Death by pantyhose? I think that's fair

This week I am introducing you to a game called “Who Invented That?” You won’t see it on the shelves of your local Wal-Mart. That’s because my patent is still pending. It should debut in the next six months or so. A redneck version aptly named “Who Thunk Up That Thar Deal?” will be released shortly thereafter.

The idea for this game has been percolating for years. Whether it’s simply the product of an overactive imagination or a fixation on assigning blame, I will let you be the judge. Whatever its genesis, folks of any age can participate, either individually or in a group.

Here’s how it goes. In phase one, you draw a card on which is listed an invention and you try to decide who created it, a man or a woman. See how easy it is? Let me just throw one out there to get you warmed up.

Panty hose. It’s my own personal experience with this invention that spawned this whole exciting game. Marry the heat and humidity of an Indiana summer with a tiny pair of nylons, and there’s no doubt in your mind. A man somewhere is to blame.

You women know what I mean. By the time you’re finished with your own special version of the “Twist and Shout,” your heart is hammering and you’re dripping with perspiration. The knowledge that your calisthenics have just burned 1000 calories in a futile attempt to ensure untwisted coverage of all involved surfaces is cold comfort.

Every single summer we have this conversation. “The man who invented these things should be drug out in the street and shot,” I mutter darkly, peering at Mr. Schrock.

“How do you know it was a man?” he replies, clicking the remote.

“Do you think a woman would invent something that cuts of all blood flow to her bottom half, gives her prickly heat rash, and rides up her…” I begin.

“Stop!” he cries, turning up the volume.

“And how about the wiggle factor?” I say irritably.

“Wiggle what?” he mumbles.

“Do you have any idea how much wiggling and shimmying it takes to get the darn things on?” I reply heatedly.

At this point, the poor man is clapping his hands over his ears and shouting, “La-la-la-la,” at the TV.

It happens every year.

Another dark brain child of what must be a masculine mind is the girdle, which will be one of the categories in my game. No woman would ever design a restraint that displaces roughly half of her body weight and deposits it up into her neck, making her face swell like a puffer fish and pushing her ear lobes out at right angles. We have the GBA (Girdle Burners of America) to thank for making this instrument of torture obsolete. Ladies, we salute you.

Now, since the first two were easy questions, I’m going to give you one that will really take some thinking. Here goes. Epidural injections. Oh, I know. You think it’s a slam-dunk female invention. But is it?

Having given birth four times – thrice with epidurals and once without – I am well aware of the almost superhuman strength that comes over a woman in the throes of labor. So is Mr. Schrock, who is only now regaining feeling in his hands from that last go-round.

What if some husband in Tuscaloosa wasn’t as fortunate as Mr. Schrock and to this day walks around with two limp hands? You can see how this could inspire a fellow’s creativity. If you really want to know the answer, though, you’ll have to buy the game.

Here’s one last sample question for you. Who invented seat warmers in SUVs?

Bingo. It was unquestionably a woman. When I informed You Know Who that I wanted heated seats in my next vehicle, he harrumphed. He snorted. He whiffled and huffed. Why, he wanted to know, was that necessary?

Unknowingly, he only confirmed what I’ve long suspected – women have more delicate heinies, and they don’t want them frostbitten. If he doesn’t need hot cross buns of his own to be a happy camper, well then, more power and all that. God love that girl, whoever she is, with the ingenuity to devise a way to get heat to not only my seat, but to thousands of women everywhere.

In the second phase of the game, the participants have fun speculating about appropriate punishments or commendations for the creators of the inventions in question. The guy who invented nylons? Death by hanging – with pantyhose. Mr. Epidural? You could name your first child after him. And Ms. Seat Heater? Ah, now she deserves a Nobel Prize.

Now, two years after this column's publication, the author is enjoying the heated seats in her mommy van.  She is throwing prizes, Nobel and otherwise, with both hands at the woman who invented them.  There's far more fun and frivolity on her blog, The Natives are Getting RestlessPop in and see for yourself.


  1. This is great, Rhonda! I love the line about two limp hands. I don't know why.

    And your mention of t-town got me all nostalgic. I went to the good ole' U of A, myself.



  2. Death by hanging is too good for him. I think he should be tied behind your seat-heated van (with pantyhose, of course) and dragged through a field of sharp rocks.

  3. Who invented the miracle bra? I know Howard Hughes gave us the bra designed specifically for Jane Russell, but the miracle bra is well... a miracle. I tried on one at VS and was astounded. My breasts were lifted so high they were practically under my chin. Outside the fact that it felt like I was wearing a harness and I could only take shallow breaths, by God I was lifted and separated!

  4. Thanks, girls!

    Poor Mr. Schrock. Whenever I would get an epidural, I was so scared, envisioning instant paralysis and all manner of horrible things. I would hold his hands and squeeze like crazy while Epidural Person stuck the needle in my spine. That's where the 'limp hands' came in. (It's not called 'labor' for nothing, that's for sure!)

    Thankfully, right now nylons are optional, so that lets the inventor off the hook. Or the nylon noose. Whichever.

  5. My mother always said, and repeats to this day: "You can always tell whether or not a lady is wearing a panty-girdle. She just looks well-dressed." (Yes, we are Southern. Why do you ask?) Much to her dismay, I never went over to the dark side. I have left panty girdles in public restroom trash cans all my life. She coerced me into wearing one, and as soon as I made it to a bathroom I peeled it off. Color me poorly dressed, and waiting in line to snap Mr. Girdle Inventor on the butt with his creation.

  6. Your description of putting on pantyhose is right on, especially when the pantyhose are the Control Top kind!

  7. Ha, ha, Carole! Snapping him with the girdle, huh? Good thinking. :)

    Barb, knee-highs are so much easier, but too, too cheesy for words. Thank goodness - we've been liberated!

  8. "Wiping laughter tears from my eyes." If laughter is truly good medicine (and I know it is), I'm at the pinnacle of health today.

  9. Feel that endorphin rush!

    Glad I could help (grins and bows).

  10. Damn Skippy on the death of panty hose! I seriously considered changing careers when the new chief judge started enforcing the dress code at the courthouse. Looking at my student loan balance, I decided to invest in slacks instead. Happily pantyhose and girdle free!

  11. Pantyhose are sexy gals. Skirts and bare legs suck!

  12. Ha, you stick up for pantyhose on this forum, it is best you remain anonymous. Take all threats of death by pantyhose seriously.


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