Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Whatever Happened to Spandex?

I've been thinking a lot about spandex lately. I'm not sure why.

And whenever I think about spandex, which, until recently, was pretty much never, this image comes to mind:

For those of you who were not into 1970s - 1980s sci-fi, it's a picture of the actress Erin Gray in the role of Col. Wilma Deering, from the movie and then series "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century."

If you had ever watched the series (which I did, regularly), which ran from 1979 - 1981, or glimpsed the various versions of "Star Trek" or other sci-fi shows airing in the 1980s and 1990s (guilty), you would know that spandex was the fabric of the future. (A future, of course, envisioned by a bunch of horny fortysomething guys.)

Per the description of spandex I just read on Wikipedia, the stuff is stronger and more durable than rubber. (Who knew?) And it is one of the most used materials in lingerie. (Again, who knew? Clearly, I have not been reading those little tags in my bras and panties.)

Btw, I encourage everyone reading this to click on the link above to view the image of "spandex" shown in the Wikipedia article and tell me what you think that is. I'm stumped (though have a couple of ideas.)

All I know, from personal experience (when I was 16 my mother bought me a purple spandex dress from Fiorucci, which had a front zipper lined on either side with golden nailheads), is the stuff makes you look (and feel) like a sausage stuffed into a too tight casing. And I think Tabitha, who I believe saw me in the dress, will back me up on this. Of course at the time, I thought I looked hot. Though that could have been because the damn dress made me sweat a lot.

My less than satisfying spandex experiences aside, the stuff is apparently here to stay, and is more popular than ever, as evidenced by the number of men who insist on wearing Speedo racing-style suits (I could not bring myself to include an image) and more prosaically the number of websites selling the stuff. (There's a Spandex House, a Spandex World, American Spandex, and Spandexwear, just to name a few I found during my Google search, though sadly they mostly sell fabric. However, I did find this cute little black dress while searching for "spandex dresses." If only I had a place or occasion to wear it...)

Now, having satisfied my curiosity about spandex, I will conclude this entry.

Only five more days until Super Bowl XLII!


J's mother said...

You did not look like a sausage in that dress. Then, as now, you had a trim little body that did the Spandex full justice. What you did look, believe it or not, was prim. Yes, you managed to look proper even in purple spandex.... Or maybe you were just uncomfortable. Your blog also reminded me of a comment I heard back then from a forty-something guy: "Spandex is God's gift to men." I'm surprised you didn't know that it's included in all kinds of clothing, even now, from blue jeans on up. But only in tiny quantities, like 5%, it apparently makes things hang better, as well as fitting more snugly.

Dave S. said...

My view has always been that Spandex should be listed as a controlled substance to prevent its misuse/abuse (Speedos etc.). There could be a percentage threshold for that since J's mother notes its widespread use in small quantities. Buck Rogers-era Erin Gray, of course, would be exempt from any such restrictions. "Wiki-wiki-wiki... Hubba hubba!"

It would not have occurred to me to link Spandex and primness but I have not seen the dress in question. Please note also that the use of the word "link" above is NOT a sausage reference.

jjv said...

I loved Erin Gray with the intensity of a hundred super novas. Unfortunately, that little robot, Tiki, always followed her around. Worst. Robot. Side. Kick. Ever. Except for professional swimmers and certain guys under 25, American men do not wear speedos. They seem to the be the choice of swimwear of foreigners, and unnatractive foreigners at that.

I have no knowledge or comment on the picture nor on spandex in general. In my experience straight men do not care about fabric. Hence, velcro is God's gift to men. Buttons, hooks, and zippers all jam or catch at inopportune moments. Velcro can be relied upon.

Jennifer (aka "J") said...

Glad I was not the only one who watched Buck & Co. Thanks for the comments. They all made me smile. Btw, I checked, and spandex really is in almost everything! And it's only the 21st century!

Sherry C said...

Aaarrrgh, it's in everything? And I thought I had lived a completely spandex free life!