Because there were five, sometimes six, and sometimes even seven children in my household, my parents were more than happy to send us on a rotating schedule a mile down the street to sleepover at our maternal grandparents’ house. And we were more than happy to take our turns and get away from the herd for a while.
One summer evening, when I was probably 6 or 7 years old, it was my turn to vacate, so I packed up my Lisa Frank backpack with all my favorite woobies and my light cotton summer pajamas with the pastel yellow pants I loved so much and made the long trek over in our Chevy Malibu. I spent a quiet afternoon playing with the same Mr. Potato Head and Pick Up Sticks and ViewMaster that my mother had as a child. Then I had a nice dinner at 4:30 and went to take my bath before the late night TV shows like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy came on.
But after I had stepped out of the bath and toweled off, crisis struck. My favorite pajamas were in my backpack, but there was no clean pair of underwear. I yelled for my grandmother and then explained to her through the door what the problem was. Her answer? “Don’t wear underwear. You shouldn’t be wearing underwear to bed anyways.”
WHAT? NO UNDERWEAR? Who ever heard of such a thing? How could she suggest that? It was disgusting to even consider! But was it more disgusting than putting on a used pair of underwear after having taken a bath? This was a serious dilemma and grandma clearly wasn’t going to help. I could wash and dry my underwear, but then I would have to sit in the bathroom in my towel for hours while I waited. I could cry and cry and cry until my grandmother called my parents and told them to bring me another pair, but that wasn’t my style. Ultimately, I folded up some toilet paper, the scratchy kind that my grandfather was convinced was the only one that wouldn’t clog the plumbing, and placed it between my delicate bits and the offending, used pair.
I remember telling my mother about this near tragedy when I got home the next day, but I don’t remember her response. I do know that no one ever told me that my grandmother was right. Lady parts need air. Really, men parts do too. Shouldn’t that be part of “the talk” we get when the public school administration separates us girls from the boys for that one day in fifth grade so a grown-up Aileen Quinn can explain to us via VHS tape what becoming a woman means and the nurse can show us maxi pads thicker than my parents’ mattress? I remember being told that I shouldn’t hang around in my wet swim suit for too long and that I should wear cotton underwear instead of satin or anything else that traps moisture. But no one ever said to sleep naked! Turns out that sleeping naked is freeing and helps keep you fresh and prevents the nasty indentations that mold into your butt cheeks if you wear underwear 24/7. I quite enjoy sleeping in the buff now, well, at least when my polar bear partner isn’t home to turn the AC down to 64 degrees.
Curious about what everyone else is writing for the A to Z Blog Challenge? Me too! I’m featuring three blogs from my fellow contributors each day. Here are today’s entertaining, lyrical, beautiful, unique, informative, or just plain random discoveries:
Way to hang in there, fellow participants! It’s getting harder and harder to find blogs whose authors have made it this far. Sorry to see you go, so near the end: Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax and Cabbages and Kings