It was a typical Tuesday morning. I woke up late, grabbed a clean-ish corporate outfit from the top of an amassed laundry pile and I was off to my soul-destroying job in the finance world. Hours later, whilst en route to a meeting, I decided to take a shortcut through the bank’s main trading floor. I maneuvered my way through the multiplex of jumbo screens and super-sized egos of traders frantically trying to out-bro each other. I was walking as swiftly as possible when I felt an odd sensation around my ankle. It was as if my black cigarette pants were twisted. I reflexively kicked my foot up to release the bind and marched onward.
A deafening roar of cheers and howls rose up behind me. I assumed one of the day traders had just made it rain. I assumed wrong. Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed fingers pointing in my direction. I whipped my head around to witness a sight now forever burned on my retina: A burly stock trader twirling my white lace Cosabella knickers around his pinkie finger. Hypnotized by the sight of my undergarments spinning gusset-first through the air, I remained frozen to the spot. I suddenly recalled with utter horror that this particular piece of intimate apparel had recently survived a long workday and a spin class, remaining unwashed. In the realization that this was a moment I would likely never live down, two options became immediately apparent to me:
1. Scurry your ass the hell out of there, quit immediately and pretend this never happened; or
2. Pull on your big-girl pants and walk over to retrieve your knickers.
I chose option 2. The very thought of my underwear spending the rest of their short life hanging nonchalantly over some trader’s desk was too much to bear. Taking a deep breath and avoiding all eye contact, I walked over to the cackling trader and held out my hand while staring directly at my shoes. Once my underwear was safely deposited into my sweaty palm, I scuttled away to the nearest bathroom as whoops and wails of laughter continued unabashed.
Surprising even myself, I ended up staying at that job for another couple of years. Perhaps as a coping mechanism, the experience remained banished to the inner recesses of my memory, never to be spoken of again. Until now.
They say every experience in life, good or bad, is a lesson. Years later I’m still not sure what I learned or why, but there is now one thing I know for sure: Never grab an outfit from the laundry pile without checking it for stray knickers first.
You can follow Victoria’s blog here. Collage by Maria Jia Ling Pitt; photos by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Pchs Archives and Chaloner Woods via Getty Images.