Jul 4, 2010
Warning: What you are about to read may contain offensive, albeit honest, content.
I’ve seen it all over the last three years: turquoise and black what-looked-to-be-satin bikinis, a strawberry and banana patterned pair which had seen better days (the strawberries were pink, not red), purple G-strings, black mesh thongs, and your good ol’ white cotton variety.
I don’t work at Agent Provocateur or Maidenform. I am a mom who takes her little one to playgroups and the park, and these panties are what I have observed on fellow moms while seated in a circle during song time or pushing my son on the swings.
Hopscotching with her two little munchkins was one mom wearing a pair of hipster jeans and Calvin Klein undies – the two-inch waistband with the brand name in a colossal font was the giveaway. I wondered whether this mom might in fact be a brand ambassador. Calvin Klein does have some clever marketing folks, you know. Remember the Kate Moss and Marky Mark ads that shot sales through the roof?
I’m not offended by the amount of moms’ balbriggans on show, I simply find it curious. I am embarking on my own investigation to find out why, if a mom knows she will be sitting on a teeter totter, bending over to pick up Lego pieces, or kneeling while waving a colourful parachute up and down, i.e. situations in which she will be vulnerable to knickers transparency, would she decide to wear low-slung anything?
I ask my trustee friend, a mom and Victoria’s Secret devotee, why she thinks fellow moms engage in such activity, and she says they’re not engaging in anything; they’re just being moms and probably don’t even realise their lingerie is on show. She says moms have to bend over to change diapers/nappies, they have to bend over to pick babies up out of their strollers/buggies, and they find themselves crawling under bridges and through tunnels at playgroups. My insightful pal adds that non-moms’ skivvies show too, but perhaps it’s less noticeable since they don’t often find themselves on the floor playing with tiny tots or climbing ladder rungs to go down the slide.
I ask another friend – the one who would be the first to buy stock in La Perla if they went public – what she thinks of this visible panties business, and she immediately gets her knickers in a twist (pun intended). “Just because you become a mom doesn’t mean all your sexy lingerie should be thrown out the window.” I ask her if she thinks that undies with giraffes and zebras – some of them headless or limbless because the seam cut them off – on them are sexy and then tell her that she’s missing the point. I’m not saying that racy underclothes should be forgotten once a child enters the scene, but rather I’m asking whether moms need to bear witness to their fellow moms’ undergarments.
I ask a third chum, and alas, I feel as though she gets it. She laughs, saying, “Oh, you mean the VPs”. “Yes!” I shout. She’s not referring to US VP Joe Biden or former Vice President Al Gore who seems to be in the headlines of late for all the wrong reasons, but rather Visible Panties, a shortened form of the urban acronym VPL (Visible Panty Line). I tell her that in my ongoing investigation, I intend to interview a postpartum psychologist and ask if there’s a syndrome of which I’m unaware, an I Am Mom, Hear Me Roar By Showing My Nether Garments condition.
I wouldn’t be able to conduct a full investigation without including an examination of the moms who suffer from momnesia, forgetting to wear undies; the mothers who haven’t had a moment to do laundry, have no clean knickers and thus decide to go sans knickers; or those mommies who have decided to abandon them altogether. I know my own mom burned her bras in the Sixties. Could some of my fellow mums be burning their panties in protest of something in the new millennium? Whatever the case, I still intend to teach my son to use his imagination even in situations when no imagination is required.
If you catch a glimpse of my Wonder Woman or Supergirl Underoos under my jeans as I bend over to pick up one of my son’s toys, please know that I’m aware that I’m too old to be wearing these particular undergarments, but it’s my own way of telling my maternal comrades that we are in possession of super powers, those of a mom.