When it comes to reminiscing about one’s childhood, most people would not look back, fondly or otherwise, on the underwear they have worn over the years. But since I was never really in the category of “most people” but rather in the “weird ones,” I would like to share a few thoughts on this particular subject because it has been percolating (or more aptly: fermenting) in my mind for the past two months.
Recently, a friend posted his embarrassing underwear moments on his blog site. Funny enough, while I was reading his article, all I could think of was this particular pair of undergarment that has haunted me from 4th grade, all throughout high school, and even up to now.
Generally, people do not give their panties specific names. But then again, I have always been weird and because that particular occasion warranted it, I have named one specific pair of mine as Cheesecloth. Cheesecloth actually came into my life as a great looking panty. My mother bought me this apple green colored underwear which was decorated with tiny dark blue colored butterflies. Like most of my undergarments during that time, it was waist high which (as my mother kept insisting) covered everything that needed to be covered, including the lower part of my ribs, my bellybutton and all parts of my behind.
I actually loved Cheesecloth. So much so, that after two years of favoring it over the rest of my panties, I had worn it down to cheesecloth like consistency; hence the name. By the time I was in 6th grade, Cheesecloth had degenerated into the thinnest underwear fabric known to man. If you folded it up into 3 sections, you could still see through to the other side. This underwear also had garters on its leg openings which had already snapped shortly afterwards. This left the fabric freely flapping down there whenever I ran. In other words, only the waist band held Cheesecloth up whenever I wore it.
As I entered my first year in high school, I finally accepted that Cheesecloth had served its time. But for the life of me, I could not bear to throw it out. So, it was kept there in my underwear drawer and was used as sparingly as possible. By “sparingly,” I meant: using it
only when I no longer had any other clean underwear to use.
However, subsequent use of Cheesecloth proved to be embarrassingly calamitous — to my dignity, that is; and oh yeah, to certain parts of my anatomy as well.
One time I wore Cheesecloth underneath my one-piece bathing suit. I figured that since it was so thin, no one would notice. I actually had more fun in the water since the undergarment’s lack of garters in the leg openings gave me more freedom to splash about and I was not afraid of exposing female parts that should never be shown in public.
But when I rose from the water, Cheesecloth hung out like curtain draperies from both leg openings of the bathing suit. Worse, I had not noticed that I was walking around with droopy underwear because I was wearing a vest like floatation device. Someone else had to point it
out to me.
Let’s just say that it was one of those moments when I seriously considered living underwater for the rest of my life.
FATEFUL P.E. CLASS
Although there were other misadventures I have had with Cheesecloth, the one instance that finally made me decide that this particular pair of panties had to go happened in 2nd year high school. Due to a whole week of rain, I ran out of clean, dry underwear on P.E. day. I distinctly remember that the incident happened on a Thursday.
It was a choice between using a dirty pair and having to make do with Cheesecloth. Naturally, I chose the latter. Unfortunately, the underwear waist band finally snapped when I pulled it up, giving me a third improbable choice of going commando on P.E. day.
I couldn’t do that of course since our P.E. teacher during that year was relentless when it comes to physical exercise. She was known to make students do duck walks the entire length of the gym, jog up and down the bleachers, and perform jumping jacks like your life depended on it. Her favorite sport was volleyball which I totally sucked at, and she hardly gave us time to practice kickball which I was somewhat good at.
Not so brilliantly, I decided to liberally use safety pins to hold Cheesecloth up. But no matter how hard or creatively I pinned the fabric together, the panty kept sliding off. It was always in inevitable danger of sliding down to my knees like curtain draperies if I did something physically strenuous, like breathing.
Since I am prone to do weird things and due to the desperate need to WEAR underwear — any underwear to school, I decided to pin the useless waist band unto the middle part of my P.E. shirt. By that time, Cheesecloth’s loose fabric covered most of my midsection including the lower part of my ribs, my entire stomach area, and parts of my behind down to about 3 inches of my upper thighs.
Since the shirt was normally hidden under a dark blue jumper (which in my school was used in lieu of jogging pants,) I decided that I had a workable solution to my underwear problem. The only drawback was that: every time I raised my arms, my undergarment rode up my female parts that should never be rode up in. I decided to keep my arms down for the rest of the day. I mean, in my P.E. class, I could ask to be a baseman in a game of kickball which would mean, I could catch balls thrown at me at waist height.
Unfortunately, my P.E. teacher had a different idea. She made us do jumping jacks for six sets at 24 repetitions each, before and after the volleyball game as a form of warm up and cooling down exercises. Then she decided, on that particular day alone, that all those who sucked at this particular sport should do extra work spiking (well, trying to spike) the ball over the net.
I vividly remember that memorable Thursday because I was sore all throughout Friday in places I should never have been sore in. By Saturday morning, I was feverish with soreness. By Sunday, I officially hated P.E. classes.
GETTING RID OF CHEESECLOTH
As soon as I came home that fateful Thursday, I gave Cheesecloth (all torn up from the safety pins, the jumping jacks and the overhead volleyball spikes) an ignominious dismissal. I threw it in my room’s trash can. What can I say? I was thoughtless then… and sore… and humiliated… and sore… and pricked by pins… and sore.
Did I mention, being sore?
Little did I know that Cheesecloth would take a life of its own and punish me unmercifully for its shameful (and unwashed) eviction from my underwear drawer.
A few days after saying farewell to Cheesecloth, it came back – newly washed, dried and neatly folded. It was actually sitting proudly on top of my other newly laundered panties. I asked my Mother about it and she thought I had accidentally thrown out my favorite pair of
underwear, so she rescued it.
Right then and there, I knew I was in for a long, hard fight. My Mother never actually threw out anything if she could help it. If any object at home was still serviceable, my mother kept it. I knew I had to find sneakier ways of getting rid of Cheesecloth.
I once surreptitiously inserted this particular pair of undergarment in a bag of old clothes that my Mother had collected for donation to kids in an orphanage. I figured that someone would find Cheesecloth still “serviceable,” either as a tofu strainer or a cheap lamp shade fabric. A few days later, it was back. It was sitting on top of my panty pile like it was mocking me. Worse still: I saw minute stitches where my Mother had darned the holes the safety pins made during P.E. class.
I then rumpled Cheesecloth up and stuck it into the pile of rags that my mother kept in her cleaning cabinet. I mean, as a piece of rag, it can still be considered as serviceable, right? Apparently, my Mother had a different notion of underwear serviceability because Cheeseclothcame back, all washed, dried, folded and obviously steeped in fragrant fabric conditioner.
Another not so brilliant notion came to me. I gave our housekeeper Cheesecloth to use as a floor rag. She was looking for something to use while she waxed the floor. I told her that my loose and old underwear had already outlived its serviceability and had to literally beg her to please, please, (heaven help me) PLEASE use it. She grudgingly took Cheesecloth. I waited until she poured the red wax on the fabric and smeared it all over the wood floor. I thought that was
the end of it.
I checked my underwear drawer religiously after that. I was making sure that Cheesecloth would not miraculously resurrect itself.
Unfortunately, it did… and on Easter morning too. I opened my underwear drawer and there sat Cheesecloth. It was shockingly clean, like it was bleached and purged of all of my wrongdoings. I picked it up by its useless waist band and held it above my head (which was possible because I had worn a new pair of underwear that did not ride up my female parts when I raised both arms.)
Was this a sign? What message was Cheesecloth trying to convey? Was it thinking of other ways of punishing me for my transgression? Heaven help me!
I finally decided to smuggle that darn piece of underwear outside the house and throw it someplace else. I wrapped Cheesecloth in several sandwich bags and stuffed it in one of my knapsack’s pockets. I hatched an abysmal plan of throwing it in the trash can of my homeroom classroom when everyone else had left for the day.
The bad news was that: some of my classmates decided to stay a while longer when the final bell rang. I pretended to catch up on my homework assignments while inwardly wishing that they would leave already.
By the time everyone was ready to go home, the janitor was already sweeping the floor of the classroom. I hastily threw the sandwich bag which contained Cheesecloth into the trash can and made a mad dash for the door. I must have looked suspiciously weird because in my peripheral vision, I saw Mr. Janitor pick up the bag. He tried to peel through the layers of plastic.
I scampered out of there faster than you can say “floatation device!”
CHEESECLOTH’S ONE LAST SALVO
I would like to say that the story of Cheesecloth ended there, but it didn’t. Mr. Janitor did not return my underwear to me, but it still managed to come back in another way.
Two years later, after our high school graduation ceremony, a few of my batch mates and I returned to campus to finish and polish up the yearbook. We asked the groundskeeper to lend us tables and chairs that we could work on. The elderly man was more than obliging. After a few minutes of waiting, we had our work stations set up.
Mr. Groundskeeper started wiping the surfaces. I noticed that the rag he was using looked overly familiar — with its thin fabric, the almost imperceptible butterfly designs and the grimy but still noticeable apple green color. One of my batch mates jokingly asked the man if he was using old underwear as a rag and he said yes. He even held it up for everyone to see.
I tried to laugh along with everyone, but I knew Cheesecloth was showing me its deplorable condition. It was like having a finger pointed straight at me with the unspoken message: “Look how thoughtless you are! You did this to me! Look at what I have become!”
Fortunately, that was really the last day I saw Cheesecloth. In the back of my mind though, I feel like it would appear again if I visited the campus once more.