A Funny Thing Happened While I Was Wearing a Corset


In truth a number of funny things happened while I was wearing a corset…which in itself is funny because a lady laced up tighter than a drum cannot laugh uproariously or even heartily. Nor can she draw a really deep breath, drive with her car seat in its customary position, gracefully bend down to reach cat treats on the bottom self at the local pet store, or curl up on the sofa next to her husband to binge-watch Game of Thrones.

These lessons I learned within the first two hours of donning a lovely blue and pink silk corset. And two hours was precisely as long as I was able to tolerate the silk and steel contraption that first day.

In the days that followed my tolerance for torture rose and I learned all sorts of lingerie lessons courtesy of my corsets.

I learned that lady’s maids of bygone years must have been sadistic little creatures. As I do not have a lady’s maid, sadistic or otherwise, I enlisted the assistance of my husband and together we discovered that there is a certain rhythm to lacing a lady into a corset. It goes something like this…

Tug, slip, re-hook, slip, re-hook, tug, tug, repeat.

I’ll translate, shall I? Tug the laces in back, one of the tiny little hooks that run up the front slips loose, wrestle the hook back into it’s equally tiny clasp, another hook two down slips it’s berth, re-hook it, quickly tug the laces, twice if you can manage it before you must repeat the process again, over and over until all of the hooks stay in their clasps and the laces are sufficiently tight to mold silk and steel to your figure.

Where does the sadistic lady’s maid come in, you might ask.

At some point, perhaps the second or third time your lady’s maid, or husband as the case may be, laces you into your corset, he or she will be faced with a choice: Cheerfully follow your breathless order of Tighter, Tighter, thereby proving their sadistic tendencies, or toss their hands in the air and turn away with a muttered If you want to cut off your air supply and mash your internal organs into unnatural shapes, you can find someone else to help you.

Ah, well, husbands are protective that way.

I spent one full day laced into a pristine white silk and lace corset, ten hours during which I went about my daily life in an almost normal manner. I hid my silk and steel friend beneath a tailored dress and braved the office, garnering no more than a few strange looks, mostly from men and mostly aimed at my breasts which were pushed up nearly to my chin. One co-worker, an eagle-eyed lady who misses very little, complimented my posture when she saw me sitting at my desk as if I had a stick running up my spine from butt to nape.

Who knew that a tightly-laced corset holds the torso still so that all movement takes place at the hips? I felt like the cheapest tart every time I sashayed down the hall, my hips swaying to and fro.

I was exhausted by the end of that one full day, perhaps because I’d been unable to rest my elbows on my desk and slouch over my keyboard as is my custom. Maybe it was a lack of sustenance as I was only able to nibble at my traditional Lenten Friday lunch of fish sandwich and fries. Most likely it was oxygen deprivation that rendered me fatigued.

I never attempted another entire day in one of my deceptively delicate corsets but I did convince my poor, beleaguered husband to continue to lace me up tight every day or two for a handful of hours. During those short stints I learned that it is both unwise and dangerous to chase a small dog around the yard, that gracefully rising from sitting to standing can only be accomplished with forethought and slow movements, that balance is best kept when bending from the knees rather than the hips, and that the side mirrors on my car, when carefully and precisely positioned, really do show me whether it is safe for a quick lane change.

As an author of historical erotic romance, I’ve never written of the difficulties of safe lane changes while confined by silk and steel, but I’ve written dozens of scenes of ladies making love while wearing a corset. My heroines have been pinned to damask walls, lowered to velvet settees, bent over mahogany desks, tumbled onto plush feather mattresses and pulled down onto Turkish carpets.  They have frolicked atop towers, in moving carriages and beneath starlit skies without benefit of removing a stitch of clothing, let alone their corsets.

The reason is quite simple: Divesting a 19th century lady of her garments involves plucking buttons, wrestling hooks, untangling laces, untying ribbons, rolling silk and generally pushing, pulling, tugging, shucking and shrugging until the lady finally, finally stands in a pool of satin and lace, starched muslin and whale bone.

But all of that is a walk in the park when compared to the patience, sense of humor, rhythm, perseverance and sadistic tendencies required to get her laced back into the damn thing. So if she can endure entire days and nights laced up tighter than a drum, she can frolic, dally, and romp with her hero any time and any places she chooses.

And if the lady wants to do it all in a corset, more power to her.