Big girl panties?

Maybe it’s strictly generational, but granny panties have always outnumbered thongs in my lingerie drawer. Trying to loosen up my midlife world view and eliminate unsightly panty lines, I’ve been underwear shopping lately. And was delighted to find sexy, lacy thongs with a hint of practicality (i.e. cool, comfortable, breathable cotton). With the brand name Jezebel?

Does wearing lacy lingerie make you an evil woman? Why do all the sexy panties have names like Jezebel, Temptress, Flirt, Invisible Bliss? May as well call them Tart, Harlot, Scarlett, or “O.” Definitely another automatic association leftover from my growing up years. “Good girls” wear sturdy, serviceable cotton Lollipop panties — in white or pastels (how exciting!) “Bad girls” wear the pretty, lacey panties. And have all the fun. When I was a teen, I had one shockingly bright green low-rise bikini pair with a black zipper (gasp). This is the exact purchase that my younger sisters recently admitted had marked me as a glamorous older sister. And firmly fixed a frown on my mom’s face when I came home from the mall, panties in hand.

It’s not just names. Another assumption is lurks within: wearing lacy lingerie is for him, not for you. Certainly all that lace and trim and thong between the cheeks is less comfortable than soft cotton, right? So why suffer the indignities and itching, except to entice or excite him? As an empowered woman, I wasn’t about to buy into that.

Reminds me of a T-shirt my older daughter had when she was 13, distributed by Candie’s, maker of sexy shoes and clothing. In large, legible letters it said “Be sexy.” And in the fine print: “it doesn’t mean you have to have sex.” Some mothers scorned me for allowing her to wear it, as if it were an advertisement. Women can claim their sexuality, even enjoy it. Without turning into bad girls. Objecting to that slogan seemed like buying into the sexist view that if you are dressed to kill, you deserve to be raped.

Black and white thinking is the culprit again: chaste lingerie equals pure of heart/mind/body. Black, lacy, and low cut is the stamp of a bad girl. Is this really a fact? Do clothes really define the woman, so that I can’t enjoy a fun bustier under a power suit? Time to challenge those expectations. Even the little girls get fun princess panties, Barbie panties, Dora panties — or as my younger daughter had, Pink Power Ranger panties.

One of my friends likes to say, “put on your big girl panties and deal with it.” In this case, the grown-up panties of choice are lacy, cheekiest (in the parlance of Victoria’s Secret, referring to amount of cheek exposure), and surprisingly more comfortable than constant adjustments of creeping leg elastic. My new power panties can allow me to please no one but myself, a rare opportunity in my good girl life. That’s dealing with it.

As on everything else: NO absolute thinking. I did find one exception to the naughty names: Victoria’s Secret has one thong called “Angel.” Or maybe go commando, following the decree of Jill Connor Browne, author of The Sweet Potato Queens book series: “Never wear panties to a party.” Do what works for you.

6 thoughts on “Big girl panties?

  1. Lauren says:

    I completely agree! My mom and I have a theory. We believe that Monday is the hardest day of the week and we lovingly refer to it as “survival day”. It’s a day where we do our best to show up at work, to get organized for the week and take care of tasks that need it… but we don’t kill ourselves trying to overachieve.

    It’s on survival Mondays that we wear our camo panties. Somehow, just knowing they’re there and the powerful feelings that come with them is a fun, secret reminder that we can take on any Monday that comes our way. I think all of us have our own “camo panties.”

  2. Kathy says:

    I laughed out loud reading this, Ann. I’d relegated Victoria’s Secret to ‘the land that time forgot’, but you’ve inspired me to take another look!

  3. Ann Dunnewold says:

    Thanks, Lauren, for this inspiration. And if other readers want to join in and arm themselves for Monday survival, I discovered that we can buy camo panties at Bass Pro Shops! No shady links that might get you tied into unsavory adult sites–just healthy outdoor gear.

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