all of the selves we Have ever been
When we were teenagers,
"poise” belonged in the world of well-spoken valedictorians, reigning beauty queens, and spokesmodels, people who went to elocution classes and debutante balls. Awkward as most of us were in adolescence, poise remained painfully elusive.
Decades later, it turns out that time did not heal those old wounds. It created new ones. Just when we were finally beginning to feel more confident, the toilet was pulled out from under us. Poise no longer describes a person who is gifted with grace and elegant bearing. No, it means a person’s pipes are leaking, and not the ones under the sink. Poise is now the word used to describe the damp but “discreet and worry-free” older adult.
A friend recently described her efforts to cultivate this new form of poise. Off to Target she went for what she thought would be a quick trip. Little did my friend know, but a poise-seeker needs to come to the incontinence product aisle armed with a tape measure, graphing calculator, and an urban dictionary. And just a word of warning: do your homework. Some measurements should not be taken in the aisles of Target.
Poised to purchase, my friend surveyed the options: micro-liners, daily liners, light pads, original pads, moderate pads, maximum pads, ultra-thin maximum pads, original maximum pads, ultimate pads, ultra-thin ultimate pads, original ultimate pads, overnight ultimate pads.
Thickness aside, there were length options: extra coverage in three lengths, regular in five lengths, and heavy in five lengths.
Additional features to consider included no-slip wings, built-in side barriers, flex-loc core, fiber distribution layer, and comfort dry cover.
And then there was the leakage spectrum: LBL (light bladder leakage)? Drips? Spurts? Bursts? Surges? Streams? Gushes? My friend took a moment to absorb this new language of science.
On she went to determining the best combination of features…Trying to recall her high school calculus classes, my friend struggled to determine if this problem required the formula for a combination or a permutation. In any event, it seemed like there were thousands of possibilities. If she went too short or too long, she might not achieve the discreet and worry-free self she was seeking. Too short, she might have to deal with an unsightly wet spot, too long, and she might look like she was sporting the back fins of a 1959 Chevy Eldorado.
The ad says these products are designed “with your curves in mind.” Allegedly, they offer “peace of mind” – a new form of mind-body experience “with less bunching in the middle.” Additionally, the products “multi-task like a mother.” Like a real mother?
The good news is that poise can now be purchased which is easier than shaping your character. The bad news is that poise must now be purchased. After an hour in the aisle of Target, my friend completed her calculations and was ready to buy…Unfortunately, what mathematically seemed like the perfect choice was…you guessed it…out of stock.
“What’s not to love?” the advertisement asks.
I am poised to respond. How much time do you have?
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