A corset is a garment that girds the torso and shapes it according to the fashionable silhouette of the day. Most often it has been used for cinching the waist and supporting the breasts. This is what Wikipedia thinks, anyway. What is my definition of the corset? Thank you for asking. It depends on the day. When plagued by PMS and the like, well, a corset is a necessary evil–how else can one distort the female form into the hourglass ideal whilst hormones and nature have in mind something closer to, say, a treble clef?
But some days, when I’m feeling rather sane and disgusted by mankind in general, I’m all over the empire waist of the peasant gown. As sexy as a glo-worm on steroids. Think: 19th century muumuu. The ubiquitous and ever-popular caftan. Comfort over form. A bon-bon popping outfit to die in, er, for. On my corsetless days, nary a portrait artist would be permitted anywhere near the Hof. Could you imagine the damage to my reputation as history’s most perfectly molded empress should the Paparazzi catch me all bloated on one of my fat days? Can’t you just see the headline, with one of those arrows photoshopped in and pointing to my abdominal region: Sisi’s baby bump?
It is no secret that I boasted an 18-inch waist, and that I had my dear hairdresser Franziska measure it each day, while she tight-laced me into an hourglass so extreme, only three grains of sand might fall through it at once. Ladies, imagine squeezing yourself into a Spanx girdle, and then rolling a second one on over that, and then a third. Do you see the picture I’m trying to paint? Beauty is pain. Pain!
And, training the waist on a daily basis is not without its digestive consequences. All one’s intestines pushed up and down, the liver squeezed like Mr. Obie, causing an ancillary lobe to grow out the edges, ribs cracking, one’s waste compacted to the hardness of a battering ram. Not that I’m complaining–merely pointing out that maintaining the image of the perfect figure is not for sissies (not to be confused with sisi’s).