Sunday, September 26, 2010

Adventures with underpants

There's a Shel Silverstein poem called Outside or Underneath? and I loved it as a kid.

Bob bought a hundred-dollar suit
But couldn't afford any underwear.
Says he, "If your outside looks real good
No one will know what's under there."

Jack bought some hundred-dollar shorts
But wore a suit with rips and tears.
Says he, "It won't matter what people see
As long as I know what's under there."

Tom bought a flute and a box of crayons,
Some bread and cheese and a golden pear.
And as for his suit or his underwear
He doesn't think about them much....or care.

But with all due respect to Mr. Silverstein and anti-materialists everywhere, I must say, I love underwear.  And this weekend, when I went to go find some cute Ute gear at the Gateway Victoria's Secret, they were having a 7 panties for $25 sale.  Random fact of the day: I totally don't care that I already have underpants coming out my ears.  When Victoria's Secret has this sale, I will buy seven more pairs of underoos.  It's like a universal law.

Unfortunately, this trip to VS was already not going as planned.  The sweet Ute shirt I wanted was sold out.  This left me with a dilemma.  I must go to the Homecoming Game wearing University of Utah colors, but I was not loving my remaining options.  (The first, a cute red shirt that came only in XL sizes, the second, an appropiately sized but slightly less cute gray shirt with UTAH written in red felt letters.  Why oh why did I wait until two hours before kickoff during Homecoming Week to buy my first Utah shirt of the season?) 

I decided to console myself by getting more underpants.  (Anyone out there shocked that I'm an emotional shopper?)  But as I glanced over the selection, I found myself annoyed.  Victoria's Secret usually has super comfy, slightly sassy underpants in a variety of shapes, materials, colors and patterns. 

Who needs purple herringbone bikini bottoms with a lace trim, you ask?

Who doesn't?  I reply.

Yet this display of underpants was decidedly less darling than I was used to.  No turquoise plaid.  No fluorescent yellow lace.  No little pink ribbon bows.  No slightly scandalous messages written across the bottom. 

What do we have instead?  Rhinestones on underpants.  Are you kidding me, Victoria's Secret people?  Ribbons are one thing, tacky metallic bulky ugliness is another.  No, that's not visible panty line you are seeing through my slacks, that's just my bedazzled underpant accoutrement.  Classy, right? 

I half-heartedly went through the motions of trying to find an additonal week's supply of undies while avoiding being touched by the jackals who were already pawing through drawers of unmentionables. 

And that's when things got weird.

First, an Asian mother and daughter were apparently intent on touching EVERY SINGLE PAIR OF UNDERPANTS IN THE STORE.  Stroking the material.  Tugging the material.  Another-descriptive-word-that-I-don't-want-to-use-in-context-with-underpants the material.

Look, I know we're all going to go home and wash the undies before wearing the undies for this very purpose, but could you please, please avoid rubbing someone else's (future) underpants?  You're kind of ruining the illusion that somehow my underwear magically appears in my drawers, laundry fresh and fabric softened, untouched by any human hands but my own.  And because they weren't speaking English, I didn't feel good about glaring at them.  Instead, I tried to move to another side of the display, but there I bumped into a scene far more uncomfortable. 

A middle aged husband with his wife.  Picking out underpants.

Here's the deal, gentlemen.  Victoria's Secret--and basically any lingerie section of any store ANYWHERE--is a place for ladies.  I remember dragging Diego into a Victoria's Secret once when I wanted to get some new perfume.  He later said he felt like he was obligated to give an apologetic, "Don't worry, I'm gay" to every female customer in the store. 

So there I was, in the Gateway Victoria's Secret, trying to avoid making eye contact with the middle-aged dude debating rhinestone thongs with his wife.  (I refer you to my concerns about VPL above, and move to end all further debate.)  And as I moved around the table ... BOOM, another guy with his girlfriend, picking out underpants.

And this one did not avoid eye contact.

He looked at me.

He looked at the underpants I was holding.

And then he looked back at me -- thereby breaking what is, I submit, the greatest social law of all time: Never, under any circumstances, let someone think you are visualizing their underpants.  At this point I was forced to relinquish the underpants I was holding, because obviously I don't want a stranger to know anything about my underwear.  (Aside from all you folks, of course, but really, what do you know other than I don't want fake diamond studs in my delicate laundry loads?) 

Everywhere I turned, there was something to weird me out.  The Undie Touchers.  Creepy Pro-Rhinestone Dude.  Eye Contact Dude.  Ladies who didn't understand that the No Bumping Into Strangers Rule goes for double when you're dealing with underwear.  And the Victoria's Secret Sales Girls, popping in with a cheery, "You finding everything okay?"

It's underpants, girls, not shopping for a car.  What do you think someone is going to say, "I'm looking for the comfort of a boyshort with the versatility of lace thong, without sacrificing wearability.  What can you show me in a seamless satin?"  Unlikely.

Ultimately, I grabbed seven random pairs of underpants and the gray Ute shirt, immediately regretted all my life choices, and kind of wished I just had some crayons and a pear. 

Oh childhood, how I miss you.
(A porn post followed up by an underpants post?  Yes, I'm on a roll this week.)


  1. And this is why I shop online. Mostly the underwear-touching, though.
    Also, I am glad I'm not the only one who gets sucked into the underwear sales at VS.

  2. I was thinking the same thing - definitely on a roll. heehee!