Spandex trend is stretching it.

Kevin Cowherd

October 08, 1990|By Kevin Cowherd

The Spandex People first began appearing a few years ago in their ultra-tight bicycle shorts, unitards, body stockings and what have you.

Like most Americans, I kept waiting for the Spandex People to go away. But whether through over-breeding, great strides in medical science or 20 percent discount sales at Herman's and the Athletic Attic, they have seemingly multiplied like rabbits, until you can barely walk down the street without encountering one or two of the species.

What should be obvious by now - but apparently isn't to some of the Spandex People - is that Spandex is a fabric not flattering to everyone.

That is to say, unless you weigh 110 pounds and have the same robust appetite as a sparrow, it would probably be best for all concerned if you eschewed Spandex in favor of a more, um, loose-fitting garment, such as that old "I'm With Stupid" sweat shirt picked up at Al's T-Shirt Emporium on the boardwalk.

Now, I know what you're thinking.

You're thinking: My, my ... what's behind this latest screed on Spandex?

Simmering jealousy on my part?

Thinly veiled resentment that I don't have the kind of sleek, whipcord-tough body that looks smashing in Spandex?

A cancerous envy directed at the legions of trim, hard-bodied, rosy-cheeked dudes and dudettes who look absolutely smashing Spandex?

Sure, there (begin ital) could (end ital) be some of that at work here. I'm not above a good old-fashioned public display of petulance over the body God gave me (and Burger King, Sarah Lee and Budweiser destroyed.)

In fact, let me be even (begin ital) more (end ital) up-front and admit to once owning my very own pair of cool ultra-tight bicycle shorts.

The cool bicycle shorts were given as a gift by a relative, who had apparently mistaken me for a seventh-grader, albeit one who shaves regularly and is married.

Either that or this relative was under the impression that I had recently concluded a six-month juice fast for religious purposes and was now down to my fighting trim of, say, 87 pounds.

Anyway, I tried on the bicycle shorts and they certainly looked cool - at least if your definition of cool squares with mine.

They fit great in the thighs (he said modestly.) They fit great in the hips (he said with only the faintest hint of a blush.)

And they fit great in the waist - if you overlooked (and I don't see how you could) THE HUGE ROLL OF FLAB THAT HUNG OVER THE $* WAISTBAND!!

I myself could not overlook the huge roll of flab that hung over the waistband. This was because I was standing in front of a mirror at the time, and each glance into it caused me to recoil in horror, as one would if suddenly discovering the presence of a third eyeball in one's forehead.

(Note: Many of the Spandex People apparently don't have mirrors in their homes, but fortunately we have several in ours, two of them full-length.)

In any event, the sight of me decked out in bicycle shorts was disturbing indeed. I'm glad the children weren't home, as even a quick glimpse could have scarred them for life. Say what you will about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, but it's prolonged exposure to ugliness such as has been described here that drives adults into therapy, never mind innocent children.

My reaction to the sight of me in Spandex?

Oh, I guess pretty much what you'd expect - which was to quickly take off the bicycle shorts, start a roaring, gasoline-stoked fire in a barrel and burn those suckers into a pile of ashes, all the while chanting: "Spandex is the devil's tool ... Spandex is the devil's tool ..."

At one time, of course, the Spandex People were more or less confined to gyms, health spas and yogurt bars, where the government could monitor their activities and decent citizens could, for the most part, avoid them.

Now, however, the Spandex People are allowed to roam freely, enjoying many of the same constitutional liberties as you or I (assuming (begin ital) you (end ital) don't wear the stuff, too.)

I myself have spotted the Spandex People at church functions, Tupperware parties, street fairs, even PTA meetings.

Now you say to yourself: What kind of sick, demented soul would wear Spandex to a PTA meeting?

And (begin ital) why (end ital) would you wear it there - just to show off a perfectly taut body, complete with washboard stomach and rippling muscles, while they discuss a new vending machine for the teacher's lounge?

My point exactly.

Not that I'm bitter.

Although, let's face it, I have every right to be.

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