07/08/2013 05:49 pm ET Updated Sep 07, 2013

TumTape: Conversations With My Inner Critic

Karen Macauley, a British mother of four, became depressed after her skin stretched beyond return after all those pregnancies. And so, her invention, TumTape, was born. It's an adhesive bandage-like contraption (the prototype was made out of duct tape) that she describes as "a non-surgical tummy tuck." For her, it's a way to look better in her clothes and make some money at the same time. For me, it's an existential crisis.

My first thought when reading about TumTape:

Wow, this woman is going to make a mint.

Second thoughts:

That does NOT look comfortable. It borders dangerously close to those corsets we rejected a century ago. And those girdles we liberated ourselves from decades ago. Also, it's hard to imagine how one's romantic partner might respond when you return from your dolled-up-night out and seductively undress down to your ... under-stickums.

Aren't Spanx a whole lot less, ummm, frightening?

Followed almost immediately by:

Also, is that thing safe?

In an interview with, Macauley says she wore her creation for 24 hours to test what happens when it is removed from the skin. There were, she swears, no negative effects, though TODAY responsibly quotes a dermatologist's warning that prolonged exposure could cause a rash.

Which leads to this navel-gazing (get it?) question:

In a world where women pay extraordinary amounts of money to have doctors cut and inject and enhance them, is some potentially rash inducing adhesive really such a big deal?

Next thought -- the one that really should have been the first were I not so shallow:

This is what women look like, people. We sag, particularly after we've have babies. Yes, even the women we see on magazine covers, with headlines that say things like "Body After Baby!" Odds are they are airbrushed, or wearing some contraption like Macauley is marketing, or have their meals and work-outs overseen by a full-time staff. They are also, how shall I put this delicately -- genetic mutants. We worship what we cannot be.

It is sad that Macauley has a market. That the loosening and shifting that comes with living is something we all try so desperately to hide. You can blame it on nature if that makes you feel better, and convince yourself it's an evolutionary mandate that we respond to young and smooth. But in the details, "attractive" is cultural. Just look at Rubens. Or Marilyn Monroe.

Final thought:

Maybe I should try it? Sure does seem to work.