On small things with large meanings

Well, I did mention my purple lacy knickers in the last post. I was amused to find out a couple of my dear bloggy friends ‘fessed up to grey – dare I say boring? – undercrackers as their standard issue. Well, a few years ago I’d’ve had the same. Tired. Grey. Or black. I wore a lot of black. Baggy. Exceptionally plain and functional. And now, my only boring functional ones are a set of five (black, natch) neo-brutalist Big Pants, the sort Rosa Klebb probably wears, reserved for surfing the Red Menace. Everything else is pink and red and blue and purple and lacy and, well, black-and-lacy. I have the liveliest lingerie drawer in London (but I draw the line at thongs (hah! Draw the line! Thongs! I crack me up) because, really, I hate it very much indeed when an ordinary knicker gets wedged up there. Flossing my butt-cheeks on purpose? Na-ah).

My socks are more of the same. Pink and yellow and blue and red and green and polka-dotted and striped and covered in hearts. According to Mr Snazzy the Head Acupuncturist, my wildly cheerful socks were one of the reasons he diagnosed me as being in hiding from my true, live-wire self. To which I say, thank God he didn’t see my knickers.

(My bra choice, I must confess, is more along the functional, armor-plated, does-not-show-through-shirt axis. But I have a violent objection to bouncing and over-spill, not to mention bust-lumpiness due to over-enthusiastic lace and embroidery).

I’d never thought about why my taste in smalls changed so colossally. I know I used to think I wore very plain grey or black knickers because H really doesn’t like frills and suspenders and that sort of lingerie (he says it reminds him of something trussed for the oven). He does like black, though he insists he prefers absolutely nada. But I am fairly sure this was an excuse on my part. I think I really felt I didn’t deserve pretty knickers. Pretty knickers were for pretty women, sexy successful women. Pretty knickers were for girls whose mothers hadn’t bulk-brought bright white 20-pair multi-packs of Calvinistically stern underpants and insisted on them lasting for as long as possible. When I was fifteen, I still had a few ragged, tight and greyish pairs lingering on from my eleventh birthday.

The first time I brought lacy knickers for myself, it was a disaster. I panicked and grabbed the wrong size. I think I grabbed the wrong type of knicker altogether. They were too small, uncomfortable, and the lace panel was too, well, too much of the composition of the knicker, and more was on display than I was happy about. And H (for yes, I was dating him back then) disliked them intensely, and said so.

Back into stern pants it was, then.

Years passed. And one day I was in a big shop, looking for more immensely dull and puritanical undercarriage coverings, when I saw some fuchsia pink ones. They were otherwise perfectly plain, and something in me went, ah, feck it, and I bought them, and I wore them, and something else in me decided that if H ever had an issue with my underwear, he could always take it off, ha ha. And a few weeks later I bought a lacy pair. And a pair with big red flowers on. And a scarlet pair. And next thing you know, I was buying orange tee-shirts with deep scoop necks and pink silk brocade skirts and just, generally, you know, giving a toss about my appearance.

Odd, that it took so long. Odd, that it didn’t even have the narrative grace to coincide with a flowering of my artistic integrity. Surely, if this was a proper story, the cute undies and pretty frock should have meant dinner with a literary agent. *sigh*. Artistic integrity still very much tightly closed bud. Pants, fabulous, thanks.


10 responses to “On small things with large meanings

  • Illanare

    Totally with you on the fancy pants thing. Although I do have 3 categories of nether-garments: pretty, colourful matching sets for weekday wear; pretty but less flimsy and not matching for weekends and blackest of black granny-knickers for Aunt Flo.

    Significant Other, however, professes not to notice any difference.

  • Aphra Behn

    All mine are black, but a lot of them are lacy, which means that they match my bras. Colour me OCD, but I fret if my bras and knickers don’t match. I can manage fine on two bras thank you, but am a lazy laundress, so I need a plenitude of knickers (in more ways than one, alas) to go with them.

    But your knicker drawer sounds rather lovely, and now I am feeling all wistful. Perhaps it’s time for me to let a little colour into my nethers.

    Incididdly, one of the Shiny New Husband’s seniors barked a warning at him about fidelity, and not “having an affair with one of those girls with frilly knickers”. We came to the conclusion his away games must have been played in the 80s when camiknickers were in. Sweet.


  • a

    My older sister’s generation apparently only believe in white underwear. I have a variety of colors and most of it doesn’t match.

    I think everyone deserves pretty underwear!

  • Betty M

    I have a bit of a thing about matching bra and knickers though so cant reach for wild fuschia bottoms sans equivalent top. This is now an issue since I went to that bra place for the ahem larger topped lady and have emerged as a ludicrous very small back /humungous cup size which has made nearly all brands unwearable. I do now have a couple of super fab bras which fit me better than anything I ever worn in white and black.

    I also know a man (not my H) who matches his shirts to his boxers which I thing is weird.

  • twangy

    Yes, must agree on thongs. What is a thong (pair of thongs..?) if not a self-inflicted all-day wedgie?

  • Korechronicles

    In this country you wear thongs on your feet and they are made of rubber. The thong to which you refer? Never worn one, never likely to. I was a gymnast for years and my greatest fear was having my older and saggier training leotard fail to do due its duty and inflict a massive, embarrassing and totally visible wedgie upon my twisted self. Even though I was less than half my current body weight and eight inches shorter.

    And more recently my eyeballs have been assaulted daily by the exposed ‘whale tails’ of the young women looking for books on the lower shelves. Never, ever a good look.

    I do love pretty undies but am lazy about buying them for similar reasons to Betty M. I’ve gone utilitarian black, beige and fleetingly white. But I hear you and my task this week is to remedy that with some bold colour. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Womb For Improvement

    I clench my buttocks in shame at my grundies.

    But I do favour thongs; I can’t stand the visible pantie line thing. And because they are designed for the crack it is nothing like a wedgie. Wedgies only happen when all the material from a larger pant gets sucked in, it is the excess material makes it uncomfortable.

    • piquantmolly

      “Over-spill.” That’s a word for the too-small bra that I’ve never heard.

      I had heard “double-bump,” and my friends and I invented “boob bulge.” Vocabulary is fun!

    • May

      It’s not the wedge of cloth, it’s the sensation of having ANYTHING AT ALL rubbing in the crack. I’ve tried thongs. I must just have an anti-thong bottom. And I suppose some women have pro-thong bottoms – I know several people who swear they’re more comfortable than covering pants. Hmm. Someone could write a PhD about this…

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