Secrets and shame, joyful nostalgia and hope -- a woman’s underwear drawer is a silky, scented and sometimes boring diary of her life. It could be a tiny drawer, an entire dresser or a closet, but the fabric closest to our skin tells the greatest story.
Most of us peeked into our mother’s underwear drawer when we were young. My mother had a drawer filled with practical panties. She had a couple of basic bras. One cup held a prosthetic filled with birdseed because she'd had a mastectomy.
And now, I’m opening my underwear drawer for you...
- A sad jumble of cotton bikini panties in various stages of wear. Some have holes, but none are stained. I haven’t had a period in almost 30 years since I had a hysterectomy at 32. The cotton panties all came from the discount store in my town called Giant Tiger.
- Four pairs of lace or silk panties and three thongs my neighbour gave me because she never wore them and now I never wear them.
- A black lace garter belt and some vintage seamed stockings.
- One pair of seamed fishnet stockings that belonged to my mother. She bought them for Halloween one year when she dressed as Dr. Frank-N-Furter. You would have to know my mother, but she died at 55 years of age.
- A black vintage slip with a holy medal of the Blessed Virgin safety-pinned to the strap in honor of my mother, who used to pin medals to my underwear. I bought the medal at the Chelsea flea market and found the slip in a thrift store.
- Four lace D-cup bras: two black, one white and one coral. They aren’t the kind with foam padding because I don’t need it or want it. When I was younger, I never wore bras. I was an A-cup, but my breasts grew from breastfeeding and never went back down. I find bras with stretchy cups best because one breast is smaller than the other from radiation and two lumpectomies.
- A vintage longline bra with cone-shaped cups. It looks better off than on.
- Two silk camisoles.
- A pair of plaid men’s boxer shorts that I wear as outerwear, so they don’t really belong in my underwear drawer.
- A union suit -- the whole body suit with the bum flap. It’s not a onesie or a cute flannel outfit. This is hard-core men’s underwear for those cold Canadian days. They served me well when I used to do surveillance as a private investigator, except when I had to go to the bathroom.
- A pair of bloomer-type underwear that they gave me at the hospital when I had an operation for pelvic prolapse with transvaginal mesh. I don’t know why I haven’t thrown them away.
- One desperate pink pair of panties that are supposed to suck in your gut. I never wear those either. I had a pair of Spanx, but I wore them to an event and I couldn’t breathe. I had to borrow scissors and cut them off. I went commando the rest of the night.
- A pair of thigh-high black stockings that have “fuck” written all over them. I’ve had them for at least 15 years. I couldn’t possibly wear them now without looking like a crazy woman. My ex used them to tie me up a few times. I should throw them out because he is the last person I want to think about when I open my underwear drawer.
What I want in my underwear drawer: some vintage lace tap pants and more sexy things to replace the ones I destroyed after my relationship ended, and a man to appreciate that fine lingerie. There are many days where I don’t open my underwear drawer because I would rather feel free, but sometimes you just want to feel pretty.
What’s in your underwear drawer? What stories does it tell?