Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Panty Raid

My underwear look like they've been beaten over a rock -- oh wait, they were... back in India. That's how the laundry gets done... or beaten. They are starting to resemble something seen worn in a old-western-tough-mother-f'er-leather bar, the kind of place where fringes are fashionable.

I had a choice to make: either trim off the fringe (aka strings, loose threads) or sew sequins on them and buy a cowboy hat. I decided to trim them -- I don't look good in hats. Benjamin caught me doing this once when he got out of the shower. He laughed. I told him it made me feel better, putting my underwear on without getting my toes wound up in all the loose strings. It also made me feel like maybe my underwear will last a little bit longer than they actually will.

It's not that I'm cheap, but I'm not really keen on buying underwear in these Asian countries we're traveling. I know the brand that works well for me, the size, and all the important particulars -- meaning, I know which underwear won't give me wedgies (Jockey bikinis, if you must know). But most importantly, it's tough finding things that fit in the East. Asians are tiny!

Today we found a Walmart, right here in Kunming. We went there to pick up a few things -- the fact that they probably sold underwear never entered my mind until we walked by the underwear aisle. Benjamin asked if I should pick up a few pairs and although I do need some replacements, I was hesitant at first. The prospect of looking for clothing that will fit, when you are certain it will not, is a bit of an exercise in defeat. And defeat is never fun. But the image of my sad, mangled undies came to mind; I saw them up on the clothes line, all naked elastic and fringe, and decided that if there was ever a time and place to buy new underwear, now and Walmart was it. Otherwise I might find myself purchasing granny panties from a street vendor in Vietnam next month (that's the ETD, or estimated time of destruction, I've assigned to my undies).

There are certain qualifications that must be met, where my underwear are concerned... besides fitting, of course. For one, they must be plain and solid in color. I don't want the image of a cartoon character plastered across my ass... especially since bright colors will most likely show through my khaki pants. No one will take me seriously with Winnie the Pooh on my butt. While that might be the appropriate place for a bear with 'Pooh' in his name to live, I want nothing to do with it. That requirement cancelled out the entirety of aisle 1 in this Walmart, leaving me with aisles 2 and 3. I might point out now that I was, indeed, in the adult underwear section. Asian adults seem to love kiddie stuff...

Aisle 3 was the most promising. There were no cartoon characters and no flowerey prints, stripes, and polka dots. The problem here was the sizing. The XL undies looked to be the size of a shower cap and if I was going to go that route, I might as well cut 2 holes in a shower cap and call it 'done'. Sure they might make a funny crinkling noise when I walk, but things in Asia are loud. Most likely, no one would even notice. Plus they would be water proof, but I'm too young to be concerned about water proof underwear. I'll recycle this idea when I hit my elderly years...

Needless to say, I left the Walmart without new underwear. I brought some alligator clips and safety pins with me on this trip... if worse comes to worse and the elastic on my current undies snaps, I'll just fix it, McGyver style, and maybe... just maybe, I'll have one of those infamous Vietnamese tailors alter the granny underwear I'll have to buy on the street.

Vietnamese tailors are like Xerox machines from what I've heard... they're good at 'copying' clothes. You bring them a shirt or a pair of pants and presto, you get the same thing back, only newer and less expensive than the original item. I'm pretty sure no one has brought them a pair of underwear, though, and with the condition mine are in, I don't think I'd want the tailors to 'copy' them. It would be an easy job for those tailors, for sure... they could just round up some fragments of fabric, string, and a worn piece of elastic from the last decade and hand them over to me in a ball.

The other problem is replacing bras while on the road. Here in Asia, they're all tiny and padded. I suppose I could buy the biggest bra they have and rip out the padding... maybe use it for a pillow since the pillows here are also tiny but, unfortunatley, not as well padded as the bras... I could probably manage with just the pading from one cup for my pillow; I'd be nice and give Benjamin the rest (did I mention the bras are REALLY padded?).


Post a Comment

<< Home