Sunday, October 4, 2009

No Hanky Panky For This Girl or Hanky Panky Makes Me Cranky

One of my recent Facebook postings that generated a lot of comments got me to thinking. The posting said: “Spanx is just a newfangled marketing word for a glorified girdle.”

Who wants to wear a GIRDLE? But on the other hand, what’s a girl to do about those unsightly bulges – especially around the middle? Just the sound of the word girdle conjures up something unappealing. What woman in her right mind would say to her man, “Just a minute let me step out of this GIRDLE?! But try that this way, “Just a minute honey let me step out of my Spanx” well that is a whole other deal there.

Underwear. (un der war), n. clothing worn next to the skin under outer clothes. This is the definition found in Webster’s Dictionary for underwear. Recent events have caused me to do a lot of serious thinking concerning underwear.

A few weeks ago I got an email from my friend Kristi letting me know that Hanky Panky’s were on sale so I should rush out and buy some. Another friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, is still trying to live down the recent showing of her skivvies at a party. Several of my friends also extol the virtues of the Hanky Panky. Did I mention, that most them are over 40, married with children, and would be considered, shall we say, conservative?

The first time I ever saw a Hanky Panky was at Nordstrom’s with my sister who, as we were walking through the lingerie department, said “Oh, I have heard such great things about those Hanky Panky panties.” Well, I looked over and did not see a panty anywhere. All I saw was a $16.99 strip of lace connected by a string at the back – or in other words - a thong.

While on the other end of the spectrum, my 15 year-old daughter has suddenly expressed an interest in purchasing her own clothing and brought home several new pairs of “underwear.” Well, I have news for you, my daughter’s underwear and my friends of the 40 plus crowd; Hanky Pankies are not in any shape or form underwear. They are without a doubt, THONGS - and not the flip flop kind - the underwear kind!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I always thought the purpose of underwear was to protect and to serve. Kind of like the police force. I mean the protection piece is pretty obvious right? A good pair of underwear should protect you from any thing accidentally coming out or going in. As for the serve part – well, by that I mean it should serve a function of some sort. For me that function is also pretty obvious. My underwear holds in those parts of my body that seem to bulge out. Give me a sturdy pair of Spanx any day! And speaking of Spanx, the gal who thought up those babies is brilliant! “Why?” you might ask. Well, because she made wearing a girdle cool. Spanx are just reinvented girdles. And I am a girdle kind of girl.

On a side note, I actually have fond memories of girdles because wearing one nipped my life of crime in the bud. When I was about 8 years old, a neighbor girl and I were at the neighborhood drugstore and for some reason we each decided to steal an item. I think it was to show who was braver or something equally as stupid. I know I knew it was wrong and I remember I was scared to death, but I took the dare. I found an area that seemed to be out of sight of the clerk, way back in the far dark corner of the store where they placed the “private” items – you know the mysterious stuff like sanitary napkins, Midol, feminine deodorant spray and undergarments! I reached up and grabbed the first thing I could find. And guess what? It was a girdle. I swiped a girdle! And then for some unfathomable reason, I actually put it on underneath my dress- I guess it was to hide it as I guiltily left the store.

Even before I left I was eaten up with guilt and fear, but I had already done the deed and could not back out now. My friend, who was obviously far more cut out for a life of crime than me, was already outside having smuggled out a stash of candy. I found her, pulled up my dress to show her that I had indeed committed the crime and then we immediately commenced to eating up all the evidence. By that time it was late and so we set off for home. Along the way I began to feel sick. At first I thought it was because it was so hot and we were walking, and then I decided it was because I had eaten too much candy, and then it came to me. I knew it. God was punishing me. I was a criminal and now I was going to pay the price. I had been stricken with some sort of illness and would probably now die.

By the time we got to my house I was beside myself with worry and a stomach ache that I was sure would put me in the grave. I tried to avoid my mother, but her eagle eyes knew something was wrong. I could barely eat dinner and had almost nothing to say. I just knew that any minute God was going to strike me dead for my larceny. And, all the while my stomach was hurting worse and worse. Finally, I admitted that I was not feeling too good. My Mom did her usual – checked the forehead for fever, questioned me about where it hurt. When I said my tummy, she asked a few questions and then went to poke on my belly and low and behold discovered me still wearing the stolen girdle complete with the price tag on it!

After confessing the crime to her, returning to the drugstore to pay for the stolen item and having a very sore bottom instead of a sore tummy, I vowed never again to steal. So, really a girdle saved me from a life of crime.

But back to thongs. As far as I can tell the thong just does not count as underwear in any sense of the word. Let’s go back to my personal definition of underwear: to protect and serve. Take protection. What sort of protection can a piece of string approximately 3 inches wide, or less in many cases, provide a girl? It certainly can’t help protect any sensitive areas, nor would it protect you from embarrassment if say, oh you accidentally tucked your skirt into the back of your panties and were walking back to your table through the restaurant (been there, done that).

Or if you were in a serious car accident and had to be rushed to the emergency room and disrobed by hospital personnel in a room full of strangers, all of whom would suddenly lose their focus of performing those critical life saving efforts such as cracking open my chest an shouting out words like 20 cc’s of Lidocane and stuff, only to gasp in horror at the sight of your private area that is so NOT protected from prying eyes.

Personally, I grew up with a mother who constantly admonished me to wear my nice underwear in case of an accident, and I think her advice was quite sound. But I know one thing, if I was ever caught unawares in a room full of Emergency Physicians who looked like George Clooney and Patrick Dempsey ripping me down to my skivvies in order to save my life, I would much rather have on my good old Haines with the reinforced stomach panel than one of those miniscule pieces of material that let is all hang out. Because lets face it – what hangs out ain’t too pretty!

In looking up the history of underwear on the Internet (yes, there is a site that is devoted to the history of underwear) I discovered a lot about underwear. I guess technically, the first pair of undies were the fig leaves Adam and Eve wore in the Garden of Eden, but they were probably scratchy so I think they immediately invented the loin cloth, which interestingly enough were really for men – guess they wanted to make sure there were no comparisons going on.

Loin cloths were pretty popular for a long while – apparently King Tut was found buried with about 150 extras for his voyage into the underworld. I am not sure what women used, because according to the internet sites I searched, Cleopatra was not found with loin cloths, nor girdles much less a thong in her tomb.

It appears that the Middle Ages was really when underwear came about. I think they invented it because they took baths like once a year and they didn’t have many clothes so they used this new fangled underwear invention to keep their clothes from getting dirty. Over time I think undies got fancier and moved from being the plain old union suit type to briefs and jockey shorts and such. But hygiene was really the major reason for the use of undergarments. And I know for darn sure that small piece of string does not provide hygienic protection or otherwise.

Ok, so there is another purpose of underwear – the sexy kind that men like to see on women, but let’s face it, I am not really sure men really like to see Hanky Panky’s on anyone who doesn’t weigh about 100 pounds, has had some sort of breast enhancement surgery and spends at least 6 hours a day working on their abs and thighs. Yes, Victoria’s Secret models do fit that mold, but basically as far as I can tell there are only about 14 Victoria’s Secret models in the whole entire world, and since they are the only ones who really can look good in a thong, what are the other 3 Billion one hundred sixty-seven women in the world supposed to do?

Quite frankly, after wearing my first pair of Hanky Panky’s for a day, I am thinking that perhaps the reason so many women seem to be angry and short tempered these days may not really be due to factors the media keeps attributing their problems to like balancing work and career or the failing economy or even PMS. It actually may be due to the fact that they are wearing a thong that is riding up their rear and digging into their privates which is causing major discomfort. Or that they are frantically obsessing over the fact that when they disrobe that thong is just not going to look like it does on page 12 of the Victoria’s Secret Catalogue. Or better still perhaps they are bemoaning the fact that they actually paid $16.99 for a piece of underwear that serves no real purpose other than to make you want to furtively look around to see if anyone is watching before you reach your hand back and try to pull it out of your behind.

Even more likely those Hanky Panky’s are causing some sort of mass produced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among millions of women who spent their youth trying to keep playground bullies from giving them a wedgie only now to be in the strange position of choosing with their own free will to seek out a garment that purposely recreates that childhood trauma.

This weekend, I was looking out the window and saw a bunch of clothes in the yard. Of course I thought one of the kids decided to strip down out there for some reason or another (Hey, it the Collins House, are you surprised?)and I yelled upstairs for whoever left their clothes in the backyard to come and get them. Turns out our Pomeranian, Stoli, has been snacking on every pair of underwear he can find. He is constantly digging in the laundry basket and pulling out our underwear and running off and eating the crotch out.

Just yesterday my husband complained that his underwear had a hole in it and he couldn’t figure out what had happened and I just could not bring myself to mention the fact that all our underwear had little holes in it from Stoli’s attacks. Nor have I been able to throw out the multiple pairs of $35 Girdles (oh, I mean Spanx!) that he has rendered crtochless. I am just too darn cheap- what do a few holes in the crotch matter when the stomach panel still holds in the belly?

So, even though I am as interested as the next middle aged woman in keeping up my appearances to please my man and in making sure I am hip and with it. I just can not go there. No Hanky Panky for me. No way, no how. Give me a good old fashioned girdle any day.

1 comment:

  1. Reenie, I love my Spanx, but my husband isn't fooled. He calls them Granny undies but man are they great.

    You are an incredible writer, so glad to see you on the web.