The mind reels.
The sexes blur. We all may be at our physical peak when entropy is compressing
our dermis, but our brains are sometimes slow to cope. "I go into my health
club," one young Maryland woman recently told me. "Sure, I'd like to
meet a guy. The lights are low, the music is right, everyone is young and
healthy. I see some guy pumping iron. I like how he looks. But my god, he's
wearing Lycra tights. He's not even gay, and he's wearing Lycra tights. Orange
ones, gold ones, yellow ones. I think, You could have been my husband, but
you're wearing yellow Lycra tights."
Who would have
thought? Not Shivers, who has devoted a tranquil retirement to reading history,
traveling the world and staying active in a wine-tasting club. Du Pont recently
honored Shivers for being the father of Lycra. But he is a modest man. He says
Lycra was a team effort. "In research, we all basically stand on the
shoulders of others," he says.
At 69, he has not
gotten deeply into wearing things containing Lycra. "Oh, I suppose I've got
a little holding up my socks and shorts," he says. "But I've never had
nerve enough to buy any tights or anything."
talk about whether he received a bonus for his work, except to say that Du Pont
does have a bonus program in place today. "I always say that life has all
sorts of bonuses that have nothing to do with money," he says.
"Sometimes when I'm in a department store, I'll see the little Lycra
clothes hanging on a rack. I'll walk over and peek at a label. It'll say 25%
LYCRA, and I'll think, 'Isn't that great!' I'm just tickled to death."