Saturday, April 5, 2014

But Maybe I'll Wait Till Margaret Day

So I lost weight, and have to buy new underpants. The size should be whatever my current size is, minus one. The style is a whole different issue. As with most things these days, there is a paralyzing oversufficiency of choices: thong bikini string bikini boy short hipster hi-cut brief and, Lord Love A Newt In Springtime, the C-string. My current style has been derided as Granny Panties. There's nothing wrong with them that higher-waist pants wouldn't fix, but choices in pants have shrunk. And they're not granny panties. They are French Cut. Yes, they stick up two inches above my pants, which is supposed to be a good look, if you're not my sex or age, and have way different taste in music. There are too many rules. Who can keep track?

Anyone who thinks my French Cut underpants are voluminous should have seen my mother's underpants, which, when they were hanging on the line, were visible from blocks away. We played in their shade. Mom's underpants were satiny and capacious and had no elastic at the bottom, but featured a tiny leg with a one-inch inseam. In this respect they resembled what is now called the Boy Short. Basically, they were boy shorts that had ballooned into maturity and were beginning to geeze. Current styles include some that promise "full coverage," but they don't know the meaning of the term. Mom's underpants covered the nether portions completely and went quite a ways north of nether, also. This was a garment of sufficient capacity to cause men to lose curiosity about what lay beneath. My mother was a lady.

I was a miracle baby.

You know, people didn't used to wear underpants. That's a new thing. Modern underpants began to appear in the 1930s. Men's briefs were introduced with the tag-line "restful buoyancy." Such is the power of advertising that men contrasted their previous carefree years of Swingy Floppitance with the promised Restful Buoyancy, and lined up to buy underpants.

Women also managed to make it through a million years of evolution without underpants until the 1930s, when commercial forces collectively said, Depression? I'll give you something to be depressed about. To be fair, there is a certain point to underpants for women who insist on wearing pants. The underpants are a zone of protection against fabric incursions that delicate tissues cannot tolerate and laundry detergent cannot expunge. The solution is to go back to dresses. Women seeking warmth wore crotchless underwear at one point, with two unjoined pants legs held up by garters, and what we now consider the important part left out altogether. It was quite enough trouble to haul up all the skirts and petticoats every time you needed to tinkle without having to negotiate panty removal also.

Knickers were widely worn by women, and worn widely by some women. But even on them, they
were loose. We could learn from them. The day we women began wearing underpants, we had created a slippery slope. Sooner or later, we will hit the bottom.

44 comments:

  1. If finding a pair that fit all of my nether regions and were comfortable weren't such a problem these days, I'd be howling with laughter. As it was, I managed to keep it to a dull roar.

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    1. Got to have room for the liners, sometimes, too.

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  2. You just kill me! Plus I learn a lot . . . Swingy Floppitance. Must use that in a sentence.

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    1. I'd be curious to see if you could use it in a sentence that didn't involve men's briefs.

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    2. Band Name for a folk music revival?

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    3. Bet they got a great back beat!

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  3. Coming from a farming family I can assure you no farmer's wife wore underwear. Out in the fields they just spread and peed. Or, whatever.

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    1. I'm always grateful for the corroboration!

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  4. So, um... what kind of "business" are those guys getting down to? Doesn't look like restful buoyancy to me...

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    1. It doesn't look at all restful, no. Possibly buoyant.

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  5. So the young ladies in the limelight these days who are being photographed without undies are either ahead of the curve or really, really old-fashioned? ... wait, neither of those seems right ...

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    1. It's true you can see exactly what's ahead of the curve, though.

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  6. I just saw today that wearing socks (birkensocks, as it were) with Birkenstocks is de rigueur. I am finally ahead of the fashion curve. And when they bring back crotchless, legless knickers, I'll be there again.

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    1. Well it's plenty de rigueur in Portland. I thought it was totally normal and then I wore socks with sandals in Maine and people laughed at me.

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  7. I hate underwear shopping as I never look anything like the model on the tag...even in grannie painties. I need to buy some new bras, I must have lost weight, but I only lose it in the bra area and they start riding up!

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    1. This is just my opinion, but if your bra is capable of riding up, you don't need a bra.

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  8. Replies
    1. Some of US are beginning to geeze too, I don't mind saying.

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  9. They stopped making my favorite undies.

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    1. Did you check the Vermont Country Store? They got all kinds of old crap in there.

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  10. I've been thinking about your title. Why wait? (Margaret was your sister, no?) It seems to me there is a story there ...

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    1. I link to it once a year around December 13th, but since you asked (and thank you): here.

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    2. Ahh ... now I remember! Will put it on my calendar. That was a terrific tribute.

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  11. Concerning this blog entry, I have to admit that the Munsingwear ad proved to be a total distraction.....

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  12. Swingy Floppitance??
    I LOVE your mind!!
    I've been wearing "granny panties" also known as "full briefs" for years now. They cover me, they're comfy and they stay where they're put.
    I'm concerned too about the new style of "low rise" pants and jeans that don't come much higher than the pubic bone. Never bought any and never will. I prefer pants that sit on my hip bones. I find them these days in secondhand shops. I solve the problem of undies showing above the waistband by wearing t-shirts that are slightly longer than the mini dresses I used to wear. Hides the belly roll nicely too.

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    1. Oh those dresses. Speaking of swingy floppitance, can you still do the dip-and-swing when you dropped a pencil on the floor?

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    2. I can, sort of, but not if I want to move the next day. Care is needed. Perhaps a very slow dip and swing. or not.

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  13. I have learned two lessons in buying underwear over the past forty years. One is that I can usually find my preferred style online. Two is, don't let your daughter do your online shopping!

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    1. That's how you get underpants that disappear altogether. Like a man in a sinkhole.

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  14. I get such an education here. What with being a guy and all, these are things to which I have never given much thought. Now I am a fount of knowledge on the brief history of ladies unmentionables. Thanks Murr!

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    1. P.S. I already knew about Swingy Floppitance, though.

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    2. What with begin a guy and all, these are things to which you have probably given endless amounts of thought.

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  15. On my list of personal things I do not enjoy doing, finding the right style of underwear ranks second. First is the never ending search for a bra that actually fits properly (which in my 62 years has never been accomplished).

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    1. I'd have to put figuring out my taxes first, but THEN underwear shopping. I have been professionally fitted for a bra twice, and have two bras that fit me properly. Guess what? They're still loathsome.

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    2. I finally found a bra that fits properly without any pain. It's made by Bali and is stretchy all over. Fit me just fine even as the rest of my clothes went down three sizes.

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  16. Oh, and at first I thought the underwear hanging in the first photo was a curtain swag! Here I thought you were gettin' fancy in your decor!

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    1. There are no curtains in my house. If you get my drift.

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  17. I got used to bikini panties that hit right across the C-section scar. French cut never did much for me. But try to find bikini panties in size 9? I'm at the point where I can either sew my own or lose weight.

    As for peeing alfresco, I learned that you just leave the undies in place but pull the leg elastic aside from the hydraulics.

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    1. When I was in college, the uniform was patched jeans + onesie leotard. People told each other about the pulling-the-elastic-aside gambit and we all tried it and it worked. But it was so hard to let go that first time.

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  18. I probably shouldn't comment.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. You do have your moments of wisdom and discretion.

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  19. Those Munsinger's men's briefs with the elastic seat up there look like they have potential. Oh sure, you might have an extra bit of foldage and flappage, but what's an extra fold or two? Seriously, the underwear manufacturers have it all wrong. I suspect there are way more Boomers expanding and needing more coverage than there are those tiny little things who want less and less. Yet they persist in making underwear smaller and less habitable. We don't want to put something into a part of our bottoms where we normally are trying to get things out, we want comfort and not to have to think about it. I'm with your mom.

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    1. Me too. But I'll bet there's another whole market of Boomers out there that refuse to acknowledge they're getting old, because we were never planning to do that. Between the two markets, thongs are disappearing among old people, and also IN old people.

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