“What I did during summer vacation.”

Lowrise boyshorts, lowrise boyshorts with a
scooped back, striped, lacey, beribonned, animal print lowrise boyshorts, at
least 6 different shades of nude thongs, sheer hot pink g-strings, g-strings
with shooting stars and bananas and little cartoons of girls doing odd things,
velour granny panties. At least 5 bras that are so sheer I might as well not
wear them. At least 3 cotton bras whose elastic has stretched so much the Calvin
Klein logo has been distorted. One scarlet embroidered sheer bra that is an
aspirational B cup and therefore has only been worn once. Padded, underwired,
reinforced, white, black, butter yellow, printed with butterflies. After hours
of sorting and folding and storing, I am suffering from underwear overload.

Guys have a more pragmatic approach to
underwear. The most creative they get is boxers – the inner version of ties.
Otherwise, it’s a steady diet of white y-fronts and the occasional (and already
risque) black ribbed cotton. The last time I saw a guy in a black thong, he was
wearing just that and a black bowtie.

late as the close of the 19th century, underwear for women was pantaloons –
starched loose pants slit in the middle. One of the scenes I remember from the
movie The Piano was this old lady who took a leak by simply squatting on the
side of the road, her modesty ensured by her voluminous hoop skirt.

Good old capitalist forces brought
underwear from the backyard clothesline to shopfronts, and from this article published in 1933, the marketing of
women’s underwear and hosiery was crucial in economic recovery after the
Depression. The first printed advert for anything remotely resembling what we
call panties today appeared in the Sears catalog in 1935. Much earlier than
that, this ad appeared in Japan, selling “sanitary underwear.” The anonymous
copywriter explains,
“Just as on a
full-moon night you still need a paper lantern to be safe, at your monthly/moon
time you need (our patented) safety sanitary belt.”
Very much like the manual for your Japanese
digital camera, it features step-by-step instructions. Find more cocktail-party
conversation fodder like this at the Museum of