If you’ve ever tried wriggling, contorting and shoehorning your way into a pair of “control pants”, you’ll know the abject humiliation of looking like a beige-coloured sausage. Even the name of them leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Perhaps unsurprisingly, climbing into what is essentially a person-sized condom is a pitilessly uncomfortable experience and, let’s be frank, trying to tuck your organs into a child-size swimming cozzie is a bit of a kicker to the old self-confidence. Ditto trying to extricate yourself from it at the end of the night. And, yet, loads of us keep wearing them, the reason being “they smooth and prevent wobble”, according to one Pool team member. Another cites them as a “life saver”, having had kids. Our biggest gripe, though, is that “they can create unsightly bulges” where you least expect them and, comfort-wise, they’re not exactly a walk in the park. Truth be told, there must be something better out there that does the job without the faff.
Lifting the lid on uncomfortable underwear this week is Australian comedian Celeste Barber. Taking part in hosiery brand Heist’s new #NoThanx campaign, Barber filmed herself struggling into a pair of control pants. And, well, it’s a journey. There’s denial, there’s anger, there’s bargaining, there’s hope, there’s lunging – at one point she does the worm – there’s profanity and, finally, after squeezing herself into the flesh-toned prison, she yells, “I’m not going out for dinner. Can’t breathe!” Joined in the campaign video by a host of other comedians, including Jessie Cave, Samantha Baines and Jessica Fostekew, the discovery of a hole in the gusset will stay with you. “This might give you nightmares,” says Fostekew, pointing to the hole in her Lycra body suit (there to enable easy peeing).
The video ends with the promise that “better bodywear is coming”. “We refuse to squeeze, sweat or struggle into something that’s not worth it,” says Heist’s website. “So we’re doing something about it.” The waiting list for the brand’s new product (launching 15 November) is already live. Let’s hope we need never wrestle our way into our underwear again.