One of the things that I had to get used to while corseted is driving. I live in a city where public transit is… well… what’s a good way to say ‘lack lustre and uninspiring’? Don’t get me wrong, thousands of people get around solely by mass transit, and it’s true it’s not as terrible as it could be, but let’s be honest: I’m an independent gal who has whims. I’ve had a car since I was 16 and after that long you really get used to the idea of “wanna go somewhere? POOF you’re there!” where transit is more like… “plan out your day the night before, and be sure to give about an hour’s lead time to anything in case the bus is late/early/possessed by damned spirits”. Being driven, whether by bus, taxi, or pedi-cab is far easier than doing it yourself, but as stated above, that’s just not for me. (In case it isn’t self-evident, the following will explain why being driven cuts out about 90% of the troubles with driving laced up)
The first thing to do is realize that you DON’T have to drive corseted. You can always bring the thing with you and lace up once you get there. Of course I don’t do that because I am lazy, so I learned to adapt.
Lesson one: You have steel strapped to your torso, act like it. That gorgeous up and down posture that your stays force you into? Yeah, that’s going to start irritating the shit out of your back and possibly neck if you try to sit in your car seat with it reclined at all, like most people drive. Put that puppy into it’s full upright position, and don’t forget to adjust your mirrors to match. You might want to see if you can scoot your seat back a bit, too, if you feel like you are about to eat the steering wheel.
Lesson two: You have steep strapped to your torso, act like it (sorry, half-assed Fight Club reference). Before driving anywhere, see how much range of motion you have in your torso and neck. Pretend to check blind spots, pretend to check your mirrors before changing lanes, pretend to parallel park. If you are anything like me, you have ingrained muscle memory for all of these motions, and the corset is going to inhibit that. Plan accordingly, and if you don’t feel confident that you can see everything, take that sucker off or practice some more. For you more chesty ladies, there’s a good chance that sitting down with your butt lower than your hips will push the girls heavenward (called chinboob in my circles) this can be uncomfortable. Putting a little pillow under your tush can be the difference between driving easily and choking on your own tits.
Lesson three: Keep light on the pedals for a while. Maybe I’m weird, but when I drive in my corset I feel like a bit of one of those Weebles that I used to have as a kid (for those too young, “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”, these were little toys with weights in their round butts that would come right back if you tried to knock them over. It was a simpler time). My ramrod upright posture means that braking or accelerating too hard would make my whole upper body weave forward or backward, giving me the most uncomfortable “Dear gods I’m not actually attached to the car” feelings. (Did I mention that I might have a teensy tiny fear of dying in a car wreck? Yeah. Thanks dad.) Learning to stop and start smoothly should be in driver’s ed 101, but if you are more of a lead foot this is a great time to see about changing that. Also your gas mileage will thank you.
Lesson four: It’s hard to be graceful: Imagine a proper Victorian lady, crisply stepping out of a horse-drawn carriage. Her skirts swing before her in a very fetching manner, a lovely gentleman in a top hat and gloves holds out his hand to steady her as she sets each foot down primly on the pull out stair and then the ground. Elegant, graceful, and seemingly effortless. Trust me, this is NOT how you look getting out of a dusty coupe with bucket seats. I drive a late-ish model Honda. It’s lower to the ground than SOME cars, but it’s your standard commuter plugger. I very nearly resemble the crouching spider attempting to reach from the edge of your counter top to your waiting shoulder (don’t look now, but something seems to be creeping up on you…) If I’m in a full skirt or pants, this momentary awkwardness is usually hidden by my door, which I use strategically as a leverage to pull myself into a standing position. But if I’m wearing anything remotely tight (and for this purpose, anything tighter than a half circle skirt is “tight”) I can’t rightly stretch one leg out and down far enough to get to the ground to brace myself for the little “skooch-skooch pull and lift!” bit that I do normally. I have to throw one leg out as far as I can, then sort of wiggle my other leg over to meet it, then throw the first leg out again, and over and over in a most undignified manner until I’m close enough to the edge of my seat where I can twist and plant both feet on the ground simultaneously. If done with speed, one can get away with this. But I am not speedy. I am not graceful. And this little maneuver gets me laughed at by my partner all the damn time. (Happily, there is little chance of his reading this blog, so I might be bringing him up more often in the future).
Have I made the idea of driving while laced in sound far too complicated? In truth, this is one of the more aggravating things I have to deal with personally while corseted, so I might be a little bitter. Just like anything difficult, doing it more and more makes it easier. As long as I remember to think before I move, I can get in and out of cars with little trouble. I’m not above asking for a hand out of the car if I have someone with me, but on my own it’s getting easier all the time. I can now easily drive, change the radio, drink my coffee, and flip off inconsiderate drivers with a fair amount of ease. Honestly I find driving in stilettos more difficult. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life it’s that if you do anything often enough it becomes second nature (seriously, I can’t put away my socks without balling them up military-style, I pack my cigarettes in a very specific staccato, and I still kiss my hand and hit my car’s roof when running a yellow light)
So, what did I cover? Getting in (basically like normal, except I find it easier to just sort of throw myself in rather than sit on the edge and swing my legs over, like I am sure is more proper), adjusting seat and mirrors, practicing the moving part of driving, and the most dangerous part, getting out again.
There’s a chance I over analyze things too much. Being in a corset (and now, almost strictly in skirts) I’ve become even more aware of my body, what it can do and what it can’t do. Happily, though, instead of chronic pain being my main reason to keep aware, it’s the gentle restriction of my lovely ‘bodily support structure’. I hope I’ve been helpful and/or entertaining.