A gaggle of girls was standing in the hallway at work the other day, tittering. As I approached, it became clear that one of them, a comely lass soon to wed, was modeling her loins for the other girls.
I consider myself an expert assessor of loins. But I normally try to confine my talents to more appropriate venues: my kitchen, airports, graveside funerals, places like that. Lo, here these girls were, overtly assessing loins in the workplace. So I sidled up and laid eyes on the loins in question.
Their owner, I learned, had just undergone an exotic procedure called a “body wrap” in an effort to drop four dress sizes before her big day. All women attempt to do this. God bless them. They do look heavenly on the altar. I mean, assuming they’re sufficiently emaciated.
Well, this connubially inclined co-worker was having trouble making her fighting weight, so she’d visited a place called the Body Wrap Shop, over on Henderson. Quite something this Body Wrap Shop, to hear her tell it. They strip you down to your skivvies and wrap you head to toe with bandages soaked with mineral water. Then they make you exercise for an hour on an elliptical trainer. The result, supposedly, is a semi-permanent “visual inch loss,” not a temporary weight loss from sweat. The secret to the whole thing is the special minerals.
“Do you think it worked?” she asked me, executing a Barker’s-Beauty, Showcase-Showdown, “All this could be yours if the price is right” maneuver. Basically, she was asking the classic “Does my butt look big in these jeans?” question. Except with a twist: “Does my butt look smaller now that I’ve had it wrapped with bandages soaked with mineral water?” Clever, but I wasn’t falling for it. Either I was going to get in trouble for thinking her butt used to look big or I was going to get fired for sexual harassment. I turned and ran.
The next week, I had my own appointment at the Body Wrap Shop. Alas, I’ve grown a little soft around the middle through the years. What was I supposed to do? Take up bulimia? Start exercising? Plus, as a member of the Fourth Estate, it was my duty to expense the $135 treatment.
The shop did not inspire confidence. Outside, there was no signage. I had to climb several flights of stairs to its tiny third-floor space, where inwardly sloping walls and dormer windows made the place feel like a recently converted attic. But my misgivings were put to rest when I signed in and was instructed to drink a pre-wrap cup of “ionic water” infused with Japanese coral, because “ionic” sounds like “bionic,” and Japanese coral has to be imported.
Then, as I stood in my bathing trunks, a guy named Glenn used a tailor’s tape to take measurements of my corpus. Also, Glenn drew on me with a Sharpie marker. He kept referring to my “tummy” and my “tush” as he worked. Finally, during the wrap itself, I’d had enough. I said, “Glenn, let’s agree to call it my ’gut’ and my ’ass.’” Glenn responded by wrapping me so tightly with the wet Ace bandages that I could barely breathe, much less talk. He put plastic bags over my feet and hands, securing them with rubber bands. Then he put a green plastic rain poncho on me. I looked like a mummy going to an Eagles game on a rainy day.
From the wrap room, Glenn escorted me to the exercise room, where a fleet of Gazelle elliptical trainers was set up in front of a television on which was playing Pretty Woman, with the sound turned all the way down. Instead the speakers pumped out Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body.”
There followed an hour of Gazelling and trying to recall what role Jason Alexander’s character plays in Pretty Woman, all the while struggling to hold back the flatulence that Glenn’s tight wrap had brought to the fore—or, rather, aft. There were only two of us in the room, me and a woman in an orange poncho, also Gazelling. Richard Gere was getting intimate with Julia Roberts on top of a piano. It was awkward enough without my fouling the air.
When my hour ended, Glenn unwrapped me and took my measurements. Did it work? Glenn said I lost nearly 6 inches, but I’m not so sure. I still can’t fit into my dress.