Misery Loves Hosiery

Misery Loves Hosiery*

© by Catherine Lawrence

She was rushing to get dressed for an important business meeting. Last stop, the hosiery drawer. She pulled on what she thought was a pair of elegant stockings. Aaaargh! No feet! Who would design hosiery with no toes in them?
     I had just begun articling, and was charged with delivering a legal document, by hand, to Ottawa. To commemorate my recent graduation, my parents had given me beautiful, new, leather, lawyer's brief case complete with my initials. I had only the one document so I placed it in the case - along with as much pantyhose as I could carry. I was feeling pretty important as I strutted proudly through the lobby of the Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa. Then the catch on my case opened and, voila! Pantyhose all over the lobby. In this case She Stooped to Cover! Misery Loves Hosiery!
     Did you know you need a PhD to buy hosiery for women? There should be a course called Hosiery 101. This would not be a course for men. It would be for women only. Let's just look at the names of some of the hosiery available today.
     And there it is!
Les Transparents
     Why wear them?
Elegance Tonique
     Does that mean it's a drink? I'll take lime with that.
Estate Sera
     Que sera sera?
     To what? Maybe Prozac is the solution.
Petites Points
     For ballet dancers only?
Two-Timin' Tights
     Hello? Reversible.
     Need I say more?
     Have you ever read the product descriptions on hosiery packages? One claims their hosiery "tones and invigorates" with "acti-massage," and that wearing these stockings will "massage your legs from toe to waist with medium compression." (Who needs men…and you can even put them away in a drawer?) "This massaging action encourages circulation and helps prevent fatigue." How about headaches, parenting, or mental breakdown?
     Another hosiery package labeled Zarah urges you to "adopt the pinstripe look. (In five languages) Illusive authentic belt buckles keep a firm grip around the thigh." Illusive authentic belt buckles? Isn't that a bit uncomfortable - belt buckles around your thighs? Are these cross-promoted with "genuine fake watches." But then the whole thing becomes clear. "Everything is just an illusion," says the blurb. Yes, everything about this hosiery is an illusion. It's an illusion that I'm going to get these things on without my finger going through them!
     One word that appears frequently in the literature is "control." What woman isn't looking for control? We don't want "control top" or "control thigh." We want TOTAL control. What are the chances we'll get it from a pair of stockings?
     I also love the words that describe how stockings feel when you wear them. They keep talking about "magic touch", "satin touch", or "sensual touch." How about Don't Touch!

     Snagged . . .
     Women who are serious about protecting their hosiery investment (most designer hosiery is $30 to $50 a pair) have to think about living like Bubble Boy, with a bottle of clear nail polish immediately at hand, not to plug leaks, but to stop snags as they occur. (WARNING LABEL: Using clear nail polish to stop snags may require skin grafts. Do not sniff.) Everything becomes a potential snag as enjoyment slowly slips from your life. It's warfare where runs are the enemy. It's worse than the plague. Even rings can cause runs. You can't pass a doorway without a potential snag. Velcro is not your friend. God forbid you should get caught in a crowd! You need to be ready for all kinds of maneuvers, not unlike Navy Seals.
     In some senses buying hosiery is worse than taking a personality test. With a personality test, all you have to do is rate yourself on a scale of one to ten for things like loving kindness, caring, sense of humor, ability to stick to it.
     However, once you've decided you're going to spend an hour picking out hosiery you need a hosiery Sherpa to guide you through the mountain of products, and you must understand you may not even be successful. (At least with a personality test you come up with a score that tells you you've passed or failed.) In picking hosiery you have to find yourself on the body grid of life. It's like Battleships - just another grid.
     Latitude and longitude. Lat means fat.
     How tall are you? Do you stoop?
     How fat are you? Not very, but I modeled for Ruebens.
     How broad are you? In the broadest sense of the word.
     Are you in category 1, 2, 3, 4, or - wait for it - XL.
     You need to know your height, in meters or centimeters, feet or inches, your weight in kilos or pounds. If they could manage it designers would have us measure and weigh our legs.
     Even the dictionary completely bails on us with a definition. "Hose or stockings of any kind," say the sages. (Those dictionary guys know better than to get caught in that feminine trap!) See hose at Firehall.
     Once upon a time the most decision-making you needed was color or 'with or without a cotton gusset.' Those were the days! Then came Lycra and everything changed.
     And what's up with this marketing gag about "Gentlemen prefer Hanes?"
     Have you met Hanes? She hasn't shaved in weeks.
     Can they walk around on their own?
     You don't even need a leg to put in them.
     You hold them up and look at them and see rolls and rolls of nylon around your ankles.
     Wearing them requires you to have Elephantiasis.
     When you get them on you look like you have basset-hound ankles and Cupcake is nagging, "Aren't you ready yet???"

     Then there was the 50s look with the seams up the back
     Give me a break!
     I used to wind up with seams corkscrewed right around my legs. My kids would mistake me for a Maypole.
     Even so, you're still going for the whole 50's look?
     So keep trying to hold your calf in a straight line.
     Is your calf straight? No. It's rounded and crooked.
     Misery Loves Hosiery.

     "A close fitting covering for the foot and part of the leg."
     That would be the issue.
     Which part of the leg? You can get hosiery in knee-high, thigh-high, or the full Monty.
     Once upon a time nylons were nylons, and everyone knew what they were.
     Today the challenges are unbelievable!
     Did you know that stockings come with sheer toes or no toes?
     The no-toes types are called sandal toes.
     Who would want to wear nylons with sandals?
     Am I missing something?

     Do you know what nylons are made of?
     "Any of a class of thermoplastic polyamides capable of extrusion when molten into fibers . . . of extreme toughness, strength, and elasticity, synthesized by the interaction of a dicarboxylic acid with diamine; used for yarn, as for hosiery." Is that clear now?
     This really is rocket science. You really do need a degree.
     Hosiery should not be on the shelves without warning labels.
     Hosiery manufacturers have a duty to inform the feminine public that if the attachment between your big toe and the one next to it ever breaks you are in the path of grave danger. You should also know that if you didn't take the time to shave your legs, the action of the break causes the whole stocking to snap up like a blind. I speak from experience.

     Other adjectives used to describe nylons:
     Sheer agony.

     And what about color?
     I challenge you to show me the difference between Desert Sand and Camel Vomit. Nude? How about nothing at all!

     And fit
     You can hold up a pair of nylons and they look beautiful. A pair of shapely hosiery. A work of art. I dare you to put them on. They don't fit any leg I grew.
     As a result, I have shrunk my nylon season.

     Women of the World Unite! The time has come to cut the cord.
     Take back your legs. We burned our brassieres. Why didn't we do it to nylons? Reason: nylons only melt. See also Rocket Science.

     The Divine Vow of the Ha Ha Sisterhood
     I, Catherine, vow to get to every Canadian Thanksgiving without wearing any hosiery at all. I have a dream to withstand icicles on my follicles. Canadian Women, grow out your hair! See Hockey Moms. Stay warm! Collect Hair Miles!
     Or maybe just do what my doctor recommended: take a hosiery leave of absence and run away to Tahiti like French painter Paul Gaugin. Those Tahitian babes didn't suffer from hosiery issues. Dentistry, yes! Hosiery, no! (see Operation Drake).

     Misery Loves Hosiery! You can tell a lot about a woman from her hosiery.

*Throughout this article these words can be used interchangeably.