Gretchen Anthony
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Essays

A Brief Mystery

When underwear is your family's favorite topic.

Gretchen Anthony

Underwear is a favorite topic in our household. Just this morning it came up twice. My husband asked if I’d thrown his away. My youngest asked what the “underwear that looks like shorts” are called, and could I buy him some more of those? My answers came quickly. Yes, they had holes. Those are called boxers, and yes, I can buy more. 

Very often, my boys and I start and finish our days on the topic of underwear. The morning kicks off with one of them running in a blind panic from his bedroom to the laundry room looking for a clean pair. When that fails, he howls my name, knowing that I can usually rustle something up. We verge toward other topics for the afternoon, but by bedtime I’m back to underwear, asking if they’ve changed theirs within the past 24 hours. I inquire at night because that’s when they shower, but I’m repeatedly surprised at how willing they are to crawl back into the same crotchety stank they’d crawled out of moments before. 

What’s never on the agenda, however, is my underwear. No boy wants to or, frankly, should have to talk to his mother about her nether huggers. Which is why I’ve been keeping a particular lycra spandex mystery to myself for the past several months: my favorite underwear went missing.

So, let’s get the obvious questions out of the way first. No, my husband isn’t wearing them (they’re way too small). No, my boys didn’t steal them (I searched their rooms). No, I didn’t loan them out or have to throw them away in a public restroom or leave them behind after an afternoon of lusty hotel sex (with my husband or otherwise (and no, there is no otherwise)).

They aren't at the cabin. Our house wasn't robbed. The dog doesn’t eat that sort of thing.

They're not lodged behind the washing machine. They're not in the odd sock bin.

My favorite underwear vanished.

Alright, so it’s just a pair of underwear. There are plenty more to be had. But women, especially, feel me on this. Some fancy nancies are better than others, no? They don’t creep around where they're not allowed. They hold the line without showing the line. You get me, right?

When a girl’s favorite bumper covers disappear, a girl’s gonna notice.

Then yesterday, I picked up a suitcase I hadn’t used in many months. July, if you're curious. I was reorganizing—new year, etc.—moving it from my closet to basement storage. And just for kicks, I took a peek. There they were. My lovely lovelies. My under theres. My rumpty-tumpty toppers.

I’d packed them for a business trip. Uncertain about the weather or the dress code, I threw in 5 days of clothing for a 2-day commitment. When I unpacked, I didn’t see them tucked away in the corner of my bag.

Another brief problem solved.

One more thing. I know you're wondering. Yes, they were clean. But I threw them in the wash this morning, anyway. Tomorrow, when one of my boys cries out in desperation, I’ll have something to give him. 

No, I wouldn’t do that.

Or would I?

 

Photo credit: Graham Ballantyne