Friday, August 17, 2007

Thong Song

This morning, it being the end of my period, I grabbed a pair of panties that fall into the I Don’t Really Give A Shit About You category from the underwear drawer: cornflower-blue boyshorts with a wacked-out hieroglyph parade of tiny leopards, 80s-bubble hearts and yes, a ZIPPER in the front, plucked from a 5-for-a-dollar pile in downtown Los Angeles this spring. I slipped them on under my little grey shift dress and shoved my rump towards the mirror to see the pantyline situation. Given that I sit on my ass all day it was fine. And then I had a vivid recollection of my very first pair of thong underwear.

My first thong was purchased at The Urban Outfitters in Harvard Square as part of a 3 pair of panties for $x (15, maybe?) in what I believe to be 1995 or 1996. I know around this time I visited Ashbloem while she was working there folding shirts, and I was shyly awed by her ability to fold stuff with that little clipboard folder, not to mention shyly awed by her, period. I DO know I was working full time at the Harvard Business School then, and I remember my favorite pair of black BCBG pants that I wore all the time but when I wore them with this thong and my black turtleneck I was a force of fashion in my mind, and I remember also in those days that I worked out 5 days a week at the Bally’s in Porter Square because after I lost 12 pounds after a near-breakup I was determined to stay in shape and then was so nervous about looking good enough to go to my boyfriend-at-the-time’s best friend’s wedding in NEW YORK CITY that I worked out even more, ate grapes for dinner and went down to 104 pounds (my current 35 year old non-exercising vegan wine-swilling weight being between 112 and 116.)

I can still see the tag in my little black thong: HELENE it said, in all Chanel-style caps. When I got home and tried on this RACY article of clothing, it shocked the hell out of me to find that it was the most comfortable pair of panties I owned, because when a thong fits exactly right, it’s like wearing no undies at all. I adored this damn thong as it made me feel super-sophisticated and would sometimes launder it by hand in order to get a second wearing in a week. When packing my bag to go anywhere I made sure it was in the panty pile. I became one of those women who talked about how comfortable thongs were in the same tone that actresses use to describe how they eat whatever they want in interviews. When HELENE finally bit the dust I was so sad. I know HELENE moved to New York with me in 1997, and was a lucky pair of underwear for a long long time.

I’ve always imbued inanimate objects with auras and personalities, and feel about my underwear drawer a bit like I did about my stuffed animals when I was a child – and still do. There are clear favorites and outsiders, and then the kind of guilt one feels at having favorites, that leads to things like packing 7 pairs of panties for a 2 day trip so no one feels insulted, the same preposterous agony one feels choosing your MySpace Top 8.

And each pair of underwear has a story. My first Cosabella thong, long gone now, bright red, given me by my ex-so-called best friend, in 1999 when the Cosabella thong was the Prada messenger bag of panties.

When I lived with my good friend Hope in our railroad apartment, we would repeatedly buy each other cute underwear from Conway. I still have a pair she bought me that I haven’t yet worn: super sheer black bikini panties with marabou trim.

I remember wearing only men’s tightie-whities as I blew dry my hair in the Harvard Business School gym and thinking I was some kind of bad-ass, invoking the scene in Desperately Seeking Susan when Madonna dries her armpits in the Port Authority bathroom.

I lost the bra long ago but have a now non-matching black silk thong with lace flowers manufactured in the the pre-low-rise ear of thongery that I paid too much money for at Pink Slip in Grand Central Station: once a crown jewel of my underwear drawer, now relegated to the back of the rotation, due to its high waist and far-gone elastic.

And I have all the panties of Trey’s and my courtship heyday: lots of wispy things with tie-side ribbons that went best with thigh-highs under a skirt that I can’t be bothered to put on these days when I am groggy and late for work in the morning, opting instead for the beloved H&M black boyshorts. But how I remember getting wet under the fluorescent lights of Conway or Daffy’s, thinking of Trey and picking out pair after ridiculous pair. A few months later Trey took me to Agent Provocateur for the very first time and bought me the Peonie set: I remember strolling arm in arm down Mercer in our trenchcoats, feeling rich, loved, naughty and spoiled. And as I type this, I am wearing the dress I wore the day he asked me to marry me.

I remember, from a summer home from college, a favorite pair of sage green panties with lace trim and black polka dots from Filene’s that I retrieved from the floor one morning only to find that our dog had eaten the crotch in one bite while leaving the waistband intact, the way a little kid scrapes out the white of an Oreo.


Blogger Ashbloem said...

Great post. Now I want to go look at my underwear and think back on good times.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

I remember my first thong which original belong to my mom. She always had this little white thong that sat at the bottom of her underwear drawer for years (unwarn) until one day she asked me if I wanted it. I was pretty young at the time like 9 or 10 years old so I jumped at the chance.

I must of had that thong a good 6 or 6 years before I put it in the trash. It was the most comfortable thong I've ever warn and until this day can still never find one like it.

9:06 PM  

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