Las Vegas: Taking Molly in Heels is Modern Torture
Rolling Would Be More Fun If Not For Modern Torture
I wanted to be abducted so badly—pulled into a bright-blue chandelier that looked like a collection of sea glass, and left to float within, running my fingers through individual gems to hear them clink and chime. The club featured a centerpiece made of concentric rings. It moved in and out of the ceiling and when fully expanded, looked like an octopus hugging itself, each ring like a tentacle with lights attached.
We were in Las Vegas to see Alesso. My feet were covered in exactly seventeen blisters from walking around in heels to the various pool parties and other events we had attended during the day. Clubs in Las Vegas, grimy and smelling exclusively of cigarettes and desperation, require women to wear heels and tight, revealing dresses to most events. I yelled through the music to my boyfriend that I was going to toss my empty vodka soda and go to the restroom. He slipped me our little white baggy and I limped my way to the ladies’ room.
I mummified the seat in toilet paper and tugged and pulled at my Spanx, allowing all of my curves to show. I took a nice bump, sniffling and sighing at the instant relief from both how tipsy I was feeling and the pressure being taken off my feet. With my phone’s flashlight on, I investigated each individual pus-filled bubble on my toes. I dreaded putting my strappy little heels back on.
While washing my hands, the bathroom attendant handed me a paper towel and asked how I was doing. “My dogs are barking,” I told her.
“We have sandals for sale if you’d like some,” she replied.
This sweet woman transformed into an angel before my very eyes. “Yes, please, thank you,” I responded.
She had me sit on her stool and helped me slip the four-dollar department store flip-flops onto my swollen feet. I watched her open a little drawstring bag for me to put my heels into. I handed her $25 and left to find my boyfriend back on the dance floor.
“You really paid twenty-five dollars for those?” Alejandro yelled into my ear.
“Yes! I didn’t have a choice. It was either these or let my feet fall off,” I yelled back.
He shrugged and motioned for me to hand over the coke. I dug around in my wallet and gave it back to him and ate a little molly because I was bored.
The octopus chandelier had my full attention. Cold fog blasted sporadically from vents in the walls, cooling my body and making my skin scream. I swayed back and forth, enjoying my roll, thinking about how much better everything would feel if I could take off my Spanx and just put my feet up. My boyfriend grabbed me and pulled me into a hug. “You look so hot tonight,” he shouted.
Rolling in Vegas would be more fun if not for the modern-day torture devices women are forced into. It’s sexist that women are required to wear heels only for the club to profit off this rule pedaling women’s flip-flops when their feet begin to hurt. Why couldn’t I wear a nice pair of flats? Were they selling sandals to Alejandro?
Just before Vegas, I was exploring Lizzo’s new shapewear line, Yitty. I love Lizzo so much, I cried when I saw her perform. It was liberating to see fat women dancing on stage. But it felt contrarian for Lizzo, a body-positive woman, to create a line of clothing meant to hold bodies in and make them smaller.
I ultimately chose to wear Spanx and smooth out my body. I’ve always been a plus-size, curvy, thick-with-two-Q’s girlie. I was put into my first pair of Spanx when I was thirteen and going through the Holy Catholic Sacrament of Confirmation. Thinking about that in Vegas, I realized it wasn’t the dresses I always hated, but the Spanx I wore underneath.
Women’s bodies have never been our own. Even body positivity has become toxic, yet another way for others to look at our bodies. Women who are fat are required by others to love their bodies as they are. If they try to lose weight, it’s because they hate themselves, but if they stay plus-size, they’re considered unhealthy. On a greater scale, we are seeing in real-time the rights women fought for being stripped away from them with abortion restrictions and inaccessible birth control. Why can’t women just exist? Would the world be that much worse if I could own the rights to my own body? Body neutrality instead of positivity feels like a radical act in a world so focused on self-love. Can I hate my body’s size and appreciate the work it does for me at the same time?
The octopus-chandelier began to undulate. I snapped out of my internal debate about whether I was actively participating in the patriarchal control of women’s bodies in my heels and Spanx. I smiled at my boyfriend, breathed out as deeply as I could in my shapewear, and tried to enjoy what was left of the evening and the chemicals in my system.
Darci Flatley is an editor and storyteller with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of San Francisco.