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I See London, I See France...

Updated: Oct 1, 2022

In which the reader learns about my nightmares.

Let’s go back in time, forty-something years. My parents have just dropped me off at summer camp. I’m a little weepy from saying goodbye. I was always a crier. I even cried years later when they took me to law school.

Back in my bunk, I open my trunk and as I unpack, I realize I forgot my underwear. I am now facing the next two months with only the bloomers I’m wearing underneath my yellow terry cloth jogging shorts with rainbow stripes on the sides.

Then, I wake up.

Folks, what you just read is my second worst nightmare.

My worst nightmare is failing a final exam because I could never find my way to the classroom, or I couldn’t open my locker to get the textbook, or I had another class scheduled for the same period.

Because of my second worst nightmare, I always make sure to pack my undies first. In fact, I overpack my undergarments. I never know what may happen on my trips – I might laugh so hard I leak a little. On the television show “30 Rock,” they call this “lizzing,” a combination of laughing and whizzing.

No matter what they call it, my bladder isn’t what it used to be. I’ve given birth to four hockey pucks. The smallest sneeze could break the dam.

There’s no fix for my high school final exam nightmare. If only dreaming Tracy had the guts to go to the school office to ask for a map.

Pretty much all I can control in this life is the whereabouts of my underwear.

Apparently, I never mentioned my unmentionables anxiety to my children because when one of the hockey pucks came home this past Christmas holiday, guess what? She forgot her skivvies.

A mother spends her whole parenting life praying that her child won’t make the same mistakes (or dreamed mistakes) she made (or dreamt). It’s clear my prayers have failed. This is a cross I’ll have to bear for the rest of my life.

Bearing that cross, however, didn’t solve the immediate problem of getting the pucker some knickers.

The night she came home, we discussed borrowing a sibling’s undies. It was more a proposal to donate than to lend since the offering pucker didn’t want them back.

At their cleanest, it’s still a big leap to wear someone else’s BVDs. Even if that someone is related to you. Wearing another’s undergarments is sort of like driving a rental car; you can drive it, but it feels awkward. How do you turn on the headlights?

Instead, the puck wore her old bathing suit bottoms until she could get to the store.

Here are the options for purchasing underwear if you live in East Hampton: you can drive to Kmart or TJ Maxx, twenty minutes away. You can travel an hour to Riverhead’s outlets, Target, or, if you want to buy your bloomers in bulk, Costco. Or you can drive ten minutes to the villages of East Hampton or Bridgehampton and shop at the most expensive lingerie shops this side of Paris.

These aren’t good choices for a twenty-something hockey puck at her first job out of college. Young women are done with their childhood Hanes or Fruit of the Loom six-packs from Target, or, if from Costco, 84-packs. But she can’t afford the shops in the villages.

I went on a reconnaissance mission last week. One village’s shop had individual pairs of underwear ranging from $18 to $39. In the sale bin, I found a thong that had been marked down from $112 to $70. A thong is maybe three-square inches of material. Evidently, an all-day wedgie is a bargain at $70.

They also sold a bra for $168. It was a special bra. It had a Swarovski crystal hanging in the cleavage. Accessorized bras obviously cost more. As Olympia Dukakis’s Clairee says in the movie “Steel Magnolias,” “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize [our cleavages].”

I added the cleavage part. Olympia’s Clairee is too classy to say cleavage.

I like to equate the prices of things with items or services I pay for all the time. When I managed to cut $30 off my cable bill, that equaled six Starbucks iced lattes a month.

I stopped drinking Starbucks during the pandemic, so now I use airplane flights. Now a $480 Gucci belt costs the same as a one-way ticket to Seattle at Christmas, upgraded to additional leg room.

The village shop’s cheapest panties are the same price as a flight from New York to Pittsburgh on People’s Express in 1985. Weren’t the first days of Reagan’s airline deregulation exciting? And cheap!

That $168 bra is equal to a midweek afternoon flight from Islip to Baltimore. You don’t get a Swarovski crystal in your cleavage, but you do get to check two bags for free.

Anyway, long story short, the hockey puck ended up buying a six-pack of cotton undies from TJ Maxx to tide her over until her preferred internet brand arrived.

Let’s go back in time again. About one week. I’m in a lingerie shop and I’m buying a $140 thong. My bank account only has $100, and my debit card is declined.

Then, I wake up.

Folks, this is my new second worst nightmare.

Published in The East Hampton Press on February 17,2022.

Photo by Womanizer Toys for Unsplash

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