Recently, I’ve been staggered to discover how many otherwise respectable people will chat about their scanties at the drop of a knicker. There are entire stores dedicated to selling lingerie -- and not just naughty places, either. To make matters worse, these emporiums are co-ed. In them, men and women openly discuss lingerie.
A few years back I visited such an establishment on my annual replenishment mission. Arriving early to avoid the crowds, I found a dozen varieties on display, including something called a thong. Underwear has two functions: to keep things out, and to keep things in. I can’t imagine how that bit of floss serves either purpose.
“They’re more comfortable than you think.” The salesgirl snatched up a lace jockstrap, waving it like a midshipman signaling the Third Fleet. With an effort, I refrained from grabbing her wrist. “When you wear them, you don’t have a panty line. So no one can tell you’re wearing panties.”
Although I prefer not to talk about underwear, it has never been one of my goals to make people think I don’t wear any.
“They’re on sale – six pairs for the price of five.”
I shook my head.
“Maybe something more conservative?” she said. “What do you normally wear? Bikinis? Hipsters? Sportsters? Hi-leg?”
A tide of color surged up my neck. How could such an attractive young woman have such a foul mouth?
Her voice took on a soothing note. “This happens a lot. Do you want me to check your tag?”
Before I could reply, she grabbed my hips, twirled me around, reached inside my drawers and twitched my tag out into the open. My face grew redder than the Valentine’s Day negligee special.
“The print on this tag is faded,” she said, tugging on my waistband.
In the next aisle over, a husband-in-training looked our way, grinned and nudged his girlfriend, and I understood for the first time how a nerdy high school freshman feels when an upper-classman administers a wedgie.
Life has a way of coming full circle, though.
When I was in my forties, I met and married Mr. Right. With his love and support I’ve managed to get baptized, stay away from slumber parties and maintain a reasonable inventory of undergarments. I truly realized he was Mr. Right the day he set off to buy some Fruit of the Looms and came back empty-handed.
“Don’t tell me Sam Walton ran out of undershorts,” I said. (It’s all right to discuss this topic within the sanctity of the marriage vow.)
“Nope,” he said. “I did what I always do. I found what I needed and then I checked to see who was running the cash register. It was a woman, so I put them back for another day.”
Finally, someone else who gets it.