12 July 2015

Twilight Zone: Stockings II

ell there I was sitting on the side on the bed looking at the stockings in my hands and hesitating, of course I knew I have to put them on and that was a part of the problem.

[Ed: If you are wondering about what she is on about then you should read Stockings I before carrying on here]

I knew that putting on compression stockings was not going to be fun, with the semi-horror stories from within my ageing family and having to get in external help mornings and evenings to assist with them. They were going to resist being stretched and would fight back as far as they could, brute force was on the cards. 

First a flashback as background regarding my hesitation.

It's not that I hadn't some experience in putting on stockings of lesser denier, far from it. Over the years I would whenever the opportunity raised itself, don a pair of my black stockings with seams and with a contortion act check that they were straight. Next heels, at the time my first and only pair (see picture, how I came about them in a new post). Then walk or sit around, trying to act girl like. I tried to distract myself as far as possible from looking at my legs and feet. This was difficult as I was fascinated from my appearance even with my hairy un-lady like legs. 
And what did I learn while applying and removing these delicate garments? That any contact with stockings and pantyhose eventually leads to the dreaded ladder.

[Ed: Not all ladders are accidents, these days ladders are used for effect, its part of the mode scene]

Yes I know, I think it’s to make a statement, although I’m not sure what one. For me, if anything more a show of disrespect. When I grew up there was a different attitude to stockings, they were not the throw away commodity of today. I speak not from personal experience but as a young bystander, for my mother ladders were a calamity, she would go through the roof when it happened. I think it came from before my time when she was young and stockings were a rare commodity and very expensive, a pre-nylon-post-war syndrome. 

And the main culprit in the ladder game - finger nails. 

I always took it that girls in general looked after their nails better than boys did. I thought it was because they wanted them to look pretty with nice shapes and different colours, something not in the job description for boys. But now I think there was an underlining logic in there somewhere, possibly having to do with their pocket money or well earn cash rapidly dwindling on having to replace ‘clothing of the laddering kind’. In the long run nail care saved money. 
 I had no incentive to look after mine. I grew up in boy mode, was not of the nail biting type and as I had nothing to ladder and bring my mother down on me like a ton of bricks, it meant my nails looked like the silhouette of a jagged mountain range! 
No, I had nothing to ladder, but my mother did! I weighed up the possibilities of getting away with trying them on again (see My first time ... ).
 The idea was to start to regularly manicure my nails on the off chance of being able to raid my mother’s hoard with a good chance not to ruin them. This not typical boy / me behaviour would have certainly got me funny looks and questions asked at least from my father. The only other choice was to stick to unkempt nails and away from any stockings. 

What did I do? I kept to jagged nails.

Deep down I just knew that whatever precautions I would take, however slow I would go concentrating like mad with the traditional tongue stuck out, a ladder or nick would appear out of nowhere. Knowing my mother with her sixth sense and built in ladder radar, she would eventually get around to wearing them and then in a slow and with perfect articulation my full name would be shouted out for all the neighbours to hear. 
 Interrogations would commence and explanations would be demanded, far more complicated than those concerned with “just” manicuring would have. And, as I at the time would have been at a confused hormone loaded age; my answers would not have been adequate for all concerned, including myself as I slowly descended the ladder of no return. 

After leaving home I could, without too much stress (apart from the embarrassment in buying them) ladder to my heart’s content. It’s funny that every time I ‘caught’ myself in putting on stockings or pantyhose, I would roll my eyes and ask myself how the h*ll did I do that! Lightly rubbing a finger over the suspect nail, I could not detect anything. I had the feeling I would need a high-powered microscope to see the perpetrator! 
 It was always the same; I never thought about filing and shaping my nails beforehand, “a waste of precious time”, I did think. I have always had a life-long background panic of not enough time and getting caught, not the best attitude when dealing with 20 den, silly but there it is. 

So now you have some idea of my relationship to ‘ladderable’ garments and why I’m still sitting on the bed looking at them and wondering how this would end.  

[Ed: Come on get a move on! I know what’s going to happen, but the folks out there are getting bored and will soon click, or have clicked elsewhere ages ago. I suspect your talking to yourself again]

Ok got your point. 

I started with the left leg, gathered the stocking up in both hands. Yes there was resistance and I had more material in my hands than I was used to. So over the toe and up, I got as far as the heel and that was it. It would not budge any further. I just could not get the stocking over the heel, well not the amount I had in my hands in one go. So I started again, after two attempts I was over and free! 
I panicked a little thinking I would hear a rip any time now, but all was well and I slowly pulled/rolled the rest of the stocking up and over my knee. Then I ran out of stocking! This cannot be right, where was the rest! Were they the wrong size? I checked the table on the website against the label in the stocking, nope everything ok. Still, I was missing about 15 cm up to my thigh. 

Yes dear reader, the full length, not your common and garden knee stockings. When in passing, I mention to people I have to wear compression stockings - like one does over a cup of coffee - most of the time they assume I mean the knee type. 
Funny enough I get an astonished look when I demonstrate ‘no up here’ with my hand on the top of my thigh. Up to now, no one has said, “don’t believe you! Go on show me”. I’m not sure if I would be willing to let my trousers fall to prove a point and have them fall around in fits of laughter. 

I saw that most of the material was still below the knee and had no incentive to budge without force; this I realised was not going to be easy. So in with my thumbs on both sides, grab two handfuls digging in my fingers + nails and pull. Now my panic button was well and truly pushed, I could see my hands stretching the stocking, I though a break through or at least laddering imminent, possibly with a thunder clap with the way I was tugging. But no, I managed in the end to evenly distribute the material over my leg. The semi-laced band at the top was at the position of a normal stay up stocking but wider about 5 cm and with more than one rubber strip for grip. I had made it! 
I repeated the same for the right leg using the experience with the left one. Task completed. There I was encased, tightly packed in. A novelty at the moment, but would I hold out all day in them a week even the rest of my life, it was not something I wanted to think about.. 

So, day one had begun of a compression stocking future. I dressed and went to work; it was summer and I usually wore sandals and if I could without socks. See Stockings I and swollen ankles, but it looked silly so I put them on adding another layer to my feet making them hotter that they were. I can’t say I ever got used to them with the unusual pressure and tightness; they were far more a disruption factor than the surgical stockings I had to wear by my last hospital OP. So first impressions: restrictive when sitting, supportive when walking. 

I’m not sure if I mentioned it, but I’m not that active in moving about on a normal working day. Its to the car and back, to the coffee machine and back, to the lo…. well you get my gist, and the rest of the time sitting/lounging in front of my computer monitors or in meetings (yes I lounge in meetings, except when we have customers). 
 All was well on my 1st stocking day until it came to lunch and out to a local restaurant with colleagues. Half way into our brisk walk to the local I felt a tectonic shift in my left leg. Something had happened but I was not sure what it was, it felt like 'freedom' in some way above the knee.
 When I got back to the office I sought out the toilets and checked. The top part had loosened/un-gripped itself from my thigh folded down and was flapping over my knee. The fold had also started to bite into the back of the joint like a tourniquet and was restricting circulation. Brilliant I thought, I pulled it up and for good measure also the other one, which had loosened but not yet slipped.
Well this was the first pull-up of the day but not the last. By the time I had got home I had lost count of the times I had to go to the rest room. I wouldn’t have minded if it was to refresh my lipstick or powder my nose or pull up the stockings in the picture right. Ok, in boy mode that would have generated other questions than what I was getting with disappearing every now and then. And having to excuse myself in meetings to go and adjust my stockings was not something I wanted to explain or talk about either. 
More than once I had starred hard at the stapler on my desk before leaving for another pull-up session. But as I’m not one for piercings except ears, I left it where it was. 

Well this went on for some weeks, frustration level going up as the stockings kept falling down. Not a happy state of affairs. I had in the meantime mini ladders from regularly pulling them up. This didn’t compromise the function of the stockings (my ankles were not swelling up as before) only the look, and as they were under trousers most of the time it wasn’t that much of a worry. 

It didn't come as that much of a surprise, as It was inevitable that one day the thunder clap would be heard. Well, it wasn’t really a thunder clap more of a low frequency rumble ripping sound, perfectly audible above my dam it! But now the one stocking was losing its staying up power and functionality and was now useless. The other stocking was not that far off from giving up either. 

That was it, I decided for the time being to go back to swollen ankles. So I lovingly folded them up put them in their box and buried it, no not at the bottom of the garden, but at the back of my wardrobe with the hordes of clothes waiting in limbo until the time when I eventually lost those extra pounds and fitted into them again. I thought I would take a picture to show how they looked when I buried them. So I dug deep in the wardrobe and eventually found the box.

[Ed: did you see a snow covered lamp post in there?]

No, I wasn't that deep! 

One may ask why I hadn’t gone into the other possibilities for keeping them up. Well I had theoretically, but I was not prepared at the time for the theory to be put directly into practice. It was only desperation with the state of my legs, the further frustration with my next ‘generation’ of so called stay up stockings that broke the ‘h*ll with it’ barrier and brought me to the present. There is an idea that this stocking ‘adventure’ is one of the reasons that Abigale finally broke out last year and let herself lose on the world.

[Ed: you still haven't got to the present!]

Yes, sorry I didn’t think this was going to take so long in telling.
I will conclude my stocking sojourn next time, 
in the mean time watch this ladder.
[Ed: Hey cute pattern!]
Yes, I thought it would be appropriate.


  1. As someone who helps with putting on a compression sleeve every day this holds an extra fascination...

    How about some next post / last post buttons at bottom of page here to help us skip through the blog?

    1. Hi Coline, thanks for droping by, the next post will continue the compression stocking story, should be fun.
      Ah! all 3 buttons are there Coline!
      The graphics at the bottom of the page are not just ornamental !
      xx Abi

    2. Duh!
      Ten years ago I made a temporary website for an exhibition and thought that people would find all the hidden mouse over buttons but don't think many did, You win the prize for the prettiest buttons.

    3. Sorry you had to Duh! Your remark got me thinking. When I started looking how I could design the blog to reflect my roots, I wanted to make it as Celtic as possible, and as I found my way around the template I twicked it where I could. Creating the layout was just as important for me as the content. It never occurred to me that I was possibly masking the classical navigation buttons with the knots! Putting a graphic at the end of a post and comment was a bit tricky but fun. I might have gone over the top a little, but I am happy how it turned out. Using a graphic letter to start the text looks good but not for the T-Central display list, no matter, main thing it stays stable and doesn't start to fall apart. xx Abi

  2. Abi, what you need are garters! Or is that where this is going? http://rago-shapewear.com/catalog/product/rago_style_72522_-_garter_belt_medium_shaping/

    1. That would be giving the game away Daria! We will see, but garters are mentioned next time as I am partial to wearing them. Thanks for the link will check it out and report back. Abi xx

  3. One compromise may be very firm full support pantyhose. THey will stay up and at the same time provide some compression to your legs.

    On a note of compassion many years ago I would sometimes wear thigh high hold up stockings under my slacks instear of panty hose. I was out of town walking with a colleague when first one and then the other let loose. The compression band dropped and kept dropping down the farther we walked to the point where it was starting to stick out the bottom of my slacks. I so prayed that my colleague did not notice. When we got to the restaurant I excused myself and removed and trashed the items and have been mostly wearing pantyhose ever since.

    1. Thanks Pat for your comments and story. I think stockings that lose their grip can become an embarrassment for all wearers. My experience ‘on the road’ is limited to my compression stockings and when they slip they usually stay put below or just above the knee. You mentioned pantyhose and so will I in the next instalment. I have had all manner of suggestions in the last days concerning ways of keeping the stockings up, I will followup on them in the post. I will also try to get the 3rd. part posted ASAP and not keep readers ‘suspended’ in suspense too long.

  4. Hi Abi,

    pantyhose decorated with ladders --- nice idea to post this photo alluding to the practical problems they may cause. I only hope that they wouldn't prevent women from wearing them.
    I love how you describe all your experiences.

    1. Thank you Feli, I find that the more I try and write about my experiences the more I find out about myself. When I saw the ladder tights I just had to add it. I’m in the middle of part III and then I’ll be up to date. Hope to get it finished quicker than last time and before I run out of ladders.