I See Paris, I See France

I don’t know about you, but I’m really tired of seeing people’s underwear. News flash! It’s called underwear for a reason. I don’t care if it’s Calvin Klein; cover it up. Underwear is supposed to be private, not paraded around like the Stars and Stripes on the 4th of July.As a kid, exposing your underwear was considered indecent. The slightest glimpse of panties resulted in the old taunt, “I see Paris, I see France, I see Pammy’s underpants.” It was a serious social fax pas—practically elevated to the level of a venial sin. That’s the lesser variety that doesn’t result in eternal damnation—unless, of course, the undie-flash occurred while standing in front of your 4th grade class.

At school, the fear of an accidental exposure led us girls to devise a clever code system for each item of under clothing that could possibly make an unscheduled appearance. Your flags are flying meant your bra strap was showing. It’s snowing down South meant your slip was showing. Guard the back forty meant that you had tucked the back of your skirt into your panties, and with our big, gathered dresses, Full-Fanny Exposure was a constant fear. The level of mortification caused by this rated a ten on the I-wish-I-was-Dead Embarrassment Scale, especially if spotted by the bad boys who loitered at the girl’s bathroom door expressly to catch a fanny flash in progress.

At home, where the word underwear was naughty and spoken in hushed tones, I often exposed my panties due to my unladylike desire to perform a perfect cartwheel. My mother would shake her finger and say, “Young lady, you are doing the Devil’s dishes.” I never understood that because I hated doing dishes, so why would I do them for the Devil?

My mother immediately repaired or retired any underwear with holes. “Those are my Sunday drawers,” I’d say, “ because they’re holy.”

After making the sign of the cross, she’d say, “You can’t wear underwear with a hole. What happens if you get in an accident?”

And smart-ass me would say, “They’ll probably think I got the hole because of the accident.”

But now underwear is no longer private, intimate apparel—something to be ashamed of, like it’s supposed to be—it’s gone public.

Without ever getting on a whale-watching boat, I have seen enough thong whale tails to fill a Jacque Cousteau special. Ladies, some advice, you need a discreet code phrase. May I suggest, You’re waving to the tour boat. And guys, I really don’t want to see the top half of your plaid boxers. Your code phrase could be, I’ve seen enough of Scotland.

Yet, before you say the heck with it, just ditch your undies and go commando, remember for a moment that comforting, almost erotic feeling of putting on warm underwear straight from the dryer.

Though maybe you don’t want to talk about that—because it’s private.