It was a stay-at-home day. The kiddo has a cold in the nose; it’s not the worst cold he’s ever had but it’s enough to give his eyes that “I don’t feel good” look. Y’all know that look, don’t you? It’s the one that when we adults have it, no amount of concealer or powder can hide it from the world. While he napped and helped me with the laundry, I decided to start on a little spring cleaning in my dresser. One area in particular.
The underwear drawers.
The fact that I call them the “underwear” drawers and not my “lingerie” drawers is telling. Lingerie is something pretty and fetching and sassy and has personality. Underwear equals utilitarian, practical, easy, boring, bland. And comfortable. Underwear is comfortable. You know what I’m talking about. I know you do.
Once upon a time, I used to wear undergarments that had personality. A little color here. A little satin there. Perhaps a touch of lace. Oooh la la. Sure they had to be washed separately; I had lingerie bags for the washer to help protect the bras from getting bent out of shape. Special hanging clips for them because they were never to see the inside of the dryer. And sachets for the lingerie drawers to add that final touch.
And then I had a baby.
In the words of Sweet Brown – lingerie bags and line drying: ain’t nobody got time for that after you bring your little one home.
True confession time. For years now, I’ve been about the least common denominator when it comes to ze undies. Cotton Jockeys. Hipsters. Bought in a three-pack. Toss in the dryer. Ready set go. Bland enough not to show through any fabric, but low enough in case my pants/jeans/shorts are the low-rise kind. If a showing thong waistband is known as a whale tale, I don’t even want to think about what a showing hipster is called. Do me a favor and don’t come up with any names for that one. There’s always room on my Dead to Me list….
My bras are a little more upscale, since I do need that damned underwire. No more slingshots with adjustable straps. These things are engineering wonders. Hoist ‘em up, lift, support and show ‘em off. Even folded, they take up some serious square footage in drawer and suitcase. That damned underwire is a necessary evil. Now that I’ve been successful doing the losing weight thing, I’m more toned on the upper belly. Yay me! But without that damned underwire to keep things where they need to be, I’m well on my way to becoming a cover girl for National Geographic: WASP Edition.
As I sorted through the drawers that hold my bras and panties and tights and Spanx (best thing ever), there, amongst the beige bras and black bras and sport bras and white bras was a red bra. A purple pushup. A pink balconette. And some matching panties.
Go figure. I had fun right there under my nose, totally forgotten about. My utilitarian Jockeys looked even more bland next to the good stuff. What makes this slightly ironic is that the one thing I bought in NYC was some pretty new lingerie. Matching bra/panty sets in crazy groovy patterns. A treat for me. Now my cups runneth over and then some. (Sue me. I couldn’t help myself with that one.)
It’s true, you know, what they say about wearing pretty underthings – it does make you feel good. And I’ve ashamedly gotten out of the habit of it, opting for practical and easy. That’s not to say that I’m a complete undergarment slacker. Everything is in pretty good shape. And I can hear my nana’s voice saying “always wear nice underwear in case you are in an accident” resonating in my head when it’s time to do laundry and I’m down to the REALLY comfortable pairs, if you catch my drift. In the same vein, she also told me never to walk across a grate in the sidewalk if I were wearing any sort of skirt, since the “men underground” would be able to look up it.
Yeah. I know.
There is so much being said about women taking care of themselves, in the face of the demands of family and career. I know this to be true, as I didn’t take care of myself for a long time after the premature birth of my son, but that’s another story or a hundred for another day.
Doesn’t something like wearing pretty underthings, even if no one but you know that they are there, qualify as taking care of yourself? You can take that meeting wearing an animal-print bra. Hit the PTA committee gathering in red lace. Give your doctor a chuckle with your pink polka dots. And sport a smile on your face the whole time. We’ve all heard this advice before. But I’ll be switched if it doesn’t work. At least from my experience.
As women of that certain age, comfortable (most of the time) in our own skin, shouldn’t what’s next to that skin be indicative of who we are and how we see ourselves?
One caveat: if you are wearing anything white, off-white, beige or any other of those potentially sheer and/or see-through fabrics, make sure your panties are shaded accordingly. Nothing makes a statement like that girl in the tight white capris with the striped panties. I’m sure you’ve seen her out and about. She gets around.
I don’t know if the baby thing was the primary precipitator for my shift from posh to utilitarian with the undies. Maybe it was just a gradual thing over time that came with age and marriage and all that jazz. Now, I could be in the minority with this – the rest of y’all might very well be living it up in your pretties and loving the lingerie life. So consider this my rejoining of the tribe.
This is the most time I’ve spent pondering my underwear since I got my first Teenform training bra in 1975 and was mortified that all the boys at the skating party could see it under my new yellow zip-up top. And now I need to get about the business of organizing my new pretties. And hunting down those lingerie washer bags.
I’m coming out. Under my clothes. How about you?
love, your favorite auntie