Back in April, I promised myself that I was going to do a much needed cleaning out my underwear drawer. I’m going to be real with you: it still hasn’t happened. Instead, all I’ve done is buy MORE panties. I can’t resist the seven pairs for $26.50 at Aerie. It’s such a good deal! So, when I discovered that after my latest panty spree, I really can’t close my underwear drawer, I knew my undie hoarding problem was getting serious. This is not the case with bras. I only own, like, three bras to my 300 pairs of underwear. The problem is that I get sentimentally attached to my undies and can’t throw them away. They are not panties, they are memories. The first step is talking about some of the most important (no longer necessary to keep) pairs in my underwear drawer. Maybe this will give me the strength to toss them … and the 265 other pairs I don’t need.
1. The first pair of sexies. When I was in college, I dated this horrible person who was much older than me. The first time I spent the night at his place, when we walked into his tiny East Village apartment, there was some slinky, velvety black heap on the floor. I remember being startled, initially thinking it was rat. Quickly, the horrible person kicked the velvet heap under his loft bed with his steel-toed boot. This is when I realized that it was not a rat; it was a pair of panties. And they were not mine. I’d love to tell you that I slapped him across the face and stormed out of there, but that wouldn’t be honest. I continued to spend the night regularly for the next two years. When he would fall asleep (he slept like he was dead), I would check under his bed for panties. I never found another pair. I don’t assume that there stopped being other girls, I just assume he got less sloppy about leaving their panties laying around. But getting around to the most important part of this tale: instead of taking this foreign panty sighting as a cue to leave his place forever, I took it as a cue that I was wearing the wrong kind of underwear. I was barely out of high school and all of my undies were full coverage cotton, some with childish designs on them. The next day, I went to Victoria’s Secret and bought a pair of black velvet underwear with the strings on the side — just like the mystery ones on his floor. Over the years, they pilled in the wash, the butt stretched out until eventually I couldn’t wear them anymore because they looked like a diaper.
2. The first thong. Thanks to the popularity of Sisqo’s “Thong Song,” in late 2000 I got a call from my mother asking me if I ever wore “the kind of underwear that go up your tushie.” In Jewish mother speak, she meant thongs. She had seen them at Costco and wanted to know if she should buy me some. “They’re selling thongs at Costco?!” I shouted into the receiver. Who would have known Sisqo would have a hand in shaping my panty future. I politely declined my mother’s offer to buy the kind of underwear that “went up my tushie,” because when you’re 20, your mom shouldn’t buy your underwear anymore. I had stopped spending the night at the horrible person’s place and was feeling empowered with the pocket money from my shitty retail job and I decided that it was time for me to go out and buy my own pair of thongs. I went to the GAP (this was before they had a special GAP Body store) and bought a pair of white and a pair of black cotton thongs. This was in the early stages of thongwear, before they made the low-rise thongs. Ironic, because super low-rise jeans were in style. So my jeans came down below my ass crack and my thongs were up above my belly button. But the thong was very comfy if I just rolled them down below my jean line. They are so stretched out and holy now that I can pull them all the way up to the middle of my torso. Not a good look.
3. The confidence boosters. In 2006, I was in the midst of my Great 20-Something Breakup. I had to move out of my shared apartment into my own place. This meant I would be living alone for the first time. I was really sad. Like, really sad. And bringing my stuff from my old life didn’t seem appealing to me. Aside from my clothes and my books, I pretty much left everything with him at our old place or threw it away. Perhaps the only time I tossed a bunch of underwear at once was when I moved out. I kept my old underwear, but threw away most of the current pairs — just too painful. I thought a new collection of panties might help me start over. So, I found myself at the GAP again holding a 5-pack of full-coverage, colorful, low-rise bikini briefs with self-affirmations printed on the crotch in an old-fashioned typewriter font. They said, “I am smart,” “I am funny,” etc. I can’t say that they helped me through the Great 20-Something Breakup, but it was nice sometimes after a lonely day to look down at my crotch and be reminded that I was “cool” and “adventurous.” I still put them on when I’m having a low self-esteem day, but really, they’ve seen better days.
4. The first pair given to me by a dude. I always imagined that the first time a guy gave me a pair of underwear that they would be some lacy lingerie-y type thing for the purpose of something sexy. It wasn’t anything like that. At the ripe, young age of 30, I showed up for a sixth date — a lunch date because we worked near each other — and the guy had a “care package” for me: his band’s CD, a string thong with his band’s logo silk screened on the crotch and a slip of paper. “What’s this?” I asked about the slip of paper. “Oh, that’s for my dry-cleaning. Do you think you can pick it up? I’m really busy today.” The only good thing about this “care package” was that those underwear were a size XS. It’s touching how much a man can underestimate the size of your ass. I’m a solid M. When we broke up very soon after, I kept the panties because, well, someone in the world thought I was an XS, and also, to remind me what a dingleberry that guy was, should I ever miss him.
[Photo from Shutterstock]