Monday, July 13, 2015

What's Wrong With This Underwear?

By Mahlia Lindquist

My 21 year old daughter, Dylan, threw away my underwear last week. 

And not just old tattered undies from the 1990s, we are talking perfectly respectable briefs purchased this century. Some even within the past month. 

It started last week at the mall where a happy mother-daughter afternoon of lunch and shopping turned into an awkward intervention in the middle of ladies’ lingerie.
Dylan:  Um Mom, there’s something I’d like to talk to you about. I’ve been thinking. … Gosh this is really hard … Okay, I’ll just say it … Mom, er, you’d feel so much better about yourself if you wore pretty underwear 
Me: Awww, thank-you honey, but I actually feel okay about myself. 
Dylan: Sorry Mom, but only a person filled with self loathing wears Hanes ladies' cotton hip hugger briefs. They're hideous.
Being more of a shoe person when it comes to fashion, I admittedly don’t give much thought to underwear. So I considered my panty wardrobe. Not exactly cutting edge but not grannyish either. Functional and comfortable. Certainly not hideous.
Me: Young lady, that is an unkind thing to say to your mother. My underwear is NOT hideous. Besides, who cares? That’s why it’s call underwear, no one sees it. 
Dylan: Mom, remember, build it and they will come. 
Me:  Don’t you think that’s a weird and inappropriate thing to say to the person who gave you life? 
My appeals to Dylan’s filial sensibilities were of no consequence. In fact, she seemed to think it  her daughterly duty to convey the gravity of the situation, no matter how painful the telling might be. Again, I quote: “Mom, you are stylish enough on the outside, but your underwear situation is akin to a person who is superficially beautiful but harbors a black soul.

Yes, my daughter compared my underwear to a black soul. What seemed to me to be nondescript and inoffensive undergarments, to Dylan shocked the very conscience. 

So I relented as she led me to Victoria's Secret, a retailer she is well aware I abhor. A retailer I have taught her is part of an evil empire designed to perpetuate distorted, no make that f@#*ed up, notions of sex and the ideal woman. A retailer single handedly responsible for the felling of zillions of trees to publish it ubiquitous and misogynistic catalogues.

Yet, here I was, with my daughter in a Victoria's Secret, my equivalent of Dante's Lowest Circle of Hell.

There in hell, I got to thinking how I had utterly failed in passing on wholesome values to my progeny. How I was one of those dangerous and ineffective single moms that commentators warn are the bane of society. How I was a bad parent whose failures doomed  her daughters to lives of eating disorders.

I paused the self-flagellation long enough to wonder if Dylan wasn't right. Now that she mentioned it,  maybe I wasn't feeling so great about myself.  Perhaps new underwear would improve my self esteem!

Victoria's Secret was an experience, if nothing else. I was amazed by the dizzying array of bras, like the "Bombshell Add-2-Cups Multi-way Push-up" and the "So Obsessed Push-up." The selection of panties was just as exotic and overwhelming, and included variations of the "Cheeky," "Cheekini," "Cheekster" and "Itsy.

I was like one of the Beverly Hillbillies on her first day in civilization -- "look pa, their outhouse is inside the house!" 

At the same time, Dylan navigated the store with familiarity and ease, expertly sifting through and selecting panties she promised would change my life. Plainly, this was not my daughter's first Victoria’s Secret rodeo. I had the dazed, confused and anguished feeling of an Amish parent who has just discovered her child’s cell phone and stash of weed. 

As I came to my senses and examined  Dylan's choices, I momentarily rebelled:
Me: Seriously? One of these pairs has lace on the crotch. Everyone knows that lace is itchy and bad for the vagina. Plus these are thongs, which everyone also knows are unhygienic and only to be worn with clothing that is too tight across the ass in the first place.  
Dylan: Seriously? That’s ridiculous. I wear them every day [talk about an arrow to my heart] Trust me, you are going to feel soooooo much better. 
Me: But do we have to buy them at Victoria’s Secret, a company you are well aware objectifies women, plus is responsible for destroying huge swaths of forest so that its semi-pornographic catalogues featuring images of malnourished and photoshopped women can be delivered to billions of households around the globe?  Those catalogues send bad, bad messages to women that they are not good enough and create unrealistic expectations among young men.
Dylan: Exaggerate much? Plus, when it comes to  feeling beautiful, we sometimes have to compromise our principles. Your principled purchases are ugly. 
She had me there. Though loath to admit it,  if forced to choose between principles and pretty, I usually opt for pretty. 

And so I did. I bought buy five pairs of pretty panties, lovingly selected by my daughter to enhance my sense of well being.

Later that week, Dylan asked if I didn't feel better wearing my new pretty underwear. I guiltily thought of the Hanes hidden beneath my skirt, but thought it best to just agree, "yes, totally, I feel like a new person."

The next day  Dylan stalked into my room with all 5 pairs of the new, obviously unworn, panties in hand.   "You've been wearing your old underwear!"  I made a mental note to self to remove the price tags next time and guiltily mumbled something about saving them for a special occasion. Dylan, a determined look to her brow, in turn mumbled something about this not being over.

The following morning I opened our trash can, and found what appeared to be all of my underwear covered by used coffee grounds and other refuse. I ran upstairs to check my drawers, and just as I feared, all that was left was the 5 pair of new panties.

My daughter reminded me of a vigilante who pours alcohol down the drain in hopes of stopping a loved one from drinking.

And it worked for the first four days. Having no other choice, I wore the new underwear. While not life altering, they were just as comfy as the Hanes. If me wearing pretty underwear made my daughter  happy, then I was happy.

But then, on the 5th day, only the pair I had been avoiding all week was left, the lace thong. Resigned, I put them on. Definitely not comfy. Plus, I was wearing a dress and felt completely exposed. The undergarment-naming geniuses at Victoria's Secret should have named these the "Feel Naked" line of panties.

Oh well, Dylan claims to wear them every day, maybe I would get used to it.... Except I didn't.

I came home that night and informed her that her "pretty" underwear definitely did not make me feel better. In fact, they were uncomfortable and I was feeling positively worse. And now, thanks to her vigilantism,  I didn't have any normal underwear to put on. 

She actually started to look a bit sheepish. But then, as I changed, her guilty look turned into mirth followed by uproarious laughter.

It turns out I had the underwear on backwards. It also turns out that in the case of thong underwear, the tag sometimes goes in the front, something even the Beverly Hillbillies could have figured out just by looking at them. 

Dylan took pity on her mom and pulled out a few pairs of my preferred panties that she had wisely kept in case of emergency. 

She asked if I recalled the time she was 14 and I took her to Nordstrom's to get fitted for a bra, despite her mortified tears of protest. 

How could I forget? It was a scene that she often claims scarred her for life.

"Here," she said as she handed me my Hanes, "I think we're even now."

No comments:

Post a Comment