Today’s blog was inspired by the wonderful Alex Barclay. In her book, Blood runs Cold, Ms Barclay refers to a multi-pack of pastel-coloured cotton panties as ‘Darkroom panties; things would only develop in the dark’. She further proclaims that ‘every woman has a couple’. Well, for the record, I would like to put my hand up and declare ‘not this woman’! It’s a fantastic image, though, and I’m sure we all know immediately what she means.
In my teens, I decided that underwear should only be worn in one of two colours – black or white. Occasionally, I throw caution to the wind and wear something in purple, but that is only on rare occasions. When I was a teenager, leggings were invented and they were de rigeur for Drama students in the early nineties. Back then, the idea of a VPL (visible panty line) caused my blood to run cold and I adopted the habit of wearing only thongs. Or g-strings, as they were called in those days.
Not long after, I moved to Singapore, where such items of underwear were impossible to find. Even M&S didn’t carry a selection. I had mine sent out to me in what I referred to as ‘Red Cross Packages’, which also contained Sinutab and Neurofen, which were similarly unavailable in the Land of The Lion back then.
When I worked (here) in Bangkok, one of my colleagues bemoaned the fact that her boyfriend didn’t get the notion of period underwear. He couldn’t understand why, for those few days when she had her period, she wore grubbier, less sexy underwear than she did the rest of the time. This woman was Canadian – though her parents came from Korea – and he was a Brit, and she wondered if it was a cultural thing. I could shed no light, but figured it was probably more personal than cultural.
Obviously, my former colleague’s boyfriend thought that women should be sexily-dressed all the time, no matter how comfortable or otherwise their pants might make them feel.
Personally, I feel that regardless of what’s on display, whatever is next to my skin must be feminine. Even though no one else will see it, I make sure that my underwear is matching and comfortable. Even though a one-time flatmate of mine contended that g-strings couldn’t possibly be comfortable!
When it comes to children, however, I am distinctly unnerved by some of the products on the market. Large department stores have bra-tops for 4 year olds. Why? They also carry ranges of knickers that have things like ‘cute’, ‘lovely’ and even ‘sexy’ on them. Now, call me old-fashioned, but when it comes to children I really think that underwear should be of the type Alex Barclay refers to – plain cotton pastels. The odd flower here and there is also perfectly acceptable.
My eldest daughter wears bloomers (like these), which we pick up in India. She loves them – not least because we have to go to India to buy them – but her sister wouldn’t be caught dead in a pair! Even so young, they have definite ideas about what kind of underwear they like and will wear.
So what I’m wondering is, does our underwear say something about us? I’d guess it probably does, though I’ve not come across any research on the subject. So why don’t you ‘fess up and share with the rest of us what your knicker-drawer contains?