There is something particularly cruel about panty shopping after the age of thirty-five or after having three kids or worse – both.
After months of complaining I need new underwear and Carl staring at me like “Just go do it – why do you keep talking about it?” I take myself to the mall and find myself surrounded by perky-assed twenty-somethings. The fuck? You girls don’t work or something? Apparently, they just came back from their omygoditssofantastic Crossfit workout and in my mind, I haymaker them all.
As usual, I am not particularly mindful of how I look in public. My routine should probably have an overhaul, but I don’t have much energy. My hair that still has hairspray in it from two nights ago when Carl and I went out is pulled into a vicious bun, I canvas the floor of our closet for a dress that 1) has no food marks on it 2) doesn’t have any pit stains 3) doesn’t reveal my true body shape and the toddler and I are in the the minivan. Take note, Batman.
The twenty-somethings, however, spent, at least, all of last week coordinating their outfits. It looks as if a Lululemon catalog vomited violently all over them. I am discovering at this stage in my life just how offensive the color yellow is before noon.
My shoulders slump slightly at the realization that we are all going into the same store. Did they just hear me groan?
I swear under my breath at the total stupidity of the store’s layout. It’s obvious to me that no one ever considered someone with a stroller would ever want to come into the store and perhaps this was done on purpose – a child/stroller deterrent.
The twenty-somethings are having a grand old time. Giggling as they take selfies and post to their Instagram accounts. They grab thongs haphazardly: reds, blacks, pinks and oranges – the amount of fabric or lack thereof makes me blush.
I used to be that way, I think. I dig deep trying to remember that far back. Screw comfort! Thong? Yeah! Lace? Of course! Itsy bitsy teenie weenie.
But I’m not here to spy on what kids who were probably born in 1989 (FUCK) are buying. I’m on a mission and apparently, my mission is in the back of the store, where there is barely any light and the sales associates are told to not ever go back there unless they hear gunshots and see blood.
There are bins and shelves before me of muted colors: nudes, eggplants, maroons, emeralds. These are mature colors for mature clientele. I know I’ve wandered into granny panty territory, granny panties so large I can use them for a parachute for the toddler AND me.
My morning is full of eyerolls and groans and it doesn’t seem to be letting up.
A voice calls out “Do you need any help?” I look up, like a squirrel who’s been disturbed during a nut-stashing session. The sales associate is petite and fit and standing so far away, she might as well be in Canada. I shake my head no and continue rummaging through pile after pile of high waisted cotton underwear.
There are ten good candidates in my hand. I’m a little taken aback at just how much fabric I’m holding, as if I’ve just raided a Joann’s Fabric store, but I head to the register anyway. The stroller dramatically hits display after display and I know I’ve just been added to some international security watch list for retailers.
The twenty-somethings are there, still giggling because purchasing thongs is giggling inducing (doncha know?). The toddler pulls down on a tablecloth and brings down a display of bras that will make any flat-chested girl look like she was born with watermelons. The twenty-somethings look back and give me a pitiful smile and eye my handful of panties and give me a “I’m never ever gonna be you” look and then smile at one another.
But one day, in the near future, they will be in my shoes because it is just the natural progression of things as you age – this need to cover your ass, have fabric compress your muffin top and be comfortable.