Monday, February 05, 2007


Who knew their significance? Pantyhose, or stockings as we called them, were a part of a my life from eighth grade on. I liked them at first--they made me feel grown-up. But then, after a while, the shortcomings of living in a small town and having your stockings bought at a grocery store by a mother who refused to spend more than a buck fifty on them became apparent.

My stockings were always in one of two wrong places--bunched at my ankles, as cheap ones are wont to do (I hated those damned Brown Sugar ones) or mid-thigh, because they didn't tend to sell stockings for the plus-sized woman at grocery stores. My mother would say, "Just put on your girdle. It'll hold 'em up." Only, just as she was frugal in the pantyhose department, my mom wasn't spending a lot on foundation garments. So my little cheap girdle would either start rolling down with the stockings or the stockings would win from the start as the girdle refused to come up. In either case, I'd end up with hose torn in the seat and down the thighs. The next Sunday, my mother would grumble and complain as she had to dash to the grocery store for more.

Even when I got a bit older and started venturing to Wal-Marts in neighboring towns for the Just My Size and finally to Lane Bryant, my travails continued. Who made those colors for them? I was not quite pecan, tan, coffee, or new brown. So, I either came out with the too-light ones that we called "old lady" stockings or the too dark ones that were equally unappealing.

And I was hard on pantyhose. No matter what I did, how careful I was, they ran. Like a world-class sprinter. That clear nail polish bit never worked for me. All I'd get were sticky white patches on my leg where I hastily applied it.

So, it made perfect sense to me to give them up. One day, I just stopped buying them. I'll still buy tights when it's cold or to match something, but hose? Nuh-uh. Besides, I like the feel and color of my legs. And, when I'm not thinking about how abysmally knock-kneed I am, I'm pretty happy.

My family had fits. My mom and Trinity, no great surprise as they are old-fashioned. But even my sister raised a brow at my new refusal to wear stockings to church. According to my mother, going bare-legged was akin to going with your head uncovered on the first Sunday. If I'm getting dressed before she leaves, she still says, "Oh... you're not wearing stockings?" In that voice that pretends to be asking an innocent question but is, in reality, making a judgment. Trinity simply says, "Girl, I don't know what you're going to do when you get a real job," again, in a voice that's masked as joking.

They also express concern: "Don't your legs get cold?" "You're going to be sick!" (As if my skirts are all that short). And when that doesn't work, my mom resorts to a little shaming--"You gon' have the wind whipping all up in your tail," to which I responded in an aggravated fit one time,

"Mm-hmm. It feels good!"


Evanne Lorraine said...

Panty hose were invented by the devil to make women suffer. :)But how entertaining you make them.

Gwyneth Bolton said...

"Mm-hmm. It feels good!"

Girl! You made me spit out my water. And you know how high a bottle of water is from these dang machines on campus! I need every drop to partially get my money's worth...

Anyway, that real job one gets me every time. Even with tenure and a pretty decent pay check, my sister is still convinced I don't "really" work.

And that "New Brown" color hose from Lane Bryant? Lawd, those things make me look like I'm wearing my grandma's stockings. I just stick to "Off Black." But I may just get brave and give them up like you. Although you live in a nicer climate. I don't think that Syracuse cold as heck wind whipping through my tail would feel as good. LOL. Great post!

Anonymous said...

"Mm-hmm. It feels good!"


i personally loved the trick i was taught when i got a waitress gig at a jazz club where everything was black: dress, hose, shoes. if you ran one leg, which i have a wicked habit of doing (I'm hard on them, too), then when you ran another, you could cut off the side with the run. then, wear both. I do NOT kid -- coz that was back in the day when you could find black hose at a place like Walmart or, as with today, at a big supermarket. youcould only find them in dept stores or order them through catablogs. They cost a fortune at the time and, as waitresses, we really couldn't afford it.

anyway, thanks for the hilarious story. i have been spoiled, working from home for nearly 8 years now. I don't have to wear anything at all. :)

Anonymous said...

i slipped with : "catablogs."

what an ass i am. i need glasses!

(also, you couldn't find them in cheap stores like walmart, coz there wasn't a walmart yet :o -- they were only in dept. stores.)

Anonymous said...

Oh Elle! You had me laughing! I have hated pantyhose all my life. Besides the fact that they do not make a pair to match my skin tone, they just feel nasty to me. Pantyhosed thighes rubbing together is like nails on a chalkboard to me. I can't take it! I tried to wear them when I got my first "real" job out of college...but damn that! I just wear slacks and pant-suits when it's cold or a skirt that goes past my knees with a pair of knee-high boots. It's worked fine so far at all of me "real" jobs!

Pantyhose are the "debil".

Anonymous said...

Gwyneth wrote:

"I don't think that Syracuse cold as heck wind whipping through my tail would feel as good. LOL. Great post!"

Oh! you're at Syracuse? Where? Where? My old stomping grounds. And you got that right about stockings -- better yet, tights are always good. (Sad, but true, I live in FL now but I miss the winters. *sigh*)

elle said...

hey evanne!

off-black for me too, back in the day. the LB pantyhose are thick, too. not sheer. though part of the problem may be that i sorta like the thick ones--so out of vogue.

bf texas, i forgot about the thigh whispers! i hate that!

qd i love you--since i don't have my computer at home, i can't access your site! the library has it blocked: Forbidden
You don't have permission to access / on this server.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Can i get around that?

RageyOne said...

Amen. Amen. Amen.

What a great post Elle and I totally agree with some of your points. I think pantyhose are eveil. LOL! Colors are never quite right for my skin tone and finding the right size is just about impossible.

Funny thing is, I wore a pair yesterday, probably the first time in years, and the looked horrible! I so prefer to wear slacks in the winter time because of my dislike of pantyhose.

One thing I love about living in the south is the short winter months. Because as soon as it warms up I am all about wearing skirts with sandals ~ no pantyhose!

RageyOne said...

One other thing, I dislike the notion of having to wear pantyhose to the J-O-B. I believe a woman can look professional without pantyhose.

Gwyneth Bolton said...

@ Queer Dewd

I'm in the Women's Studies Program and Writing Program at SU

Courtney said...

Bane of my existence. BANE, I tellya! At the opposite end of the pigmentation scale, I always had the problem of either "tan" (granny?) or nurse's-uniform-white. Neither of which was very flattering.

Tights are far better.

Anonymous said...


i'm sorry. other people have written to tell me about the access denied thing. when i checked to see if it's the spamulators, it's not. i have no idea what the problem is and haven't had a chance to work on it.

Anonymous said...

glad you have your computer back, though!

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