Buckle up. We’re about to dance on the edge of TMI.
I promise to do my best to not get too intimate and present pictures you can’t unsee. But there are lessons to be learned here.
The topic is underwear. I was never one to care a lot about fancy or sexy underwear. Just not that kind of gal. My rules for underwear were simple:
1) Don’t bind.
3) Don’t peek out of my jeans. (Apparently, I broke that rule just yesterday as I put my carry-on luggage into the overhead. All apologies to Delta passengers flying from New Orleans to Boston.)
A million years ago, when I was doing standup, I had a set about ladies’ underwear. The premise was that underwear is classified based on size. Tiny little size-2 women wear panties. Panties are cute and sexy and lacy and let you speak in a little baby voice when you think it’ll help you get what you want. Mid-size gals like me don’t get to enjoy all the perks of panties. No high voices for us. We wear undies. Undies are much more utilitarian. You can play basketball or throw the discus in undies. (Two things I’ve done.) They do come in a variety of colors, so we have that. And anyone who shops in the plus-size section is forced to purchase plain ol’ underwear. No cute voices. No rainbow colors. Underwear has elastic made from old bungee cords and the fabric is unmilled cotton from Russia. Deal with it.
Side Note: That stand-up bit was years ago. Since then, Victoria’s secret is that she’s stopped being an exclusionary bitch and now wraps her arms around all of us. Women of all sizes now get a variety of fun, sexy choices. (I still don’t pick them. I still don’t speak in a baby voice.)
I never had a problem being in the undies category. It’s who I am. I never felt like sexy panties would change anything in my romantic life. My theory: If your partner needs to see you in sexy panties to remind them to take advantage of how your parts work, maybe you should just keep watching Jeopardy.
Perhaps I should confab with Mr. Parker on this? Well… Eh. Why?
But as I go through life, I’ve needed to add a rule or two to my undies requirements. The first addition came back in high school. I used to get dressed in the dark. Why? I took the early bus to school because I played sports. (As previously noted: Utilitarian undies can play sports.) I also shared a bedroom with my sister, who didn’t take the early bus, and I didn’t want to wake her up. Getting dressed in the dark was no big deal, but one morning I broke from my jeans tradition and chose white linen pants. I still don’t know why. So, I grabbed white undies, pulled on the pants, and went on my way. (Note: I did not scamper on my way. Scampering requires panties.)
By halfway through the school day I was noticing that people behind me were laughing. No idea why. Finally, I went into the girls’ room and looked at my backside in the mirror. There was my answer: visible through the white linen pants in thick navy letters across my undies were the words, “Bottoms Up.” That begat rule #4: No words on my undies. My ass is not a bumper-sticker.
So, four rules. Fine. But I recently realized that my standards have slipped significantly. Here’s what happened. It was time. I needed more undies and happened to be in a Walmart. (No hating.) I honestly don’t remember why we were there. Mr. Parker no doubt needed to buy some thing to fix a thing so he could make a thing. As I wandered the aisles, I passed packages of undies. Ten pair for 15 bucks. I thought, Dare I? They were solid colors. Not nice solid colors. Sad solid colors. Colors that likely had trade names like Band-Aids and Broken Dreams. But who was going to see them? Mr. Parker? Screw it. He signed the contract years ago.
The next decision was style. Bikinis or briefs? Hmm. Bikini sounded like they might be treading dangerously close to panty-shaped. What did “briefs” mean? I wasn’t looking for something underwear-size. But brief sounds…undie-ish? Not too big, right? I threw caution and 15 dollars to the wind.
When I got home and opened the package of briefs, I selected a color from the rainbow of disappointment. Let’s call that color Spilt Tea. Pulling them on, I saw there was nothing brief about them. Oooh, no. They just kept rising up. Past my navel, above the rib cage, approaching the boobs. If I put arm holes in them and hunched over, I’d have a bathing suit. Oh my shit!
Still…If I folded them over so they didn’t rise up and out of my jeans, it would be fine, right? I mean: 15 dollars.
Flash forward and we were visiting friends for a long stretch. Long enough that I needed to do a load of laundry while we were there. No problem. But the next day, my host came to my room. “You left underwear in the dryer. Here.”
Oh, shit. Panic. My mind raced. She said, “Underwear,” not “Undies.” I started praying, Please let it just be the pair with the holes. Not the Walmart Mega Briefs. Please, God. Not the Walmart Sad Sacks.
I need to back up. I had made another rule the last time we moved. My plan was to throw out anything with a hole in it. Start fresh. So, rule #5: No holes. I broke that rule immediately.
Back to panic at my friend’s house. The pair she’d found was not from the Walmart Misery Collection and it had no holes. Just a pair of lime-green undies. No harm, no foul. No having to think about the conversations my friend would be having with her husband about my sad secret life as a toothless grandmother on Skid Row.
I’ve now revised my list of undie requirements. Deleting all previous rules, I’ve whittled it down to one:
1) Have some damn dignity.
Turns out my dignity costs more than fifteen dollars. So I ask you, panties, undies or underwear? Do you have rules? Do you keep a clean pair in your purse, just in case?
Cheers and stay careful-ish,
Honey Parker has been writing, writing, writing for decades, decades, decades. In there, she has also been a standup comedian, a Hollywood screenwriter, a director, and a co-author of edgy business books. Careful-ish is her debut novel. It is the first in a trilogy. It is comedy-ish.