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My Waist Trainer Hell

With over 50 million users on Tinder alone, approved millennials are living the death of organic dating. That’s right. Kiss goodbye to impromptu drink offers from that hottie at the bar, website like this and save yourself the exhaustion of IRL flirting – because finding love has become a task reserved for cyber space.

You spend what feels like forever filtering through your Facebook photos to find the five that will represent you. That make you look flawless but not high-maintenance. Where you look cool, but not too quirky. That show off your figure without looking conceited. That imply you’re into fitness, but equally down for a greasy pizza.

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My Tinder profile pictures showcasing my many sides

I’ve been single for three years and in that time I’ve dipped in and out of more dating apps than I care to recall.

There’s Bumble, designed to empower women by encouraging them to make the first move. There’s Happn, the app that allows you to refine your romantic perimeters to a matter of metres, meaning you never have to leave East London again. Then there’s OkCupid and PlentyOfFish, the apps most frequented by the terrifyingly unstable. And of course, there’s Bumble’s nemesis Tinder, the go-to destination for guaranteed entertainment.

Though as satirically as I refer to them, this easy-access dating revolution comes with a sinister edge- it’s unprecedentedly addictive.

I’m Pippa, and I’m a Tinderholic.

You think I’m being dramatic don’t you? Okay, so it’s not quite cocaine – but online dating still deserves its own written warning. You become conditioned by this virtual world of seemingly unlimited suitors that you spend hours emotionlessly swiping through thousands of profiles, angling for a ‘match’ like a perverted game of snap. I’ve spent evenings locking eyes with handsome strangers across distant pub tables, and proceeded to skim through Happn in a bid to find their might-be profile; willing them to reciprocate my ‘crush’.

What happened to me? I used to be the girl that would brazenly walk over and say hello. Admitting that to you shames me to an impossible degree, but that’s just the nature of addiction – it changes you.

Of course I accept the shallowness of dating-apps by engaging in them myself. There’s no easier way to indulge your ego than to receive a message brimming with compliments from an unfamiliar boy. And then your phone lights-up in simulated joy to inform you of a new match; as you unlock your phone to vet his profile, you realise there is no profile to be found. He unmatched me. You tell yourself you don’t care – all the while futilely racking your brain; why did this virtual profile so callously reject mine? Did he think I was ugly?

Like an ineffective hit to a drug addict, I’m becoming numb to theatrics of modern-day dating. Will I ever fall into a relationship founded on more than age ranges and geographical locations?

Written by Pippa Bugg

www.pippabugg.com

In this day and age it is almost impossible to not be bombarded with flawless hour glass figures and flat tummies as soon as you roll over in the morning and check your Instagram feed. Dotted throughout this sea of snatched waists on my explore page are smiling women in corsets, pill little reminders of the hell I put myself through to achieve this figure- this is the story of my waist trainer hell.

 I’m 18 years old (17 at the time) and remember following Kim Kardashian’s waist training journey on social media and thought “why not”. Like any teen I wasn’t the most confident and lacked self esteem. Being a dark skinned girl with curves I thought to myself why not “enhance my beauty” as people would say and thought that waist training was a quick and effective way to achieve the flawless frame of an “Insta-girl”. They look perfect and make it all look so fun and easy, stuff with the likes of Khloe and Kylie Kardashian posting workout pictures wearing the trainer and hailing it as the holy grail behind their figure eight physique.

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Via @KylieJenner Instagram

I went off to purchase my own waist trainer for about £45; at the time I had no money but £45 but when you want to look flawless seemed like a worthy investment. I remember going for my fitting and struggling to find a waist trainer to even fit me in the first place (I was a size 12) because they were all too tight which just made things worse- I felt fatter than ever and it just solidified the idea in my head that I needed the waist trainer to loose weight. I finally found one that fit me (despite feeling suffocated) and wore that thing religiously from the moment I went to college to when I came home and got ready for bed. At first I started on the third (biggest hooks) on the waist trainer but as time went by my waist and belly adjusted and I was able to reach the first and smallest hooks which made me feel like I was positively progressing towards my goal, search but this was not without sacrifice.

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My journey in pictures

In college I would have no appetite and only drink green tea thinking this would help me speed up the process but was my belly not talking every lesson?! I literally had to personify my belly because the noise it was making was insane, it sounded like a hoover. I would get embarrassed but imagining looking like Kim K after it all… I guess I liked the sound of the hoover then. Sometimes I couldn’t even inhale properly and when people would ask what was up I would just lie and say it was the coursework and heavy workload that had me huffing and puffing so viciously. I remember during my media exam I was wearing my waist trainer on an empty stomach- that’s when shit got real. My belly literally disturbed the entire exam hall and I was in so much pain; my belly was moving in all different directions and I could feel shooting cramps- I couldn’t breathe and felt like I was about to throw up. It was such a depressing feeling as I couldn’t even concentrate on my exam and as soon as the examiner said “pens down” I ran out the class room and ran to the train station. I was so disorientated I lost my oyster card and the bus drivers were extremely inconsiderate so you can imagine the desperation I felt to go home. I remember calling my cousin Bree Runway crying my eyes out, begging her to leave work and come and pick me up, people were looking at me like I was insane but all I wanted to do was find a bathroom, vomit, pass out, lay on the floor and shed this awful contraption all at once.

Before this final straw, I worshipped my waist trainer, I could feel my body telling me this wasn’t the best idea but I didn’t care. Now ask me where that thing is please? It is somewhere rotting in a landfill because I threw it in a bin outside Sainsbury’s on the way home from that same exam. What seemed like a quick and effective way to achieve the ultimate body, quickly spiralled out of control and became my own personal hell. Yes, I did see some change in my body shape but the pain and depression it inflicted upon me was not worth it. Even recounting this experience to Leomie makes me feel sick so if you ask me, if you see a waist training ad on social media, scroll past and remember your body is not a toy to be messed with, especially not to achieve an unrealistic body standard.

Story, Abigail Burland

Edited by Leomie Anderson

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