Plain Jane Wins Again


Sadly, this is not the first post about my underwear and I can’t promise you that it will be my last.   I know I am not the only suburban mom who could use continuous sprucing up in this area.  I’ve decided perhaps I need to start holding a monthly pow-wow with my lingerie drawer, to see who’s in and who needs replacing.  I’ll consider it part of my routine maintenance, just like dusting my base boards and mowing our lawn. I say “lingerie drawer” but don’t go crazy in your thinking.  I am, after all, a mini-van driving mom of three with about as much style as a mail sorter.

I know my good friend who is reading this will be shaking her head, as she spent some time overhauling my underwear drawer for me a couple of years back after telling me it was too frumpy.   The reality is that many of the styles my friend suggested just weren’t comfortable and I’ve spent the better part of two years wearing underwear around that don’t fit the right way in my quest to look and feel less homely as 40 loomed on the horizon.

I feel a bit like an addict who is admitting to a relapse, but I broke down and bought new underwear at Costco this week. It was a six-pack, with two black, two white, and two nude pairs.  I pushed my over-sized cart down the aisle and found them, next to boxes of plush slippers you might find in a rest home, men’s briefs, and ladies tennis socks packaged in bundles of eight.  Without much thought, I threw the six-pack into my cart, and it landed somewhere between my chicken cutlets, 48-ounce bottle of dish soap, and a double box of Honey Nut Cheerios.  The model on the cover looked to be a pretty plain Jane, but I liked the way the material felt on the sample they had clipped onto the rack.

Later that day, I tried them on in what I’d hoped would be the privacy of my own bedroom.  My six-year old popped out of my closet, in the midst of trying on my shoes, and watched with curiosity.   I then pulled out my favorite pair, black bikinis with pretty lace on both sides.  They are so worn they will eventually unravel, and I can’t find them anywhere.  I mostly like them because they are comfortable, but I’ll admit, the lace makes me feel less drab.  Hadley pursed her lips, and cast a disapproving look my way.  “Mom, I don’t think you should wear those….” she said, her voice trailing off.  “Why?”, I asked, truly puzzled.  “Well…you’re a mom.  Moms should wear the plain kind, you know, like the ones you just got at Costco.”  Her voice was upbeat and encouraging, as if to imply I had done the right thing by purchasing those horribly basic (yet admittedly quite comfortable) underpants.  To hear advice from the mouth of your six-year old is always eye-opening, in more ways than one.

It seems my kids have strong opinions about thongs too.  When they help me fold the laundry, the giggling never ends.  My son loves to laugh and say they shrunk in the dryer, or to tell me my thongs are “broken” because so much fabric is missing.   While I definitely don’t subscribe to my daughter’s theory about avoiding lacy bikini underwear, I have to say that I don’t think I’m ever mean to love thongs.  I’ve tried close to a dozen styles, and am continuously perplexed as to how anyone can say a thong feels like anything less than a massive piece of dental floss shoved up your ass.  On thong days, I can’t wait for bedtime just so I can get into my pajamas and away from that horrid little piece of fabric designed for vanity all in the name of hiding your panty line.

While I’m a bit embarrassed to be admitting that I bought my underwear at a warehouse, if mid-life is teaching me one thing, it’s that I am happiest at the corner of practical and comfortable.  As for the lace, I’m holding out hope that someday I’ll find more of those “perfect pairs” and scoop up three dozen.  And the thongs?  We just don’t get along.  Never have, never will.

May your best underwear days be ahead of you!




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