This is Not the Time for Underwear

Note: It is underwear not panty. Panty is for the breathy, borderline pervy, British woman in Victoria’s Secret commercials. Those ads make me want to wear boxers and avoid underwear synonyms all together. ‘Undies’ is also kind of acceptable.

I have always found underwear necessary. The obvious prerequisite to pants. Free bird?…for birds. I was never an exhibitionist. Never one to take off in a 100-meter sprint the minute the diaper was off. Pin me back up, give me my pants and point me in the direction of someone with candy. Should the paparazzi ever photograph me getting out of a vehicle, I prefer they see a commentary on my whimsical personality (polkadots or a quirky floral), as apposed to a visual aid for the Vagina Monologues. Growing up I never much appreciated when my friends slept in their pj’s without it and definitely did not envy the kids who peed their pants and had to go commando in denim; equivalent to nails on a chalkboard. Underwear was made for a reason (as were toilets).

When trying on swimsuits, however, I hated underwear. In my child-brained opinion it “looked dumb and felt dumb.” I still pretty much carry that sentiment, but as a grown person I am well aware of the justifiable health reasons why it’s a good idea. Back then, though, I remember having a 10-minute argument with my mother in the Pamida dressing room. She had to explain over and over that I didn’t actually have to wear my underwear underneath my suit at the pool…JUST IN THE STORE. I sometimes wonder if she ever wished I was switched at birth.

The LeotardI also faced an underwear intolerance the year I got my leotard for Christmas, which I was firmly told was not a swimsuit and could not be worn in water. Too. Many. Rules.

Of course, since I now had a leotard, I was a gymnast. Tumbling class at the Ewert was really the only attempt by my parents at fostering a niche outside of things that required a ball. It lasted a year. I was not a gymnast. I’m guessing my mother saw my cartwheel (which was more prehistoric-lopsided-boulder-wheel, less well-framed-wood-wheel-with-spokes) and was like, yep, not wasting money on that. Plus, I don’t think Olympians used walls to do handstands. I was a ballplayer and a creator, not the future Carrie Strug.

However, upon signing me up for tumbling class, another underwear debate ensued between my mother and I. (I know what you’re thinking, “How could underwear cause such dissonance in the family unit?”) She was concerned about what was appropriate. I was concerned about what the Olympians did. I was also completely apposed to looking like the weird girl in class whose underwear stuck out of her leotard and had the habit of shamelessly picking her butt. The compromise ended up being tights. I was cool with that.

In the 90’s, bodysuits were in. The appeal resided in the fact that you didn’t have to keep tucking in your shirt. It was also anti-buttcrack should you bend over. The leotard’s mentally disturbed cousin, if you ask me. As if a mad scientist got sick of stitching together random body parts and decided to start stitching together random clothing parts. Underwearshirt! Excellent! Muahahaha. [Lots of lightening and smoke.]

They give me nightmares. And apparently they are back in style. The minute I see one I am flooded with 2 sentiments.

One: Perpetual wedgy. Especially for people like me who have a long torso. Next to my Z-Cavaricci shorts rolled up as short as possible, my pink knit bodysuit was my favorite article of clothing in the mid-90s. I have two years of photo documentation and video to prove that I may have wore nothing else, only because I was pretty sure hip hop dancers wore nothing else, also. It didn’t matter how many times I had to figure out a discrete way of de-wedgy-ing, I was going to be a hiphop dancer and that bodysuit made me legit.

Two: Complete claustrophobic anxiety. I envision myself having to pee really bad and then essentially being restrained by a straightjacket. Gives me heart palpitations and makes my palms sweaty just thinking about it. They are inconvenient, impractical and all my realized fears of being left behind. Seriously. I almost got locked indefinitely in a Sioux Falls ball field restroom at the end of the night once just because of my bodysuit. If all I had to do was an underwear-pant-combo pull-up, instead of re-snapping my bodysuit then pulling up my pants, I would probably see the world differently today. Stuff like that changes a person, you know? [Pause for dramatic effect.]

Fact is, at the end of the day, underwear is almost always best. And sometimes it saves lives…or at least keeps faces off a milk carton.

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