Monday, December 8, 2008

Under Where? Under There.

My blog-friend honeypiehorse recently wrote about needing to buy a new pair of underwear while traveling, and the most accessible pair was "fabulously expensive":

I also needed some new knickers while traveling last week, which I picked up at a Gap Body store on a "Buy 5 for $20" deal. Not fabulously expensive, but all five were not necessary. (I'd also recently purchased a pack at Costco.) But I splurged anyway, and as I was doing the laundry this morning, I found myself proud of my stack of underwear. They're all relatively new and clean. No holes and such. Made me feel like my life must be in some semblance of control because a pile of old, worn knickers is an indicator that you (1) don't have enough time, energy, or cash to shop, or (2) you've given up.

So while this blog really many not go anywhere important or interesting, I thought I'd give some thought to underwear this morning. I won't mention anything about my husband's underwear, for my guess is that he'd find a way to disengage my blog if I did. My kids' underwear is so cute, though -- especially those early pairs! To think how tiny they once were...

I know a few people who change their underwear twice a day. That means that they need a stockpile of at least 14 pair. My family changes only once a day -- at night during the PJ change. I haven't found the need for a clean pair after sleeping yet.

Is it OK to share underwear after a child has outgrown it? I have accepted and used hand-me-down underwear for my kids without any second thoughts, but my mom thought that was weird and a little gross. But the underwear was clean and stain free, so why not? (I've tried to avoid using "stain" during this post, but it has a useful and almost unavoidable purpose in a discussion on underwear.)

On the other hand, underwear -- especially the child variety -- really isn't very expensive, so maybe I've taken thriftiness to an objectionable level in my "reduce, reuse, recycle" convictions. I wouldn't want underwear hand-me-downs myself, so I probably shouldn't impose them on my children...

Against these conclusions (and apparently my better judgment), I've also passed underwear down. They were like new, however, because my daughter has strong hygiene practices and because I usually throw away any underwear that needs to be cleaned before it goes into the washing machine. Nevertheless, now that this blog has helped me agree with my mother, I won't make the mistake again of assuming someone else wants our used undies.

Wikipedia features an impressive history and display of "common contemporary types and styles of undergarments". I didn't know that a male thong was called a "tanga" or that demand for boxers is "easing off in favour of hipster trunks similar in design to the swimming trunks worn by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale." Interesting.

So in this free association on underwear, a few things have come to light:

Why is underwear referred to as a "pair"?
Used underwear shouldn't be paid forward.
I still don't feel the need to change underwear more than once a day.
Underwear really is disposable.
The state of one’s underwear may give clues to their state of life.
"Knickers" is a cool word.

I'd love to know if, after giving some thought to underwear, you have any flashes to add to this list. (And I mean "flash" in the enlightenment sense of the word not in the lack of underwear sense.)

(596 words)


  1. I have to ask. Why do you know people who change their underwear more than once a day? I mean, why do you KNOW that they do this? I don't think anyone has ever shared this sort of information with me. Do I not seem like the sort of person one can share personal information with? Am I too aloof? Now I'm worried. . . BTW L wears K's underwear all the time. And I use to wear my Raggedy Ann doll's underwear when I ran out. I mean, when I was 4.

  2. If the topic came up in conversation, I would feel comfortable sharing this information with you. (Clearly, since I put it online for anyone to know). So I don't think it's you; maybe you just attract private people.

    If I told you how I know about my friends' and family's underwear, I'd be outing them. And they may not be comfortable with that. They'll have to admit it themselves. :)

  3. Wot? You guys wear underwear?