Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Did you lose your undies?

I have a fine appreciation for underwear.

Show me a strapping young man sporting six-pack abs and a pair of boxer briefs and I’ll show you…well, pretty much anything you want to see. I believe in fair exchange.

But there’s something about seeing abandoned underwear that takes away the appeal. Sort of like how you wouldn't think twice about kissing a loved one on the head, but if the same person loses a hair in your salad, there's no way you're shoveling another bite of spinach in your mouth.

Maybe that’s why I’m disturbed by a trend I've noticed lately. Abandoned underwear has been turning up in a lot of public places, and I'm not certain why.

Last week, I spotted a pair of boxer shorts on an empty lot near my house.
I'm not sure if this violates the “no trespassing” rule or the “no dumping” one, but either way, my retinas are scarred.

Then yesterday I was walking to a friend's downtown handbag boutique to say hello at lunch when I spotted these on the sidewalk:
I looked around to see if there were more articles of clothing. Maybe someone decided to do an impromptu striptease in the downtown streets on a 30-degree day.

But no, there was only the thong.

I walked into my friend's shop. "Did you lose your black underwear on the sidewalk again?" I asked.

"I saw that this morning!" she said. "I thought about picking it up so it doesn't look trashy in front of the store, but–"


"I know."

We pondered it for a moment. How did the underwear get there?

"Maybe someone was trying on a dress at the boutique next door and brought special underwear to see how it would go?" my friend suggested.

"Could have just gotten stuck in someone's pant-leg in the dryer and fallen out," I suggested. "Or maybe someone was having a tryst up against a car in the middle of the night and–"

"Don't start with the romance writer crap."

We both glanced outside at the thong. It sat there looking forlorn, fluttering a little in the breeze.

"Want me to go kick it into the street?" I offered.

"I don't think a thong on the street is any better than a thong on the sidewalk."

"Good point."

We finally gave up talking about the thong and had a polite chat about something else. OK, it probably wasn't polite, but it was about something else.

Finally, it was time to leave. Just as I reached the thong, I ran into the Executive Director of the Downtown Business Association.

I pointed at the thong. "Yours?"

He stared at it for a moment, blinking a couple times with the possible hope of making it disappear. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a pair of gloves.

"Gotta keep the sidewalks looking nice," he said, and bent to pick up the thong.

I didn't watch as he walked away, and I think I'd rather not know what he did with it. Either way, I'm pretty sure that's not something he ever imagined in his job description.

So what's the deal with the abandoned underwear? Does anyone have a theory? Am I the only one who keeps seeing this stuff? Please share.

And please let me know if you happen to need some underwear. I'm sure I'll run across another pair again soon.


Summer Frey said...

I have no theories, except the romance writer ones.

I'm also curious about the one-shoe phenomenon. How do you not realize that you're missing a shoe?

Rick said...

Actually, I could use a few more pairs of dress socks. Think you could keep an eye peeled for me?

Jenna McCarthy said...

Not long ago I was walking with my daughter when I felt something funny on my leg, inside my jeans. I started doing the well-known There's a Spider in My Pants dance and kicking my legs out alternately to rid them of the spider. On the third or fourth kick, a lacy Hanky Panky thong came flying out. Two things are important to note here: 1. The first thing I did--no lie--was to pull back the waist of my jeans to see if I was still wearing panties. (I was.) 2. I snatched (snatched!) them off the ground quickly enough that my daughter is actually still speaking to me.

(I was thoroughly mystified by the whole thing until a friend told me that they just got stuck inside my pants in the wash and that it "happens all the time". I'm almost 42 and this was a first for me, so I think she's crazy.)

Deborah Small said...

Priceless. Just priceless.

I notice discarded fast-food wrappers and shoes dangling on power lines. You find abandoned delicates. Obviously I live in an area populated by shoeless burger and fry munching derelicts, while you, my dear, reside in a haven of Commandos. :)

Thanks for perking up my Wednesday morning. *g*


Shain Brown said...

It's all the new romance books coming out. It's in the air I tell you. They are inciting impromptu romps along the city streets throughout the wee hours of the night.

Though I have to agree once they become abandoned they lose any appeal whatsoever.

Julia Broadbooks said...

I can honestly say I've never found underwear on the sidewalk. Once I did see some in the bushes at an isolated park parking lot. I was pretty sure those were from a teenaged tryst in the woods.

I still don't see how you wouldn't notice your thong was missing.

Linda G. said...

Geez, sorry. Musta slipped right off while I was walking. ;)

Diane Henders said...

For the thong, I'm going to go with the renegade laundry theory. My husband came very close to carrying a lacy thong off to work in his pants one day. Try explaining that to the guys when it falls out in a meeting.

That theory doesn't work for the boxers, though. I'm pretty sure you'd notice a spare pair hitching a ride.

For that one, I have to go with the idea that they were abandoned after some tragic occurrence like hurking in one's underwear. But that seems unlikely. I mean, really, who does that? :-)

Michelle Wolfson said...

It probably *is* something he imagined in his job description. Why else would he have those rubber gloves in his pocket??

Dr. Cheryl Carvajal said...

If my theory is right, there is no reason to be squeamish.

I imagine a woman on a date, wanting to make sure her undies are in tip-top shape in case the night goes well. But, sadly, the extra, super clean, super sexy undies slip out of her purse as she pulls it on her shoulder to head out to his place, and when she gets to the bathroom she realizes she'll just have to wing it with the granny panties she wore for comfort.

Then again, if I'm wrong, and they are not laundered... no, I can't go on. I'll go insane...

Danica Avet said...

Tawna, you lucky dog! You're being visited by the Underwear Fairy! Those are signs that your book is hot enough to set someone's pants on fire, so I wouldn't be grossed out. I wouldn't pick them up, either, but look upon them as validation that your books will be successful because not everyone is visited by the Underwear Fairy!

Sarah W said...

Jenna, you made tears squirt out of my eyes!

I don't see underwear -- but someone's been leaving banana peels everywhere I've parked lately, both lots and on the street.

It's like the flying monkeys are scouting out free places for me, but I missed the memo. . .

Alexa O said...

Another aspect of the mystery: Why was the Executive Director of the Downtown Business Association carrying gloves? Did he expect to pick up a pair of discarded thongs that day, or is he always so prepared?

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

They say what we visualize materializes. Just sayin'.

Matthew MacNish said...

I didn't even think people wore underwear where you live. All the people I've met from there are dirty hippies who wear patchouli instead of showering.

Wait. You're from Bend, right? Or was it Eugene?

Missy said...

You are hysterical! Thanks for making me laugh day after day!

Judy,Judy,Judy. said...

My friend was once out late on Saturday night. She got up the next morning, put on clean undies and the same pants she was wearing the night before. She had been walking around the grocery store an hour before realizing, the old undies from yesterday were hanging out the back of her pants.
Maybe they just fell out as someone was walking.

The Writing Goddess said...

Lol, I just wrote a short story where the MC, after a One Night Stand, sniffs her panties and decides to stuff them in her panties and go commando. Then they could have dropped out somewhere along the way as she's dragging out her wallet for Starbucks. That's MY theory.

Guys' boxers, on the other hand - hmmm... maybe thrown out of the window, along with an armful of other clothing, by an angry girlfriend after discovering a naughty text?

Fabulous topic, thanks for letting me play.

The Writing Goddess said...

Oops, stuff them in her PURSE, I've got panties on the mind.

Oh, and a friend enlightened me on the shoe thing. Apparently, when demons eat a soul, they leave the shoes behind. Those empty shoes? Demon leavin's.

snacks said...

I DO know what he did with the thong! As I was teasing him about thong disposal apparently being part of his job description, he dropped the panties into the recycling bin. Now I'm not so sure that thongs are recyclable but there's no way I'm going to dig them out of there to put them in the proper receptacle. Recycling bin will have to do. Better than the sidewalk, huh?

Christina Auret said...

Well, little voice from the third world, around here it would not stay on the sidewalk long, because someone would find a use for it.

DrCarrieT said...

Several years ago, my family was walking along a sidewalk at a popular amusement park when we saw a woman ahead of us drop something. Ever the helpful person, my mom reached down, picked up the object and cried, "Ma'am, I think you dropped something."

It was RIGHT at that moment that we all realized the object was a pair of, um, stout, granny panties.

I don't know who was more shocked--the dropper or the picker-upper. The lady claimed they weren't hers, and we let her lie pass, but my whole family watched them hit the ground.

Shelley Watters said...

I think you might have an panty raid bandit on your hands. I remember you posted a forlorn sock in a tree a while back. My guess is that either there is a very pissed-off dresser somewhere who is vomiting out clothes into the air, which get caught in the wind and blown all over your zip code, or a bandit is snatching the contents of people's underwear drawer in the middle of the night and those are the remnants that fall out of his bag during his flight from police.

Or, it could be a laundry mishap.

But I'm going to go with the delicates-vomiting dresser/panty bandit theory. :D

Bethany Elizabeth said...

It seems there are a lot of abandoned clothing items in your part of the world. Underwear, shoes...

Kadi Easley said...

I haven't run across any underwear, but I did see a lone shoe in the road on my way home from work, it made me think of you, Tawna. :)

Related to the underwear, I was walking/stomping across the lot at work the other day in my five ton work boots and noticed a dryer sheet flapping out the bottom of my pant leg. At least it wasn't stuck to my shoe like toilet paper.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I must admit that I've seen underwear on the streets as well as other articles of clothing. I once saw a wool hat taped to a streetlight; someone had stapled a sign on it that said, "Free Lice." There are several laundromats in my area, so I think that the clothes might be from people who accidentally drop them when they're carrying their laundry bags in/or out.

Melissa Sarno said...

I see abandoned underwear a lot in New York City. My practical theory is that people drop it from their basket or bag when they're going to do laundry, but really I think there must be a more fun explanation. Cheap thrill throwing your underwear out the car window like when my Mom went to see Elvis when she was a teen? Angry ex-boyfriend or girlfriend tossing it out to avoid painful memories?

Unknown said...

The sad part is, I see it, and don't really react.

And in response to the shoes on powerlines, apparently people used to do that to signal a drug deal. But I heard that through oral tradition. Who knows how credible that can be.