 people, birthdays happen around 16 times a year – now that’s a surprise. Each one of those means a cake day, and regular visits from outside agencies like auditors, also bring cake, chocolates, biscuits or all three. At Christmas, the quantity is obscene and it lives on a table at my end of the room! I can resist some of it, but home-made cake beats me. And there are occasional fund raising days where the more charitable slave away over a hot stove, so that we can indulge while feeling generous.
So, the lovely M was browsing the internet during her lunch break, looking rather pleased with herself. She’s a bit of a minx and I asked her what mischief she was making. ‘I’ve just ordered something’ she said, ‘to sort this out’ she rubbed her midriff, ‘I’ve got to do something about this bulge’.
I laughed and she went on to say that she’d ordered a corset. ‘Ooo-er, a saucy little number for Valentines? With laces?’I asked.
‘Na, here it is’, she took out her phone, ‘I’ll lose weight with this one’. The photo was a bizarre looking thing that seemed to be in two pieces, a tight bit underneath a vest shape bit.
‘What are you on about, lose weight, it’ll just squash up your insides, just like Spanx, really uncomfortable’ I said.
‘It’s supposed to make me sweat because it’s tight, and that will make me lose weight’. Now M is always hot, I’ll have a chunky jumper on top of a vest, with a scarf around my neck and shoulders, while I’m sat at my desk, and she’ll be in a thin sleeveless blouse. I reminded her that she suffers from the heat as it is.
And then the half-formed memory burst out.
When I was a little girl my grandmother was a bit plump, as ladies of a certain age often are. The best grandmothers are plumptious, but mine was quite short, so couldn’t get away with it as well as some. I remember her ordering herself a rather expensive corset, that was also supposed to help her lose weight, by making her sweat. Funny how things go around. It arrived from the Traffords mail order catalogue, and she was so excited when she opened it. Made of skin coloured rubber, rather like swimming caps were made from, and with hooks and eyes that I had to help her do up. It was incredibly tight, but she hoped for a miracle.
She had a few of these corsets
, they had a tendency to tear, and she would get very angry and curse the manufacturers for selling ‘a pig in a poke’.
She did lose weight sometimes, I remember her grapefruit diet, but invariably she regained it, as do I and my friend M.
It’s easy to lose, easier to regain and I hope my memory made you smile.