I used to go skinny-dipping in the summer sometimes. Not something to do with boys. Later maybe, but not at that stage of my life. Which meant I was down there at our special “hope there ain’t no water moccasins around” dunking hole with the black girls. Great bunch for it, too. They were as rowdy and inventive in the water as they were with jump-ropes. And I found it kind of interesting to see them running around naked, jumping off the bank, swinging off tree limbs. Their bodies were just beautiful, like black seals in the water. One thing caught my attention the first time we went down there and peeled off, though. They weren’t wearing panties. At least Tree and LaMa and Mazz weren’t. I thought that was vaguely shocking for some reason. They’d been running around with the breeze up their coozies all this time. At some point I asked them about it.
Turned out they thought it was kind of weird that I did wear them. That other girls did. Older girls like Eek and all, sure, there were hygiene things going on. But they figured that it wasn’t good to keep your privates encased like that, certainly not with nylon because it didn’t breathe and you could get ill from having your vapors trapped in like that. I have no idea where they got this idea, but I started thinking about it when we were jumping rope and running around. They were all bare to the world down there. I previously wouldn’t have been caught dead in everyday life without undies on, went straight from diapies to tacky little K-Mart briefs. So there I was, is my point here, in grade school, at recess, and thinking about girls’ pussies. Just because they didn’t have the same theories about underwear as me.
But I amended those theories later on in life, and maybe the swimming hole gang were the inspiration for it. I was in a fairly major beauty pageant. Like if you copped any headgear out of this one, you could show up in Miss Alabama. Fondest dreams of many a nubile contestant, let me tell you. There were fancier clothes all around. I was wearing the kit I’d established at that point: generally built around somebody’s old wedding gown, currently depreciated by bitter divorce or lackadaisical abandonment, re-constituated by many helpful hands on sewing machines and glove-maker’s needles. I’d gotten up to the point where the idea was sleek cocktail kind of show-ups counting for more than Ms. Scarlett yards of skirt with jonquil bodices and I looked pretty good in comparison to all that fancy designer stuff longing to wear the labels on the outside. A tribute to the survival of heartland distaff skills. And I started doing some hair things. I’d always gone with just the simplest fall of blonde locks, very natural and suited to my facial shape, but once I started getting sleek I went for putting it all up, and Flora Lee would come through nicely for me, sitting behind me looking over my shoulder into the mirror with her tongue poked out to one side of her teeth, kind of frowning as she piled it up there, filament on filament held in place with cute tricks, gold-painted bobby pins, and witchcraft.
We worked on the whole walk thing, too. Kind of an artless slink with shades of pertness. Looked at DVD’s of blonde goddesses of days gone by. I was rather taken by Kim Novak, and everybody urged me to a Jayne Mansfield wobble, but really I saw it as all about Grace Kelly, still a bit of a personal idol. So anyway, came the day. There was this flustery little gaggle of contestants in a room full of mirrors, touchy fabrics and neurosis, everybody trying to maximize their curb appeal and maybe psyche out the opposition. I should mention that one problem that needed addressing was the VPL. There are other pageant undies issues, believe me, but I’ll wait off to some other week for that. The thing to avoid was the Visible Panty Line. How would it look to shimmer up to the MC with your best “Here she comes…” take and people could see the edges of your panties? About like having a bra strap flopping around while you tell them what you think about the upcoming elections, that’s what.
So you wanted something super non-intrusive. Even pantyhose had a welt at the top that could indent your silky flesh and create crises. Stewing your genitals in their own juices was also a pantyhose bete noir, of course, as anticipated by my black Little Rascals auxiliary of days gone by. But you could probably stave off toxic shock for a couple of hours. Some of the girls favored these super slinky seamless panties from Bally (not very good at hiding the lines) or Commando or Spanx. So here’s everybody in there checking every detail of what people can see, beautiful young women trying to present that finely honed line between super-fuckable and unapproachable, and in addition to hair and face and hands and bosom and the works, you see them turning and sliding a hand down their haunches to make sure nothing’s riding on the fringes of their panties, making the PL very V under the bullying lights and cameras. And here came this sort of triumvirate of battleaxe biddies cruising through all the jitters and artifice. I had noticed, over my years on the beauty circuit, a gradual change in the women who honchoed these things. No more the big, ruddy-faced mommas who paraded us out at fairs and shopping center openings. By that point more like fading ex-contestants who couldn’t give up their moments of starshine and got their jollies herding the younger ones.
They stopped behind me and gave me the once-over in the mirror. I was not in high favor in their circles. High favor would have been some Senator’s daughter with dyed roots traceable to both Plymouth Rock and the Daughters of the Confederacy and years of study in their pageant dojos, sporting expensive imported duds from boutiques known to and approved of by them all. I was a white trash usurper, which was even worse than black trash because they had to be nice to colored girls. I was up there without belonging, country girl in suspect gown, amateur coiffure, paste jewels and a string of tiaras on my resume. I smiled once and ignored them, helping Seelah and LaDonna Stagler mess with my hair. One of them eyed my hips. My virginal satin had been cut in wicked close to my bottom. I had realized early on that my main ASSet should be sort of naively emphasized and the final stitch-up I got from the sewing circle was like a second skin in flawless white marble. This was probably seen as trashy. So of course, the head hag mentioned it, twisted into a compliment. “My, you have a beautiful fit, dear. And so well controlled.” And with a little smile, “Let me guess, those new ‘CYA’ panties from Spanx?”
I didn’t quite bat my carefully augmented eyelashes at her, but was sweet as peach pie, “Oh, no ma’am. I just left my panties at home.”
That froze the old buzzards up. But I added, “You can’t be too careful about confining moisture and bacteria in tight spaces where it can get up to mischief, I’ve been told.”
There was instant quiet, and not just from the Three Disgraces. LaDonna, who’d been eliminated early and was keeping her dreams alive by sucking up to me as a sort of dueling second in the pits, was shocked deaf, mute, and dumber. Selah and Flora were about to strangle to keep from laughing fit to die. After a deliciously strained silence, the head harridan managed to say, “Well, you girls today. My mother brought me up to be afraid of robe dust.”
Her right hand wingwitch said, “Very well put, Veronica.” They swiveled around with their heads balancing invisible books and slid on out of there. I never did get the “robe dust” crack, but I’m sure it was very delicate and non-trashy.
LaDonna was about to fall over and start twitching on the floor. She said, “Cammy Hunnicutt, you don’t care who you’re sassy to, do you?”
Flora said, “I’m surprised you didn’t show her.”
Since I’d pretty well blown Miss Congeniality, I figured I’d have to go out there and special dazzle them into winning the whole swag. Actually, I dazzled into First Runner Up. Pissed me off. I think the winner was a Governor’s secret illegitimate daughter with documented ancestry to Robert E. Lee and Dolly Madison on her mother’s side.
After all the squealing and kissy-face onstage, we got herded into a sort of winner’s circle for pictures and slim stemware full of non-alcoholic bubbly stuff, prior to the real post-deal reception. The winner ended up standing near me, looked me up and down and said, “I understand you have a really original solution to panty lines. Maybe it would make a good tip for the website.”
I looked her over, too, and said, “You want a peek?”
Her personal coven blanched and crossed themselves and she came up with, “I suppose it’s hard to buy underwear over in Mississippi.”
I stepped up to her. She was also fairly petite for a pageant girl, so we were kind of nipple-to-nipple. I said, “I hear tell the First Runner Up would be called upon to discharge official duties if any God-forbid sort of shit happened to the winner.”
Her eyes bugged out most gratifyingly and she kind of vanished with a puff of perfumed smoke.
So the years passed from those innocent days when I strolled lit stages with my pulchritude (I LOVE that word) chastely shrouded. And my relationship with panties got more intensive. Modeling lingerie opened my eyes to a lot of the contradictory nature of underwear–at least of underwear in men’s’ eyes, which is what lingerie is all about. Panties painstakingly designed and expensively executed to be quickly dispensed with and tossed over a lampshade, to cover designated anatomical areas while emphasizing them beyond anything in nature. Just as bras decently cover up titties while salaciously emphasizing, if not actually augmenting, their shape and appearance. I learned when it’s a turn-on to show up with nothing on underneath, and when it’s a turn-on to keep undies on over your scenic areas even unto the consummation thereof. How “camel toes” can be more erotic than a bare genital cleft. Guys who get turned on seeing black or red panties under your white pants, more so than if you had none. Guys who want to see panties peeking from under a cheerleader skirt, guys who want there to be nothing but cheerleader under there. Guys who will pay for girls without panties attached, guys who will pay for panties without girl attached.
But one of the oddest little Zen moments in the whole möbius strip peek-a-boo was during my brief stint as a pole dancer. One of the girls told me I’d do better if I had tan lines. Particularly bikini bottom tan lines. The VPL had returned, triumphant and not to be denied! I avoid tanning. I like being my natural pure white color. When I played beach sports I SPF’ed to the max. I wasn’t about to start tanning topless or going to tan booths or using that orange skin paint. But I came up with a solution. I used make-up. Just a few shades darker than my Grecian marble/fish belly complexion. I put on a thong bottom and used it as a stencil to apply the base around it and rubbed it away from the thong, feathering it out until it just sort of faded away. But when I took off the thong, voila, I had a bikini tan line. And she was right, they liked it out there, “Standing” ovation. Go figure that.
What it comes down to is, and take this from a professional in the field, the dirtiest undies are no undies at all.