Tag Archives: Man-girdle

Coming to Terms with My Man-Girdle

I’d love to tell you I threw out my back lifting a Buick to save a small child, but I was actually reaching down to tighten a lawn sprinkler head.  I was not attempting to lift the full weight of nearly one ounce piece of plastic, mind you, just twisting it tight.  This was not the first time I had thrown out my back.  I blame it on carrying around a heavy brief case for 20-plus years and throwing my spine off kilter, but deep down, I also harbored the guilt of shoveling down hundreds of pounds of peanut M&Ms over that same period.  (Oh, they do go down smooth.)

The first time I threw out my back was several years ago.  I was engaged in the physically challenging act of reaching down to pull a file from a lower cabinet.  In any event, a searing, paralyzing pain shot up my spine, and I knew I was in big trouble.  Later that day, a chiropractor introduced me to the nirvana of an “elastic lumbosacral belt.”  This is an eight-inch elastic strip of material that you stretch across your lower back and then secure in front of your belly with Velcro.  Instant relief.  A gift from God.

But here’s where the story takes a cruel twist.  The next morning when I’m dressing for work and pulling on my suit pants, I realize I’ve got some extra room.  My pants are actually baggy.  The belt securing my lower back has coincidentally, and quite delightfully, pulled in my belly and given me a much unearned svelte midsection.   I moved over to the mirror and turned sideways.  A smile crept across my face.

After a few days, the pain in my back subsided, but out of caution (I told myself), I continued to wear the belt.  However, this came to a sudden halt when my wife asked me a few days later, “Do you still need that belt?”  This forced me to stop lying to myself.  I wasn’t putting on a lower back support belt.  I was putting on a girdle.  A Man-Girdle.

Sadly, it was time to hang up my beloved belt and face the truth.  And it forced me to begin doing what any other guy would do in my position.  I immediately went out to my yard and began tightening every sprinkler head I could find – the ones that needed it, and the ones that didn’t.