I feel the need to admit that to the world. I love spandex, well to be fair spandex and lycra blends. I love the way it looks hanging on a clothes hanger, the way is feels in your hand, the way it fits when out riding your bike. It is truly a gift from God.
However, I didn’t always like it. In fact the first time I ever tried it on I thought myself a wee bit crazy. I had made the decision to do a triathlon and part of the undertaking was to find the perfect set of shorts and a top that would allow me to complete the swim, bike and run. I headed down to the local triathlon shop and asked what clothes were needed for such a race. The walls of the shop were full of brightly colored jerseys and shorts made from exotic materials claiming compression and wicking properties.
The salesman led me to the wall of wonder and handed me a blue pair of shorts and a matching top. He told me to go and try them on to see how they fit. I walked over to the small changing room and tried on my first piece of spandex.
It was a struggle to get the stretchy material over my head. The fibers unwilling to yield to my jelly donut filled frame. As the top slowly made its way on, I became convinced that spandex is actually made from the skin of a very stretchy animal or some ugly deep sea fish. Man could not make a material as stretchy and tight as spandex. I also started to think that I would have to buy two tops that day. The one I ripped while trying it on and the larger size that fit me.
After 10 minutes of struggle and a few size changes, I stood facing the dressing room mirror covered in blue spandex. I was a Smurf with white arms. My wife called from the store asking me to come outside so she could take a look at me. Thinking I would be arrested for indecent exposure if I stepped out of the dressing room I declined. I redressed in normal clothes and went to pay for my “triathlon outfit” as my wife called it.
Upon hearing the price for the pair of shorts and tank top I knew that spandex is made from an endangered species. It is the only way the manufacturers could justify charging such a high price. I walked out of the store with my new outfit in tow both embarrassed and proud at the same time.
I got home and stashed the outfit in my closet. It’s sat in it’s bag taunting me for a few days. I knew I would eventually have to wear it outside. The bag continued to taunt me until I finally mustered up enough courage to don the items and head outside for a bike ride.
I slowly dressed. First putting on the shorts and then the top. I approached the mirror and saw myself looking like a stuffed sausage. Not only did I look like a stuffed sausage I felt like one. Spandex leaves little to the imagination. I walked outside to catcalls and quick glances from neighbors. A few pictures were taken for blackmail purposes and soon enough I was riding my bike.
I rode fast that day. Scared that if I stopped more ridicule would be cast my way, but as I rode I discovered spandex is the most wonderful thing ever invented. It is better than gelled sugar, sports drinks and dare I say coffee. The way the material moves with you and protects you chafe is amazing. While wearing spandex, (harvested from deep sea fish), you feel like Superman. My love affair started that day and continues even as I type this.
I have come a long way since that fateful day. I am no longer embarrassed to walk outside clad in skin tight spandex. I’ve even become comfortable enough to walk into a coffee shop and drink coffee while wearing the exotic material. If formal wear was made from spandex I would wear a suit made from it to the opera. It has become one my favorite materials. I would love to discover the creature this material is harvested from and give it a big kiss. After kissing the creature, I would skin it and make a new pair of shorts I’m that in love with spandex.
Religion is a lot like spandex. At first it feels tight and constricting but then you realize it serves a purpose and your life is better with God in it. It goes from something uncomfortable to something you take everywhere with you. Give your faith enough time and one day you will wake up fully in love with God and in my case Spandex.