Dangerous Compassions

what underwear is for

Hey, I’ve been thinking about what underwear is for.  What do you think underwear is for?  I used to think it was so you could wear your outer clothes an extra day, like the underwear keeps your pants or skirt or dress cleaner.  A stray drop of pee would not go on it.

Then I thought it was more a psychological barrier.  I had a friend with two kids, and one of the kids hated to wear underwear.  His parents were trying to force him to wear underwear, a daily battle, and finally one day, things changed.  The kid did not have to wear underwear anymore, via some special agreement.

A way to protect penises from the zippers of jeans?  A way to hold a menstrual pad in place?  Yeah, that could be part of it.


Underwear has always bothered me because of the seams.  Sensory needs mean seams hurt me.  I wear clothes insideout as much as I can.  Some underwear has a pattern on the outside, like little blue flowers.  So wearing them insideout always feels weird, like I’m wasting the pattern…?  But wearing them rightsideout meant the seams hurt me.  It’s confusing.

I heard of “going commando” like wearing no underwear–seemed daring, transgressive.  Sometimes related to running out of underwear, like if someone needed to do laundry.  Going commando could be a brave, uncomfortable option.

I had a friend who hated underwear and said there was no point to it.  Just extra laundry.  That’s part of why I think about what underwear is for.  That friend is one of the smartest people I ever knew.  It’s been a long time, but I still consider their opinion.

Once I shocked Ming by going without underwear when we were away on a trip, and I brought one pair too few.  He has ocd laundry stuff, and I asked him if wearing no underwear threw everything off, for him.  He said no, he could handle it.

I suffered the consequences when the shorts I was wearing had a terrible tag, and the tag rubbed on me weird where I usually was safe thanks to the underwear.  Dancing outside, I folded my shorts down to try to make the tag not touch my skin.  It was terrible!

sew buttons

I loved someone long ago–when I said, “So…” as a way to begin a sentence, they would say, “Sew buttons on your underwear.”  Their grandma told them that when they were a kid.  It was one of those things like, “Don’t be a turkey, Albuquerque,” that are funny but not sure why.  Because you don’t need buttons there, and underwear is vaguely funny.

I remember a friend’s story–she was in the UK and got caught in the rain.  She came into a bar and announced, “My pants are soaked!”  The bar people snickered because there, pants were underwear.

In my family they were called chonies.  A variation could be choners.  I think that’s a Mexican-American thing, maybe just from that part of the coast.

I loved someone who called them underpants.  Seemed wholesome.  She liked when her underpants matched her outer clothes, though no one saw but herself.


Once I was at the co-op in Sacramento and someone whispered to me, “Your underwear is showing!” like that was scandal.

I was like, “Ok!  Thank you!” and pulled my jeans up, trying to cover myself better.  But it confused me, like is that really wrong?

The other day, Ming and I were on a walk, and he said similar.  Some desire to protect me, to help me be less vulnerable.  My butt is unusual–it has a little hump of fat over my tailbone, so maybe people feel like that’s embarrassing, and they want to help me not show it.  I’ll take that as love.

I think if my ass, vulva, and nipples are covered, I’m ok!  But I struggle to understand what’s required of me and try to be a good pumpkin.

rose foot

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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