Sima’s Undergarments for Women (Stanger-Ross)

This is a story of a woman who struggled with her desire for a child and the guilt of her innocent teenage encounter which left her barren. Sima struggled with her own womanhood, but found a way to help others appreciate their bodies by selling good quality well fitting lingerie to the mostly very plain Jewish women of Boro Park. She kept her truth and guilt of her teenage sexual encounter a secret until a beautiful young woman appeared in her shop and began to help her see the flaws in her own ways. Timna became an obsession very quickly, both a motherly and sexual attraction…she was jealous of the idea of a grown daughter and the idea of being a young woman – confident and beautiful. When she became so obsessed with Timna’s life that she crossed a line and interfered, Timna did not hesitate to tell her to “take a look at her own life” and so Sima did. She confessed to her husband the real reason she was barren and explained how it was all her fault. He was so angry that she had kept it from him; not because he was mad she had one indiscretion as a teen, but because it had become a wall between them and not only had they not been able to have children, but they had lost the love between them. One very touching scene involved Sima trying to get him to help her unpack a box of plus sized lingerie, asking him to try on each piece so she could see how it looked. She had him put on a corset and he became very agitated, trapped in the monstrous thing. I believe the corset was a metaphor for both of their lives; she had been trapped inside and he had been trapped outside. But she finally allowed herself to take the corset off and allow him in again, realizing that they’d never get back the time they lost but would do what they could with the time they now had.

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