I died last night.
Wait – I mean I dyed last night.
If you’re female and you’re in possession of boobies, you’re aware that white bras get dingy fast. Even before the elastic is shot and the underwire is stabbing you between the ribs, white bras can take on the hue of a dishrag that’s been tied to the ankle of a mule for three days.
If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t care about such things, I envy you. Really, I do.
Alas, I’ve been neurotic about my undergarments for as long as I’ve been wearing them. Not only must they be pretty and presentable, but bras and underwear must match. Always. You know that moment when you’re changing from one bra to another, and for the briefest moment, you’re wearing red panties and a black bra?
I hate that moment. I hate it more than fingernails on a chalkboard.
My friend Larie believes this is a form of mental illness, and she’s probably right. Nevertheless, I recently reached a point where – despite my most gentle laundering efforts – several beloved white unmentionables had turned an unfortunate shade of pale gray.
This was not acceptable.
I went out and bought a packet of purple dye, rounded up the assortment of grayish underthings, and got to work.
Pythagoras found me on the front porch using a kitchen spoon to stir a bucket of hot purple water.
“Do I want to know what you’re doing?” he asked.
“Probably not,” I admitted, “but I’m hoping you’ll appreciate the end result.”
All this effort to turn something old into something with a little more pizzazz – it’s a bit like what writers do every day.
Though I like to think my romantic comedies are quirky and unique, I’m pretty much just telling the same story every romance author tells – boy meets girl, they encounter some obstacles, they fall in love, and live happily ever after. Having my characters play strip-Battleship on a dysfunctional pirate ship doesn’t change the fact that the story itself has been told before.
I’m OK with that. There’s a lot of pressure on authors these days to come up with something “high concept,” something new and special that’s never been done before. But there really are no new stories. There are just unique ways of telling the old ones. Mastering the ability to do that is a big part of honing your craft as a writer.
Do you do anything special to transform your dingy gray story ideas into sassy purple panties? Or if you aren’t a writer, do you know where I might be able to get help for my hang-up with the matching underwear?
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the purple underthings turned out lovely. There are a few funny spots where the elastic turned a different shade than the rest of the fabric, but the overall effect is quite fetching.
I emerged from the closet this morning to find Pythagoras trying to use X-ray vision to see through my clothes.
“Are you wearing the purple stuff?” he asked.
I gave him a coy smile. “A lady never tells.”
“Right. So are you wearing the purple stuff?”