Just some thoughts I had on my mind today while doing laundry. I suppose if I took the time to better compose my thoughts they might be a bit more coherent and even become a well-written editorial advocating for change; but I don’t have the luxury of such time. So instead, you just get a few rambled thoughts… Oh, and the post title refers to the famous line by Elliot (played by Richard Dreyfuss) in The Goodbye Girl, in which he rants, “I don’t like the panties drying on the rod!” (I searched, in vain, for an image or video clip; let me know if you find one!)
I remember a world in which laundry — including a women’s dainty underthings — could be hung to dry outside on a clothing line. Now, not-so-much. It’s not just the stupid community rules against such things, but the weird ideas we have about kids being exposed to underpants — especially mom’s underpants.
Dads can walk around the house in boxers because “Hey, they aren’t much different than swim trunks.” But moms? Mom’s bra and panties could be compared to her own swim attire — but heaven forbid! Mom — in a bikini?! In front of the children?! Quick, call social services!
I was reminded of this, again, when the temperatures soared well into the 90’s and my daughter lamented how men were lucky to be able to take off their shirts and sit in front of the air conditioner and/or fans; girls (who, by the way, aren’t even supposed to sweat) just have to suck it up and remain not only in their bras, but with shirts over them.
I would have much more heartily agreed with my daughter’s sentiments, had it not just been she who had been so uncomfortable finding a pair of my panties running amok in her laundry basket. Oh the horror of her seeing proof that I too wear underwear!
Oh, and lest you think this was a pair of fancy sheer vintage panties or adult-eyes-only crotchless panties let me set you straight: it was a pair of plain cotton underpants which had inadvertently been left in the laundry basket I handed her. The only “shocking” thing about that would be that I, a lover of vintage nylon lingerie, would in fact own and wear cotton panties — but you’d think I’d have left a package of edible undies in there, based on her reaction.
It’s reactions like this which keep me from setting my lingerie out to dry on a clothesline. I can’t even let my lingerie dry on the shower curtain rod inside the house; I have to hand wash and hang all my lingerie (and even the girl’s) up to drip dry in the laundry room. Because lingerie must remain out of sight, out of mind. Especially where children are concerned.
And yes, this post is becoming a lot like this one (which is why I’m again posting ManWoman’s God is My Foundation print as well as the artist’s Vagina as Sacred Object painting) — but then, I ask you, Has anything changed — for the positive?
Men are still whining that their wives don’t feel sexy anymore… But how can a woman feel sexy when she’s got to hide all signs of her sexual status, including the mere sight of underwear — even underwear she’s not wearing?
People wishfully sigh and wax on dreamily about the days when women and men dressed up… But if we women dressed thus — if we wore dresses and skirts — how could we hide all signs of our stockings or other frilly nylon bits even more shocking?
We moms can’t be seen as sexy. No glimpses of our underthings can be tolerated — because then people might get the wrong idea… But what the hell is so wrong about acknowledging the fact that mom is a sexual being?
Those of you who think I’m off my rocker for talking about this, come a little closer and let me talk to you…
If you think you’re saving the world from perverts, you’re wrong. In fact, I daresay you are screwing up our kids more this way.
Why should children and young women live in the embarrassment and fear of a bra strap sighting? Why should they be ashamed of their own mother’s bodies — bodies they too will have one day?
Shouldn’t boys and young men grow up respecting women’s rights to their own sexuality — and be required to control their own urges in the process.
If you think you’re sparing the world future crossdressers, fetishists, or whatever “perversion” it is you fear let me tell you, you are wrong.
If, and I do mean IF, cross dressers have been inspired by a glimpse of mom’s nightie or Aunt Edna’s petticoats (and the debate between cross-dressing-chicken and fashion-fetish-egg certainly can’t all be addressed here now), don’t you realize some covet female business suits and Laura Ashely floral print dresses? And even if you’re only concerned with the underthings, some other object will be selected. You’re literally just trading girdles, garters, and stockings for cotton ankle socks (with or without colored pom-pons on them); swapping negligees for sleep-shirts; form-fitting business suits for ill-fitting capri pants. …Come to think of it, it’s no small wonder we have such a problem with obesity; few dress to display femininity, instead opting for comfortable, evidence hiding, formless tents of cotton and denim.
And then there’s always the power of the Forbidden. Just what does mom wear under there?
Speaking of “the forbidden,” why is it that the ones “allowed” to show off their underwear (and dress provocatively, in general) are teens, tweens and –WTF?! — even younger?! Why is the sexuality of children more tolerated than that of adult women? Isn’t that perverse.
Once upon a time, children and youth aspired to grown-up things. They were supposed to grow towards and mature into adult things, including adult fashions. Adults aren’t supposed to retard themselves — or their sexuality. But now adult women wear kids underwear. And they have to hide them too. That’s ass-backwards.
It would be easy to sit here and write that from this day forward I’ll no longer hide all of my underwear like some dirty secret, relegating my lingerie to the same hidden dark recess of my bedroom that my sex toys reside in — but I probably won’t be that brave.
Because I, like most of you, live in fear that some “well intentioned” neighbor will see my clothesline in my backyard, some “concerned” parent of one of my kids’ friends will hear that my kids have seen my underpants drying in the shower, and they’ll call CPS, shouting, “Save the children!”
But honestly, this has all gone too far.
I’m not saying we moms need to flaunt our underwear or our sexuality; but we shouldn’t have to be so ashamed of it that we hide and deny it either.