Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Moldy Oldie: Trash Your Panties!

Awhile back I mentioned this Washington Square News "op/ed" I wrote in the spring of 2000. It was headlined "Trash Your Panties: Going Commando With Camille." Sadly, it was by far the best thing I ever wrote for the paper. Hope you enjoy it.
Thirty years ago we burned our bras. We didn’t go far enough.

I have issues with underpants. They are expensive, unnecessary and often uncomfortable. No one ever seriously considers the possibility that we women could avoid the nearest Victoria’s Secret (or K-Mart) altogether in favor of a far more authentic way to live - with perfect freedom.

The prospect of going “commando” always makes for a hearty laugh, and it’s true that there’s no better place for a pair of lacy panties than atop an inebriated frat guy’s head. But why do we bother wearing underpants at all? Underwear, if you’re in the market for something a little more feminine than a pair of bland white cotton undies, will cost you more money than I consider it to be worth.

A girl makes a trip to the lingerie department for one reason and one reason only, whether she admits it or not — she’s looking for the most enticing scrap of something sheer and frilly just in case the opportunity for a certain type of encounter with the opposite sex should arise. In that case, why bother wasting $30 on a pair of underpants that are just going to be ripped off with wild beastly abandon anyway? So what if the joy of unwrapping the present is gone with the panties; we have more important assets to make use of.

Not that I’m advocating a panty boycott to make it easier for those crazy boys. It makes absolute sense that female underwear evolved from the chastity belt, the ultimate symbol of feminine oppression. It is for that very reason that we should abstain from wearing panties; such a defiant act would symbolize quite appropriately the social freedom we continue to desire with such fervor.

Fetishization of female undergarments is certainly widespread; girls, if you’re ever in desperate need of tuition money, you can always sell your panties steeped in that oh-so-attractive “natural aroma” online and make a bundle. (If I weren’t so concerned with simple decency, I might advocate ridding yourself of every pair you own by this method; it’s certainly more profitable than throwing them out in the trash.) If we were to avoid the wearing of underpants, men would have to find a more productive and meaningful garment to worship. I suggest socks because of their wintry practicality and distance from the danger zone.

Reasons of simplicity and freedom aside, we should reject the restrictions imposed upon us by underwear simply because this article of clothing is a constant source of male delight and strange fascination. We still want them to be fascinated, of course — just not with our panties. Getting rid of them now would force men to hurry a little faster along that evolutionary path. The absence of underwear also makes it easier for the more carnal and filthy-minded among them to get what they want, but I’m not worried. Men like that use newspapers for house-training themselves rather than for reading material, so if this idea catches on, they won’t know about it.

No more annoying wedgies, no more unsightly panty lines and no more hard-earned money wasted on garments that nobody is ever going to see. (At least that’s what your mother thinks.) It’s a curious thing that no one ever included the suggestion to “get rid of your underwear” in any of those “Simplify Your Life” books. Spend your money on something more practical, like ice cream, crossword puzzle magazines or itching powder. I’m holding onto my bra though; there’s a three-letter word that begins with S and ends with G that scares me too thoroughly to light that match.

3 comments:

Susan said...

This made me want to go back and reread all of your articles...however, as one who as recently folded your underwear and thought you could use a gift card to VS, I'm glad to see you haven't changed your values in the intervening years;-)

Emily said...

lol!

Kate said...

I think instead of nerdiness, the label should be scandalous! I'm shocked! I'm appalled! And mother, I can't believe you're condoning this kind of writing! Blasphemy!