My friend Stephanie and I were picking through the sales table at Gap when she threw a pair of underwear at me and smirked. I picked it up. It was bright yellow, had the bounce and stretch of a sports bra and right where there ought to have been more fabric, there was nothing. It lived in my drawer for years. My first thong. I was in seventh grade. She bought one as well, and we hid them in our bags like contraband as we giggled our way back to the mall food court to find our moms. When we reached them and she immediately copped to our dalliance, I was mortified. When my mom didn’t bat an eye, I was shocked. Now that I think about it, she always played it cool during those weird little rites of pubescent passage, bless her heart.
I have no idea who or what inspired me to want a thong. I certainly wasn’t worried about VPL as a 12 year old. But somewhere along the line, I got the idea that underwear up the butt felt like teen spirit. When I think back, few purchases made me feel more grown up than those ugly yellow undies. I wonder where they are now. Probably buried in a landfill or hanging off some poor tween seagull’s beak.
I wasn’t an immediate convert. It took me a couple years to build a collection and understand the point, but by the time I was 16, I was a season regular at the Victoria’s Secret five-for-$25 thong tower. It was shaped like a tiered wedding cake and I’m pretty sure was engineered to attract impressionable young girls who wanted to look like Adriana Lima under their soccer uniforms. By the end of high school I was never not in a Victoria’s Secret thong. By the end of college, I’d upgraded to Hanky Panky, but it was essentially the same song and dance. (You owe me $100 for not making that a pun.)
I don’t remember harboring a real appreciation for thongs. I’d just built up all this momentum, you know? They were all my friends wore, too. We were the living embodiment of Sisqó’s vision. And I’d somehow convinced myself I was super into lace. Like really, really into lace.
At some point, though, I strayed — right into seamless. Calvin Klein “invisible hipsters,” to be specific. I had a straight-up cow. I changed my entire personality in like, five seconds. Instant self-righteousness like you’ve never seen. Why the fuck had I literally ever worn a thong? THEY’RE SO UNCOMFORTABLE AND UNSANITARY AND UNFLATTERING. Cancel thongs!!! I bought ten invisible hipsters (also my band’s name) on the spot.
I haven’t worn a thong in about five years. I don’t even own any! And I’ve never felt better about it. I love not having a nightmarish piece of fabric wedged up my butt. It feels like freedom. My drawer is full of underwear that holds me tenderly, instead of slicing me up like a chicken cutlet. I’ve never felt less like a piece of meat! (Even though technically I am.) I’ve even strayed from seamless and started to wear high-waist cotton briefs that give me what Amelia dubbed an “ass mitten.” It’s so fun. I love mittens. VPL never hurt a damn fly.
Photos by Krista Anna Lewis; Pansy underwear in feature image.