Once upon a time I had a pair of lucky green panties. They were dark green, size small, purchased from Victoria’s Secret while I was in college. They were my “lucky” green panties because for some reason, they just wouldn’t die. I had those damn things for over ten years — during which time my weight fluctuated up and down by about 35 pounds. AND THEY STILL FIT. ALWAYS. These were magical panties. No two ways about it.
I liked Victoria’s Secret underthings. They were well-made and comfortable, and they came in a variety of styles — most of which I had no intention of trying, ever. I’ve generally shied away from both of the spectrum’s extremities; I don’t go for the high-leg briefs (full belly-button and tramp stamp coverage) nor the string thongs (cooter-floss). I’ve always preferred the bikinis and the briefs. All I ask of a panty is full cheek-coverage and a disinclination to creep up my crannies.
Check, and check.
My underwear drawer is loosely organized in tiers. I have three tiers of underwear: (1). Nice, new underpants to delight any emergency first-responders, (2). middling underpants which are maybe a little old or faded, but are structurally sound, and (3). the old beaters for wearing once a month, or on the absolute last day before laundry hits critical mass.
Historically speaking, these tiers cycle through once every few years (except for that lucky green pair) — and the cycling occurs when I’d wander into VS and hit the table with the “Five pairs for $25!” sign.
Because I’ve been such a regular, faithful customer, VS sends me intermittent coupon cards redeemable for one free panty. I have acquired many a pair in this fashion, and I’ll admit, the marketing tactic has worked on me more than once. I mean, if I get one FREE panty, and the panties are already 5 for $25, then REALLY I can get SIX pairs for $25 — which is a perfectly respectable price for almost a week’s worth of something I intend to keep and wear for awhile.
So. To make a long story short, for most of my paycheck-earning adult life — approximately 20 years — I’ve owned virtually nothing but Victoria’s Secret underpants.
But I think this is going to change. The reasons are primarily two-fold.
(1). The older I get, the less respect — nay, simple civility — I receive from their sales staff. It’s as if anyone over 22 is invisible, and utterly unworth their time. I’m thirty-four, and they act like I’m teetering around the sales floor with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. But I’m not. I’m a civilized adult customer with credit cards and decades of brand loyalty in my britches — and I don’t deserve the nasty attitude and eye-rolling. On the rare occasions when I see a girl trying to offer good customer service, she’s usually shouted down by other employees. (No shit. I saw this today, actually. That’s why I didn’t pick up a free panty, and threw the coupon away.)
(2). The panties are no longer any good. I don’t know if the quality dropped off a cliff all of a sudden, or if it happened gradually — over the year or two wherein I didn’t buy any, shortly after moving to Seattle and being so broke I was rolling pennies for tampon money. But the quality has definitely gone to hell.
It’s not as if I didn’t give them the benefit of a doubt. I didn’t do a spot-check via free panty acquisition; I’m talking about a total of twelve pairs of underpants that are virtually unwearable, acquired at different stores (in different STATES), for pretty much the same reasons across the board.
PROBLEM THE FIRST: THE FIT. Something about the cut of the briefs/bikinis changed – and now I can’t get them to successfully cover my right ass-cheek to save my life. Now, as those of you who’ve met me can attest, my ass is not particularly uneven. I mean, one cheek might be a little fuller than the other — people are a little asymmetrical sometimes, okay, fine. But I’m not such a lopsided butt-freak that people stop me on the street to point and laugh. For that matter, all my older (second- and third-tier panties) fit just fine. They cup both booty halves without comment, complaint, or incident. No crack-ward creep occurs. It’s only the new ones that fail me.
PROBLEM THE SECOND: THE INTRODUCTION OF A SECRET POCKET. Yeah. If that sounds weird to you regular panty-wearing types, it ought to. I don’t want a secret pocket in my panties. I don’t ever intend to carry anything in my panties — least of all, cradled halfway up my hoo-hah. But as far as I could tell, all the styles now have this handicap.
Here. It’s time for pictures.
(Though first, I’m going to put in a page-cut because this is running long. Click the link below in order to get a gander at the visuals — unless you’ve followed a link directly to this entry, in which case, just keep scrolling.)
Below you shall see a perfectly ordinary (though hideously flawed) pair of Victoria’s Secret panties, size medium. Lime green with white polka-dots. Kicky, non?
Well, I rather liked them. That’s why I bought them — that, and an eternal sense of optimism. Hey, maybe these panties wouldn’t suck! Maybe they’d cover both cheeks, instead of cruelly leaving one to hang, and galloping merrily toward my southern tropics. Yeah, and maybe monkeys will fly out of my ass.
(They’d better not, unless they want to get clothes-lined in a peculiarly literal fashion.)
Anyway, these undies don’t just suffer from the poor cut. They suffer from the SECRET POCKET.
What has basically happened here is that Victoria’s Secret has decided that stitching the cotton crotch all the way to the main body of the underpant is entirely too much trouble. So they’ve left the top edge open. Note, if you will, how that top seam has curled inward. That’s from one washing. ONE WASHING and the damn thing feels like sitting on a jump rope if I’m wearing anything more form-fitting than a sleeping bag.
No, it isn’t a HUGE SEAM, though my experience with other pairs over several washings proves that the seam begins to roll even tighter, and become even more uncomfortable. And the point is, it’s a significant seam in a VERY SENSITIVE PLACE, which is to say, it DOES NOT BELONG THERE.
I assume this is some kind of cost-cutting measure on Victoria’s Secret’s part. I bet they save a whopping three cents on every panty they fail to stitch up to completion. Way to screw up a perfectly good pair of panties, Victoria. I hope your three cents per pair keeps you warm at night.
But then again, maybe I’m misunderstanding the situation! Maybe it’s not a bug, it’s a feature. Here are just a few of the things I had hanging around the apartment — things which easily fit in the secret pocket.
My favorite lipstick – left hanging half out of the pocket lest you think it’s some kind of toy.
My Nano. One day I’ll be able to control the shuffle mode while practicing my Kegels.
A flash drive. GET IT? I’D HAVE TO TAKE OFF MY UNDERPANTS TO SHOW IT TO YOU! SO IT’S A LITERAL FLASH DRIVE! Get it? [:: cough cough ::] [:: initiates shuffle mode ::] [:: oops ::]
So. Yes. Anyway.
That’s basically why I’m taking my business elsewhere.
Oh, there are a few other reasons, don’t get me wrong. For example — to add a footnote to the problem with the Secret Pocket seam, it’s very difficult to get a pad to stick to the crotch surface when the seam is coiling around all over the place. And I kind of hate the direction that the store’s decor has been going in the last few years.
Back in my day [:: rattles cane ::] Victoria’s Secret was a fairly classy, low-key place for grown-up women-shaped people of taste — not a storefront that looked like the interior of a pedophile’s favorite van. I don’t know what’s up with that PINK line, but it makes my eyes bleed. No thanks.
* * *
Well, I’m sure I’ll find a suitable replacement eventually. Jockeys have come quite highly recommended, and the Gap has nice underwear for about the same price. And for now, I still have enough of a stash of the old VS styles to last me a bit longer.
It’s a shame, though. I’m going to miss those polka-dots.