Why You Should Always Wear Clean Underwear

FullSizeRender (2)My mom still reminds me to wear lipstick (I hate lipstick), but she no longer mentions wearing nice underwear. Maybe she trusts me now that I’m 46, married and a mom. For years I wondered why it mattered, until I grew up and caught on; however, I’m pretty sure she was referring to cases of extreme emergency rather than one-night-stands. Considering she regularly combed through my closet with the stamina of a professional organizer, I never had the chance to own a yucky pair. Recently I humbly learned that Mom was right.

While securely clad in objectively “nice” underwear beneath my party dress, I sipped wine and chit chatted at a gala, when out of nowhere I felt a twinge in my lower abdomen. I did my best to ignore it, but it grew into an irritating ache. By the time dinner was served, the stabbing pain was impossible to ignore.

As luck would have it, I was seated between my husband (a gynecologist) and my friend (my personal gynecologist). While I was desperate to make it to dessert (I really needed the sugar and caffeine), it became apparent that our evening out was about to end. I was mortified to admit that we needed to excuse ourselves, lest I simulate labor (sans baby) in the middle of the award ceremony. My GYN and husband walked me to the elevators while discussing the pros and cons of a sonogram in the emergency room that night, versus the next morning. Hello? I can hear you.

I have a strong aversion to all things medical (there’s a reason I went to law school), especially as they pertain to my own body, and a sonogram seemed harmless enough, but there were other considerations to weigh. Luckily, the mounting pain and nausea didn’t cloud my judgement. I was able to focus on the pertinent issues in order to make the right choice and advocate on my own behalf as a patient:

Was I waxed? Check.

Did I shave? Check.

Freshly showered? Check.

Pedicure? Check.

And most importantly, what underwear was I wearing? Check, check, check! (Thank you Mom.)

“Okay, I’ll go to the ER,” I told my unsuspecting husband, who figured my cooperation was pain-induced.

I know I’m not the only one. Many women adhere to a personal hygiene checklist before seeing the doctor, but being caught with your pants down, puts a dent in that routine. “Are you putting on lip-gloss?” My husband asked incredulously on the way to the ER. “My lips are dry,” I lied. I figured that since Mom was right about the underwear, she was probably right about the lipstick too.

If you’ve spent any time in an ER on a Saturday night you know that the staff has seen it all. “You didn’t have to get all dolled up for us.” I stammered something about having to leave a black tie event. An attentive nurse noticed that I had no coat and brought me a heated blanket. The blanket was tossed aside by the ultrasound tech who was worried that the lint would ruin my dress. Such attention to detail! Thank goodness I was wearing solid underwear.

“Please take your underwear off and put on a gown,”  I was instructed.

But I’m wearing a cute pair – doesn’t anyone want to see it? For Mom’s sake?

The sonogram revealed that I was not in fact dying, which was a huge relief and that my ruptured cyst would most likely resolve on its own. I was also advised that I’m not pregnant – another refreshing revelation that hadn’t crossed my mind. No one saw my underwear that night and no one seemed to care, but Mom can take the credit for my clear judgment and priorities.


9 thoughts on “Why You Should Always Wear Clean Underwear

  1. I’m a 55-year old male, and I am quite concerned about how my underwear looks (since I usually have white cotton briefs). So, ladies, don’t think you are alone on how your underwear appears. I personally want my underwear to appear at least clean, mostly for the workers, so they won’t have to look at an ugly stain, not as much for how they would see me. I find that usually when I get admitted to a hospital or have to have my underwear in sight, the first two or more that will see them are women. Personally, I’m glad this lady is concerned about hers. When I see a woman’s underwear, I’m not so much noticing its color, type (though I prefer them not to be thongs or g-strings), fabric, whether they are lacy or the elastic is stretched out…it’s whether or not they appear clean (at least on the outside)…I have actually had two different women make jokes about how clean my underwear looks (I remarked to one about them being new…I had such pain on that day when I went to the ER that I figured that I would be admitted…and, on that day, I was right)…I do have an ample supply in case I need them…When I was younger, both of my parents worked, and mom, bless her heart, didn’t always have time to wash them (I was about 9 or 10 at the time, and I didn’t start washing clothes until my teenage years, and I didn’t have many pairs of underwear, since we didn’t have much money…we weren’t dirt poor, but maybe back then were considered low middle-class…when I had a job and made sufficient money, I made sure that I wouldn’t have the problem of running out again…I have had an ample supply since…and often replenish my supply…I possess about 60 clean pairs).

  2. Very glad you are ok. And I cracked up on the line about lipstick. My mom just turned 79 and asked her grandchildren to write birthday cards to her. Instead I bought a beautiful keepsake box and we filled it with 79 love notes, words of inspiration, motivational quotes, etc., etc. One of my cards said, “always put on fresh lipstick”. I just remember sitting in the car at the A&P on the post road and my mother putting on a fresh coat of lipstick before entering the grocery store. I asked why and she replied, “You never know who you are going to meet while out of the house.” Dully noted, I use lip gloss not lipstick, carry a clean pair of underwear with me in my handbag at all times too. Thanks for another trip down memory lane.

  3. I’m glad to hear you are okay. I was thinking appendicitis.

    I always wondered if the motherly admonition to wear nice underwear was actually a nicer of way of saying “Wear some underwear, any underwear!”

  4. my mother still says to me – the few times I see her each year (opposite sides of country), ‘a little blush, Bethie?’

    clean underwear, how prescient. thanks for sharing Erris

  5. You write the way you speak, articulately (with or without lipstick). The best part is that what you write so well, most people can relate to. You are transparent when you recite your story and the sincerity is evident. Continue to keep us informed so that we can continue to laugh at ourselves.

  6. This made me laugh. I took a shower and shaved my legs before I went into the hospital to deliver Jack. I was only 36 weeks and wasn’t even sure I was in labor, but it’s all I would have been thinking about if I didn’t – until the terrible pain set in, of course. I’ve had burst cysts before too- they are so painful. Glad you’re OK!

  7. You are so authentic and eloquent! I love your stories, and I am glad you are feeling better, and not dying! You see how moms are right most of the times, although we don’t like to admit it? ha ha

  8. Once again, you nailed it! So impressed with your writing… and writhing..and your willingness to pose for the camera in the emergency room. You are funny, articulate and provide never a dull moment.
    Keep writing!!!

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