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The orphans Jim and John Hoods had to survive in America back in the hungry 1930s. During the Great Depression, many had to figuratively tighten their belts because they had nothing to eat, Jim on the other hand tightened his belt literally and made a living off it by showing it off in the street. And once his waist became worthy of a real freak show, Jim was hired by the local circus.
In his late teens, Jim met his guru for life, the avid physician Dr. Dorianne Smith.
About 20 years ago, Dr. Smith's younger sister Melissa suffered a terrible disease caused by her overly enthusiastic tight-lacing practice; Dorianne was a student at the medical institute at the time and she literally digged up all the information about all the internal organs in the human body in hope to relief her sister's pains, but still couldn't help her survive the illness. During the burial, she officially set the goal of her life to invent the safest method for a human being to bear a corset.
After her graduation, Smith lived for almost 10 years in India, studying ayurveda and various yogic disciplines, especially stomach vacuums and nauli-kriya. She returned to the USA only to find out that the long-term fashion for wasp waists was over. Like, whoops! It was now fine for American women to have waist sizes over 20 inches and many of them dropped wearing corsets. That news made her fall in depression for the long 2 years until a friend told her there's a show in the circus that reminded her of Dorianne's early studies.
She talked to Jim in the backstage after his show and was very passionate about his performance. As much as she was surprised that the performer was male, he was the most perfect tight-lacer she has ever witnessed. She invited both him and his brother to her lab, which was like a mini-temple of waist-cinching. The walls were covered with medical charts, illustrations and photographs of avid corset-bearers of the past. She even had an interesting device called Guroscope that would show your internals if you looked at your body through its screen. She explained it's useful to know where to poke in case something went wrong in the process of compression.
With Dr. Smith's help, Jim quickly got into pipestem corsets, the kind that cinches the entire mid-section between the ribcage and hipbone, much like a really wide belt. Stem corsets only appeared in fiction until Jim finally demonstrated the sensational results of several months of work to the audience of over a 1000 people and got his pictures printed pretty much everywhere:
"Suicidal games: Young man cinches waist with a 14x5" tube and survives!"
"New fashion: Self-abuse or Art?"
"Wasp Boy conquers new dimension, gets more fans"
"Circus sensation: Gutless act of bravery"
"Second neck: Part of the divine plan or work of the devil?"
"Economy in crisis: The Art of tightening the belt"
"Young Prodigy! A beggar boy's show topped the charts"