Frilly Girlish Things

by Lois Greene Stone

Lois Greene on a ship's pole. Original snapshot in the Division of
Community Life, The Smithsonian Institution, accessioned 6/16/89

The Millennium. The Millennium. Whatís all the fuss about? Little is different for most of us, as far as everyday things, except the dateís been starting with a 2.

Certainly shopping for essentials, like women's panties, has been just as tedious. And it isnít about price, 'cause those current semi-annual sales (that seem to be semi-monthly ones now) have continued.

Oh those catalogues that keep coming in my mail... with photos that make the "Sports Illustrated" annual swimsuit issue seem tame...remind me to check my drawer's supply for stretched elastic and faded colors. Glossy ads with sensual females in sexy stringy things are designed to make me forget I usually go into lingerie shops to request plain white, navel-covering, cotton undergarments. Standard purpose, the models insinuated, must be changed into silly frilly briefs!

Well, all year I'm interrupted during television viewing as advertisers concentrate efforts to change my personal-item buying habits, which, Madison Avenue says, should also include panty liners with or without manufactured security flaps so I'll feel 'fresh' in micromini Fredericks of Hollywood type thongy briefs bought at socially acceptable Victoria's Secret. Whew! Are those the perfect panties for under my jeans?

That elegant lingerie store's classical music and perfumes are supposed to make me feel romantic rather than sleezy. I do think that the spaghetti strapped nighties suspended from see-though hangars are romantic; transparent and flowing bathrobes with ostrich feather sleeves are romantic; anything I'd just like to try on but could never ever wear or sleep in is romantic: panties are underwear! (I sleep in flannel and my feet are encased in socks.)

Well, the shop's display table is filled with minuscule patches of satin in an assortment of colors. I pick one up knowing that those tiny seed pearls affixed to the bikini will look like cysts forcing themselves through my clingy skirts. The rest of the satin triangle is lace that's destined to itch. The teeny strand of material decreed to rest on my hip bone looks fragile. There isn't even enough room to hold the sticky runner tape for the television-mandated 'fresh' mini-liner. And I'll have to air-brush my bikini line, as photographers do with the glossy ads, else look like a gorilla in satin.

I'd love to buy children's all-cotton, minus huggy bears pattern, but after laundering I know that cotton's shape will shift and the garment will droop on one side and shrink on the other.

Since synthetic fabric, without ability to 'breathe', forces yeast to flourish, advertisers make sure, during prime-time television, that all women are informed which medicinal product will settle that ailment.

So, the functional underwear I like is considered unfeminine, but miniscule satin seems seductive. With this conditioned mental state, when I'm at a male doctor's office I feel embarrassed about my panties and either tuck them into my purse or hide them under anything I've removed and placed on his examining room chair. Being undressed is okay; panties are private.

I ponder purchasing the newest masculine-look brief, with the manufacturer's name affixed to the entire sturdy elastic waistband, and wonder what shape that cotton will be in after machine wash. Certainly, I couldn't regard these cumbersome, reinforced-leg things as 'delicate hand washables', and no classical music or perfume is emitted from the shop where they're sold. I also wonder about a locker room scene, during summer season, with me prancing about in flyless men's type underwear. Back to the seed pearls and itchy lace.

I believe it's truly no wonder Sharon Stone was minus underpants in one of her movies! Perhaps she was over-reacting to Madison Avenue hype, or she gets the same unsolicited glossy catalogues sent to me. Maybe, since we've the same last name, it'll be okay, like 'family', for me to chuck this whole dilemma and just shed mine.

Lois Greene Stone, a writer and poet, has been syndicated worldwide. Her personal items/photos are in major museums including 12 different divisions of The Smithsonian.

©1999 Hysteria Publications

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