Surviving the Underpants Recession of 2016

After the washer’s spin cycle performed an unannounced shredding of my underpants, I had no choice but to implicate the entire family in a search for replacements. As I soon discovered, a glitzy mall is no place to find “normal” cotton panties.

“Why do we all have to go?” my husband asked.

“Because every woman dreams of getting married and parading her husband and teenage son around the underpants sections of department stores,” I replied.

My husband just stared at me blankly, so I showed him the mangled briefs, which only seemed to get him excited. Realizing he would never convince me that they could add spice to the bedroom, he shrugged his shoulders and told our son to put his shoes on because we were going to the mall. Our son, at this point, was happy because he had no idea that he would be underwear shopping for his mother.

I actually considered taking what was left of my undergarments with me so that I could show sales clerks the remnants of my style, but I realized I’d have to explain the holes, which didn’t make for a very interesting story. The aftermath looked like I did something spectacular to deserve this kind of wear and tear, but the only active thing I’d done, besides the laundry, was pedal the stationary bike. Blaming the holes on the exercise bike would only lead to more questions.

When we arrived at the mall, the first blast of perfumed air held much promise. I was just sure I’d find exactly what I needed, but store after store, I only saw lacy numbers that wouldn’t withstand my washer’s overzealous spirit.

My mission soon turned into a heart-pumping race of desperation. Eventually, I had a meltdown in Macy’s, where I plunged my hands into bins of shiny, showy thongs and asked, rather loudly, “Why? Why do people sell these things to women?”

Finally, a saleswoman, who had noticed the commotion—or perhaps the sequined underpants I was waving around like a “surrender flag”—approached.

“Come with me,” she said as she took my arm and led me to the back of the store. Clearly I was about to be arrested. I would be wearing state-issued drawers.

“Here,” she said as she opened the storage room door. “Here’s where we keep our less popular styles.”

There, in the dull gray stockroom, were my underpants. So, I wisely paid for as many as I could.

“What will you do if these pairs shred?” my husband asked, when we got into the car.

By now, I had pretty much resigned myself to the grim reality of the state of women’s undergarments. Realizing my “style” could be discontinued at any moment, I replied:

“Toss ‘em in glitter and be fashionable.”

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