There is a lot to be said on the subject of knickers – both women’s and men’s. Knickers say so much with so little. They hold us together. They provide security, modesty, good old naughtiness and the occasional soupcon of sauciness. They prevent terrible things happening between us and the zipper in our jeans, assuming of course, that one isn’t of the commando inclination. Knickers are our friends. Yes, yes they are. And yet… they make them in beige.
Beige! Bloody beige. Dear God. Is there a worse colour in the world than beige, especially when it comes to knickers? Do they actually make men’s knickers in beige? I don’t think they do. If you can find a pair of bloke’s undies in this frightful nondescript shade of nothingness, please post a photo of it here. My right eye has seized up at the thought of a wonderful pair of men’s boy-leg briefs in this hideous hue. Only in the world of dance would they dare to dress a blokey buttock in such a garment. We all know what shape said buttocks would be in, in this instance, and I believe most people would probably excuse the colour choice – for art’s sake.
Which brings me back to women’s knickers. Why beige? Now I know you’ve already come at me here with excuses such as “white trousers and dresses”, but I’m going to suggest to you that if these things are so sheer and/or form fitting that they require beige undergarments then it’s time for lining, a sexy slip or another colour choice! You know the strength of my argument. You do. White trousers are a wardrobe choice that must be carefully made and styled at the best of times. A woman has to understand her shape and level of (I’m sorry) cellulite. She does. Unless you are a teenage hardbody, or a gym-junkie (or a complete freak of nature) with an arse that you could launch rockets off, tight fitting or clinging trousers constructed from thin fabrics worn with short, higher-than-your-butt tops are never a good look. Beige knickers are never going to save you because you tell yourself they’re “skin toned”. Same goes for white skirts. Ergo, no need for beige knickers. I’m not against white skirts or pants. Just wear a good, heavy weight denim, a well constructed lining or a carefully levelled top – and a fabulous French, feel-good knicker in a beautiful shade of something other than beige that’ll have you smiling all day.
Alright. So I’ve owned some knickers in my life that some people might regard as bordering on beige. However, I suggest to you that they’re actually not beige and I take umbrage at the suggestion they are. Instead I’d like to propose that these bits of whimsy in my underwear drawer are a particular shade of nude. Not nude as in ‘nood’. Nude as in ‘newd’ (think in the voice of Dame Helen Mirren or Queen Elizabeth – or Dame Helen Mirren playing Queen Elizabeth. ‘Neeeewd’). Now nude is entirely different to beige. Nude has connotations of, well, nudity. Beige has connotations of accountants and 1970s and 80s long socks and sandals wearing school teachers. And granny pants. I rest my case.
The other thing that drives me nuts about knickers is why men hold onto them until they can no longer be deemed underpants. Actually, until they can no longer be deemed anything. Why is it that the male gender will hold onto their jockes until they’ve been worn to the point of unrecognisable-ness? I remember once helping a friend hang out her washing and jokingly suggesting it was time to throw out the dusting rag I was pegging out. It was a mere scrap of loose grey threads that were clinging feebly to what, I discovered later to my horror and amazement, was the remnants of a once elasticised waistband. Who knew Bonds had that much staying power? She was startled and embarrassed that I had encountered the item. She’d apparently tried to throw them out many times only to have them miraculously reappear – it had become somewhat of a silent marital sport between her and her husband.
“But they’re useless! There’s nowhere to keep anything! Why the hell would he bother? How does he even work out where to put his legs let alone how to arrange his package and keep it all together? What the hell? He may as well not be wearing anything!” I said staring in awe at the tatters hanging limply from the Hills Hoist.
“He reckons they’re the most comfortable ones he owns”, she replied in the empty tones of a woman who has had this argument many, many times before.
“He reckons he’s just worn them in.”
I started to laugh until I realised she wasn’t. We sighed in unison and stood there looking at what was left of those jocks.
In my house it’s Princess II who will wear knickers until they are in a state of nightmarish proportions. She always has done. I’m appalled that she is a female and hope that in time she will grow out of it like teens grow out of many odious habits. However, I do eventually exercise some control and, as I am the only one who does her laundry, occasionally, while folding the clothes, ‘accidents’ happen and massive new tears appear in the Princess’s knickers that render them completely un-wearable in the eyes of the executive officer (moi) who relegates them to the garbage.
Over a wine a few months after the clothesline incident I asked my friend how her bloke’s ‘best’ jocks were going. “Elastic finally gave out”, she said matter of factly. “He was wearing them at the time. At work. At a conference in Sydney. He was giving a presentation and they’d slowly make their way down the leg of his trousers while he was at the lectern as he moved to change things on the Powerpoint presentation on his laptop. He ended up with very weird looking shapes in his pants somewhere around his thighs and had to excuse himself to hobble off to the loo to get them out. Came home with a dozen new pairs.”
We toasted the new briefs several times too many and I believe her bloke is still working on wearing in his knickers many years later. I don’t believe any of them are beige.