Corsets have come up in ‘conversation’ several times in the past few days.
Well, I did warn you this blog might become personal, and the corset is, let us not pretend otherwise, an incredibly personal item of attire... perhaps the most personal.
When I turned 40, I had a corset made. You could buy into the whole underwear as sexual repression riff and decide that the corset is not for you, and I applaud your right to do so and your course of action in discarding your undergarments. There are days when I, too, go bra-less and even panty-less, although generally not for political reasons.
On the other hand, I’m a big fan of the corset.
As someone with a long history of back problems, and a hankering for gorgeous clothes, (and why shouldn’t those two things work hand in glove?) I adore corsets in all their forms. They suit all women and some men, and they are wonderful feats of engineering.
My corset cost me a decent amount of money when I bought it, despite being a fairly generic one made using only a few basic measurements, and the next one I have made, and rest assured, I will have another made, will fit like a glove, if I have anything to say on the subject, and will probably cost a small fortune, but oh how wonderful I shall look and feel in it.
The subject of corsets is writ large on my consciousness at the moment. The wonderful Rosie Garland (aka Rosie Lugosi) spends a good deal of her professional life in one and is an advocate of their proper manufacture and fitting, and recently posted on the subject on her FaceBook page, concerning sales of cheap substandard products. I have also been researching burlesque dancers, who employ the corsetieres’ arts in the most obvious, but also some of the most delightful ways, and a friend of mine on Twitter has been considering investing in one for herself. You can see why I am obsessed with them at the moment.
In every case, I have been happy to comment, and tempted to post a photograph of myself in my corset.
In the end, I have done the former and not the latter.
This, I suppose, is the bit that is ultimately personal. The corset is not the subject of good old English slap-happy humour to me. I would not subject myself to the vulgarity of a Benny Hill sketch nor expose myself to be ridiculed as some middle-aged woman pretending to be a sex symbol. It is a nonsense.
I feel great in my corset. It makes me stand up straight. It pulls in my waist and pulls up my torso. It makes me drop my shoulders and fill my lungs, and, yes, it thrusts my breasts up under my chin in a way that might not appear entirely innocent.
Why do I care?
My corset should say nothing more about me than that I own a corset. It should say nothing about how I feel about sex, or sexual tastes, or even my sense of humour, and yet, some of you, or certainly some people, might interpret pictures of me in my corset in all sorts of ways that I might find distasteful.
I say again, why do I care?
In the end, I find that I do not.
If anyone should ever hold up a picture of me in my corset and ask, “What were you thinking?” I’d like to think I might be able to answer, “What the hell business is it of yours?”
So, here it is!
Think what you like.
I don’t care.
This is what this woman looks like in her corset.
If your opinion of me has changed, I can only hope that it is for the better, and, if it has changed for the worse... Well... That’s on you.