Try this on for thighs

November 23, 1993|By Elise T. Chisolm

The subject peaks at the beach when we're all lying around on the sand: The womenfolk discuss their thighs and thigh sizes.

In some genetic twist of fate, the women on both sides of our family have always been "thick-thighed."

So with the recent news that a rub-on cream will reduce thighs, we all went ballistic. What? A teaspoon a day keeps the fat away? Get real.

I understand phone lines buzzed across the country, and at my spa the cream was the hottest topic, replacing the new fat-free chocolate brownies. No more sweat, no more pain, just rub it in. We'll see.

I, being older, was skeptical.

I remember interviewing a woman who'd written a book on "spoon therapy." If you ice-down spoons and put them on your face, your wrinkles will disappear. I did it for four days. I got frostbitten lips. Then in the '60s some dermatologist said that putting Preparation H on your facial wrinkles would diminish them. I tried that -- no luck.

I remember the water diet, the banana diet, the jog-till-you-drop regimen, the cucumber-on-your-tired-eyes cure, Retin A. None of these things worked for me, on my face or anywhere else.

But I am fascinated nonetheless by this thigh cream business. The hysteria over it was generated by the results of research from a bunch of scientists who must like women and, of course, making money.

Dr. Bruce Frome, a Los Angeles anesthesiologist and family practitioner, is the most optimistic. His findings and some of his colleagues' reports were presented at a recent conference on obesity held in Milwaukee: A teaspoon of the cream aminophylline, which has been used as an asthma drug, will reduce thighs by one-half to one and a half inches after five weeks. Only 24 women were tested.

Dr. Frome's office got some 300 faxes the day the report came out.

After the news of this creme de la creme hit the papers, my oldest daughter was first to call me. She'd already talked to 10 friends who had decided to form a thigh rub-out consortium. No matter what the cream costs, they will pool together and buy the cream when it is marketed.

My youngest daughter is siphoning money from the grocery rations for the thigh-reducer.

Even though the research was done by trusted specialists at Stanford and several other prestigious places, a killjoy spokesman for the Federal Drug Administration says if there are any side effects the FDA will take action against the stuff.

Yeah, I wondered about that. What if it gets on your clothing? Will it shrink cotton or wool and destroy polyester? What if it gets in your hair, could it retard growth? Will it be odorless? What if you get too much cream on one thigh, will you end up uneven-thighed? Will it work on stomachs?

Virtual Scenario: It's 11 o'clock at night, and she looks up from the book she is reading in bed, "No, dear, not tonight, I'm exhausted from rubbing on my dream cream."

But let's not dampen this bright forecast for buttermilk-thighed women if it might give lightening results.

Meantime, don't get rid of your black slacks, black skirts and knee-high bathing suits. The rub-a-dub cream is not on the market yet.

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