My kind and patient friend once took me to buy a “starter thong.” With her guidance– and my husband’s request playing in my ear–we browsed at Nordstrom Rack. They lay in wait in a plastic cylinder, all colors and lace. The display looked like it belonged in a craft store—we were to make something out of these right? Tying them together to assemble a god’s eye or a potholder?
Nope. These little, flimsy things were to cover my well-proportioned ass. I scolded myself for being a thirty-something and not growing up: thongs are what big girls wear, sexy girls. Thongs are what I see peeking out of the tops of yoga pants. Thongs are hot, young, and shouldn’t I try to be those things? Didn’t I want to be part of the whale-tail club?
I bought two. My friend didn’t needle. My personal fashion consultant, she listens to my requests, and I had asked to get some thongs. The Hanes panties that actually covered my bottom were not doing me justice, I thought. But they felt good, like they were doing the job they were supposed to do: cover my ass, protect my vagina. As a person tending toward the pragmatic, I needed to try something new. A thong was it.
At home, I held the turquoise and black thong. It had no structure, slipped through my fingers onto the floor. I put it on, felt lace where cotton normally was. I hated it. In one ear, I heard my friend’s advice: “Give it a few times to get used to it. Or don’t. You don’t have to wear a thong.” I walked around the house in clothing, feeling overexposed and vulnerable. I hadn’t even read HuffPo’s piece “Why Your Thong May Be Bad for Your Health,” but my nether regions told me all I needed to know: get this thing off now!
I couldn’t give it a few times. I barely gave it a few minutes. If you know someone who would like two, clean, nearly-new thongs, I would be happy to give them away.
But recently, good old-fashioned cotton granny panties are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Who knew I was so ahead of the trend? My non-thong undergarments of which I have been ashamed for so many years are actually a “thing” now?
Turns out “granny panties” are hip and cool. And sexy. The New York Times’ “Fashion and Style” section recently ran a piece detailing young women’s denunciation of the flimsy dental floss-cum-underwear contraption. In “Young Women Say No to Thongs,” Hayley Phelan explains the new trend of fully covering one’s parts in the name of comfort. In the extraordinary marketing move recognizing that women want to give priority to finding something that fits over wearing something to entice a man, female entrepreneurs have begun to sell undies for the ladies. Julia Baylis, co-designer of Me and You lingerie, told the NYT:
“Most lingerie is designed to appeal to a man,” Ms. Baylis said. “For us, that’s not even a consideration. This is underwear you wear totally for you. Maybe no one will see it, or maybe you’ll put it up on Instagram to share with everyone you know.”
While I am not sure a “belfie” (a behind selfie) is the next big trend, it seems that comfy cotton panties are. Their feminist panties are on a 3-5 week backorder. I think getting rid of my two thongs will make room for a pair of these.