The debate is on. Not the disheartening, soul-crushing political jockeying that turns civil people into bad-mannered kindergartners in need of cookies and a nap. No, I prefer a more reasoned debate. Boxers or briefs? Pffft, who cares. Over or under? Over it! Bullet or rabbit? Longest battery life wins. No, the Great Debate of 2016 is focused on a single word: panties.
Why? Because it’s an icky word, okay? At least to some of us. Our lexicon is teeming with words some people don’t like, and when enough traction is applied by the masses, chatter escalates exponentially across the WWW until it gets to me. So, vital question of the day: what do you call yours?
Let’s put the issue into perspective, shall we? Panties is an umbrella term for women’s lower-body undergarments. “Panties” encompasses a vast elastic array of styles and cuts including briefs, bikinis, boy-shorts, thongs, and granny panties that not even grannies admit to wearing.
If you wear thongs, like moi, they still fit under the panties umbrella, though I do not call them panties. At. All. Maybe G-strings. Do not even get me started on “butt floss.” No, I call them by their proper name: underwear.
I did a brief survey. And here’s what women I know told me they call theirs:
- cooter covers
Okay, I might have made up that last one, but imagine if that were to catch on! Cooter covers: patches for snatches! Swatches for crotches! Yes, you can make this stuff up, but they are not any ickier than panties.
Maybe it’s just me, but panties carries a distinctly sexual connotation—as if they’re slutty and can’t be taken seriously. Panties are underpants’ less moral sister. But there’s also another connotation.
My friend Winter says, “Panties are for five-year-olds. Or my husband when he goes outside in his boxers that sort of pass for shorts but are, in the end, panties.”
This is why we are besties.
I thought maybe the panties vs. underwear (or whatever) debate could come down to generational differences, but no. While two of my Millennial daughters are happy to call them panties, a third one prefers “underwear.” I raised one of them right.
My friend Jennifer and sister-in-law Yvonne, both Baby Boomers, call them panties without even snickering; and my 90-year-old friend Hazel calls hers panties. Hazel says she’s called them that all her life, and she’s quite respectable. Her daughter Marjorie prefers underpants, but to me, that says little boy briefs all over it, and, of course, Captain Underpants ink-pressed with Superman right across the package.
The debate is apparently going to rage on through the elections. I hope by then we have not made mockeries of ourselves by using the lame-duck term panties, and instead have made America great again by selecting the eminently more qualified “underwear” to the hiney-est office in the land.
That is all.
P.S. If you’re a man calling your briefs or boxers “panties,” you need to call your mother and explain how that is not cool. Carl.