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Wide My Body, Narrow My Bathroom Stall (She: Heidi)

Hi all – my name is Heidi and I’m so excited to be a guest blogger on one of my favorite blogs! A little bit about me – I’ve been married to my best friend for 16 years and we have two awesome kids.

Our life is crazy, wonderful, hectic, blessed, chaotic… I think you get the idea.
When I was asked to be a guest blogger, I was a little intimidated. I don’t consider myself to be exceptionally insightful, creative, wise, etc. so I wasn’t sure what to write about. My blog is mainly stories about the craziness we encounter in every day life (with the occasional list of a few of my favorite things). So, I thought I’d stick with what I know and tell you a crazy (and sadly, completely true) story about one of my favorite things (and then maybe throw in a few more of my favorite things as well).
Now sit back, relax and let me share a little story with you…
Spanx are the greatest invention EVER.

They are like girdles. On steroids. They can re-shape any shaped body to make it look a little better. (Click here to see my Spanx product of choice, or you can check all of them out at

Body shaping garments are a life saver. And they’re incredibly efficient. Just think about what you can do with all that extra time that you would otherwise be spending on exercise. I mean really… Why exercise when you can conceal? But, I digress.
The thing about Spanx is that they’re pretty tight. So much so, that you need to allow yourself extra time when going to the restroom lest you run the risk of having an accident…

It is ill-advised to wait until the last minute to go to the bathroom when wearing a Spanx. I really wish someone had told me this.

Let me set the stage for you…

I’m on an airplane. I’m returning from an advertising summit in New York City.

I’m dressed in a suit.
And I’m wearing a Spanx.
(ASIDE: I’m terrified of going to the bathroom in airplanes. Seriously. It.Horrifies.Me.
I will do whatever I can to avoid going to the bathroom on an airplane.)

Okay, back to the story…

The flight is non-stop.
It’s 7 hours long.
I put off the inevitable trip to the bathroom for as long as I can.
But at last the moment arrives… I can deny it no longer.
I need…. to use…. the bathroom.
Right now.

I climb over the people sitting in the center and the aisle seats and make my to the bathroom.
The flight is full – every seat is occupied – including those that are up against the outside wall of the lavatory.
I slide the door open and am greeted by the teeniest, tiniest bathroom I have ever seen in my entire life. I had to walk in sideways because my shoulders were too broad to fit through the doorway.

I slide the door shut. Panic sets in (I’m unbelievably claustrophobic). Of course I’m also panicked because I have to go so bad that I think an accident is imminent.

I begin preparing myself to use the facilities – and am suddenly reminded that I have to somehow get the skin tight Spanx off – which will be quite challenging since there is not an inch of spare space around me.
I start to pull them down – but am unable to because my right elbow keeps hitting the wall of the teeny-tiny bathroom. I’m able to get the left side down – there’s more room on that side because the sink is there.

But I’m stuck on the right side.
I begin perspiring.

I’m growing increasingly desperate to relieve myself and to get the heck out of the teeny-tiny bathroom.

The fact that I’m sweating is not helping my attempt at getting the Spanx off. It seems to be acting as some sort of adhesive. I manage to turn around so that I’m now facing the toilet. My right elbow now has more room (it’s on the sink side now).
I wedge my thumb down between my squishy, sweaty muffin top and the top of the Spanx and pull down as hard as I can.

I hear it first – and then I feel it.
A popping sound.
My thumb.
There’s something wrong with my thumb.

Sharp pain shoots up my hand causing me to lose my balance in the teeny-tiny bathroom. I begin to fall toward the toilet.
I quickly jerk myself back into a standing position and spin around trying to regain my composure.
I am now facing the door – my back to the toilet. I wobble back and forth for a minute, and gingerly try to remove my thumb from its elastic prison – but am unsuccessful.
It’s stuck. And I’m pretty sure it’s swelling which makes the prospect of freeing my thumb less and less likely with each passing second.

I realize that I have no choice.
I grit my teeth, inhale deeply, hold my breath and yank my hand out of the waistband of my Spanx as hard as I possibly can. This causes me to slam my elbow against the wall, at which point I lose my balance again and fall face first into the door.

I see white light.
Pretty, pretty white light.
And then I hear a voice.
A far-off voice.

“Everything okay in there?”

Oh dear…

“Yes – I’m just fine – thanks….” I manage to respond.

Fortunately, that last yank was enough to loosen the Spanx from its deathgrip on my sweaty, squishy muffin top.
I wash my hands – careful not to touch my steadily swelling thumb. I try to straighten my hair in a futile attempt at covering the welt that has now taken over half of my forehead.

I slide open the bathroom door – carefully avoiding the open-mouthed, gaping stares of all the people sitting there who had heard me slamming into the walls of the teeny-tiny bathroom.
I hang my head and shuffle back to my seat – and vow never to wear Spanx again.

But I got over it. Hey, anything is better than exercising, right?

Yeah…. I still wear them.
Just not on airplanes…

Even though Spanx aren’t one of my traveling favorites, there are a few things that I simply cannot go to an airport (or fly in a plane without):

People Magazine
This is a non-negotiable for me. I simply canNOT travel without it. It’s the perfect companion in any situation. If you’re sitting by yourself in a crowded terminal or restaurant waiting for your flight, you can bury your face in it and act like you WANT to be all alone even if you feel awkward sitting all by yourself. If you’re sitting next to one of those oh-so-chatty (and sometimes IRRITATING) people on the plane, you can bury your face in it and let them know (in a non-confrontational kind of way) that you don’t feel like talking. It’s perfect!
Hot Tamales
Quite possibly, the word’s most perfect candy. They’re tasty. They’re chewy (which helps when your ears start freaking out during take off and landing). And they leave your breath nice and cinnamony – which is real plus in those close quarters on the airplane. And hey – share them with the chatty person sitting next to you. The chewing will keep them from talking – and it will make THEIR break nice and cinnamony (win, win!).

Hand Sanitizer

With all the safety protocols, you can only bring a tiny one on the airplane – but that’s enough. I never leave home without the stuff – ESPECIALLY when I’m going to be in an airplane. Ewwww…. lots of germs floating around.

Cough Drops and Cortisone Cream

Okay…. so I’m going vulnerable here…. I am going to share one of my dirty little secrets with you. Sometimes – you get stuck sitting next to one of those people. You know the kind. They won’t shut up. They won’t pick up on your subtle (and maybe NOT so subtle) hints that you don’t want to talk with them. They invade your personal space (I have moderate to serious personal space issues). They want to know EVERYTHING about you.

DISCLAIMER: It is not my wish to offend. I only recommend using this technique if Nothing.Else.Works. I don’t do this every time sometime says hello. It is the ultimate last resort.

So please…don’t judge… Okay. You may proceed.

So when I’m in this situation (where there’s a chatty neighbor who won’t leave me alone – and for whatever reason, it happens to me a lot), I resort to my CDCC (Cough Drops & Cortisone Cream) Regime. Also known as Operation Repel the Noisy Neighbor.

The first phase starts with you placing a bag of cough drops on your lap or on the little tray. You may want to mention to your chatty neighbor that you’ve got this crazy cough that you can’t get rid of. Start sniffing a lot like you have a really runny nose. Rub your nose with the back of your hand and then brush up against them with it.

If that doesn’t work, it’s time to introduce phase two. You add in some spastic coughing (without covering your mouth) in your neighbor’s direction. (the cozy neighbor will ususally leave you alone at this point).

If that doesn’t work, it’s time for phase three. Please note that phase three surpasses the point of no return. It is only to be used in the most desperate of situations. Phase Three: The Cortisone Cream.
Start putting some on – preferrably a place like the back of your neck or under your arm so that they can’t see the area you’re covering with cream.

While you’re lathering yourself with Cortisone, start talking about the fact that you have a really bad rash – it’s all oozy, red and it seems to be spreading. Maybe throw in another hacking, spastic cough or two (eye twitching acts as a nice little repellant too).

I guarantee you this: chit-chat and personal space will no longer be a problem.
Hey…. I said this was a “dirty little secret”, right?

Again. Please don’t judge.

Well, I think I’ve probably said enough…. Thank you for spending a few minutes letting me tell you about my traveling woes and must-haves. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing about them.

I wish you well in your future travels – and hey! If you’re ever in that situation where you can’t get your neighbor to give you some space, remember me and Operation CDCC. Trust me… It will not disappoint!

~ Heidi



Owner & Author at Or so she says...
Mariel (mahr-eeee-elle) is a mother to six, wife to one. Loves homeschooling, golfing, cupcakes, traveling, cuddling, non-fiction books, gardening, James Taylor, and family time. This is her blog. Enjoy!
13 Comments On This Topic
  1. Cathie
    5 years ago

    Oh, you made me laugh out loud at work! I once got stuck in a dressing room trying on one of those all-in-one undergarments. Like, I seriously thought I would have to call the dressing room attendant to come pull the darn thing off my arms. (It was stuck at my shoulders, with my arms straight up in the air.) Needless to say, I declined that purchase (I have to pee a lot!)

  2. pacey
    5 years ago

    Awesome story. AWESOME! Made me laugh, made my day. Thanks!

  3. shana
    5 years ago

    what a great story . . . well, in retrospect. i’m quite sure it was not at all great in the moment!

  4. Jeff and Aimee
    5 years ago

    Wow, you mean you sprained your thumb on your undies? *hee hee hee* Thanks for sharing your embarrassing yet hilarious tale. Maybe the next generation of Spanx should include an emergency rip cord for dire situations.

  5. shelby
    5 years ago


  6. Michelle
    5 years ago

    So much better you than me! Hahahahaha!

  7. Heather B
    5 years ago

    I loved reading every minute of that. Thanks for having Heidi as a guest!!

  8. Kate
    5 years ago

    Hysterical!! Bravo!!!

  9. Jessica
    5 years ago

    Hilarious- and I agree- Hot Tamales are the best!!

  10. Jen
    5 years ago

    Wow, Heidi, this might be the best travel blog post I’ve read in a long time!

    Please tell me that Spanx story didn’t really happen? Whoa, I’d be freaking too, and I’m not afraid of airplane bathrooms! I have been guilty of banging walls in bathroom stalls though; I know that feeling.

    Never thought of faking highly contagious diseases to get someone to respect my personal space. I’ll have to try that next time!

  11. Kurt
    5 years ago

    You are so stinking funny!

  12. jc
    5 years ago

    Hi, this is your noisy neighbor! Now I know your “dirty little secret”! Just kidding, lol!!

  13. melpels
    5 years ago

    This post might possibly be the highlight of my day. :)

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