By Sonali Kokra Jan. 28, 2019
Why do we women squeeze ourselves into undergarments that behave like torture devices accessorised with elastic, bows, and ribbons that are meant to irritate the skin at inopportune moments? I’ve realised you aren’t truly emancipated until the day you find yourself committed to the cause of comfortable drawers.
If I wanted to feel the character-building sensation of my ass crack being chafed into oblivion, I’d shove a wad of inexpensive industrial-strength sandpaper between my butt-cheeks. I don’t need the underwear – no sorry, scratch that, the daintily named lingerie industry to sell me hideously overpriced tattered strips of lace masquerading as underwear to achieve the exact same effect.
As a former thong connoisseur, I have a theory: They were created by men in collusion with Satan to keep women from achieving their goal of world domination. We can squeeze out watermelon-sized humans from our nether regions and lose anywhere between 12 to 16 teaspoons of blood every month to prove ourselves worthy of the honour of squeezing said wailing human from said nether reason and live to fight another day for equal pay. But trying to conquer the world without so much as a pained, pinched expression while crystals glued to a string that tries to saw our vaginas into two is too much to ask for.
Imagine being in possession of the country’s nuclear codes and in the unenviable position of being called upon to make the decision that could end civilisation while half your mental faculties are stretched thin trying to quell the yearning to yank the offending piece of fabric persistently riding up your intergluteal cleft. It simply cannot be done. Can you even imagine a man subjecting himself to the ignominy of having his coin slot caressed by a sliver of silk while he delivered a historical speech? I bet one of the first things Margaret Thatcher did before she ran for Prime Minister was to torch her thong collection and replace them with ample-bottomed, breathable, cotton underwear.
Ladies, it’s true. The key to man-like success is hidden in the trunk crammed with grannypanties lying forgotten in the attic of your local Victoria’s Secret.
World domination starts with the right set of drawers.
The sad part is, most of us will likely spend anywhere between two to three decades imprisoning our beavers and booties in expensive leather/pleather prisons before we stumble onto this liberating realisation. Waking up to the futility of underwear that looks like the lace version of the lattice windows in the palaces of Jaipur and does offensively little to protect your lady parts from the wrath of the elements (read: the zipper) is a rite of passage. You aren’t quite adulting until you find yourself seriously pissed off with the global underwear industry. You aren’t truly emancipated until the day you find yourself so committed to the cause of comfortable drawers that you very seriously consider listing “must be willing to share Jockey briefs” as a non-negotiable requirement for prospective partners. Bad boys on Harley Davidsons come and go and are mostly interchangeable, but a man who finds you sexy in a pair of organic cotton bloomers is a keeper. They don’t make too many of those sturdy constitutions any more.
I too spent most of my 20s squeezing my ample proportions into undergarments that behaved less like clothing and more like torture devices artfully accessorised with a complicated web of elastic, suspenders, snaps, bows, ribbons, little useless cages of lace, and trimmings that were meant to irritate the skin at some very inopportune moments. I distinctly remember being stuck in the stall of a portable toilet desperately splashing water on my ass after my special “come hither” lacy underwear decided to set my skin on fire with a particularly aggressive wedgie, while the band I had spent a months’ grocery budget to watch live, played my favourite song a few hundred metres away. And I did it while telling myself that I was empowered, and that wearing underthings that made the vein in my mother’s forehead bulge and throb dangerously every time she saw them drying next to her linen, was the perfect metaphor for my unfettered spirit.
I convinced myself that my exorbitantly priced panties and bras made me feel sexy and were the perfect enticements for my inner goddess to come out and play – even when the underwires were trying to grind my ribcage to dust.
Then came the great mutiny of 2015, when I found myself moving to Delhi on an impulse. After one terrifying Tinder match (he turned stalker-ish after one measly conversation) and one even more terrifying blind date (he had a gun in his glove box), I decided to keep my knees closed and my shirts buttoned to the collar. My lady parts were closed for business, and there would be no wayward thongs or naughty bras playing peek-a-boo from the waistline of my jeans or through transparent blouses. Now that getting laid was off the table, the first order of business was to buy myself a dozen pairs of high-waisted plain cotton panties and equally nondescript un-underwired bras that provided full boob cover and came with dependable inch-wide straps. Those were the most comfortable six months of my life so far. Mother clearly approved, as evidenced by the noticeable absence of The Vein and her beaming face every time I went back home.
The key to man-like success is hidden in the trunk crammed with grannypanties lying forgotten in the attic of your local Victoria’s Secret.
It’s amazing how much you can achieve when your underclothes aren’t trying to suck the will to live out of you. My writing speed tripled, and secure in the knowledge that my boobs were no longer being held up by suspiciously weak-looking strings and the power of prayer every time I stepped out, I was able to finish the book that had seemed like an impossible dream from within the confines of my various lace-and-satin cages.
Ladies, if you ever wonder why, no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to save up enough to make the down payment on even a tiny house in the back-of-beyond neighbourhoods, your answer lies in all the Brazilian waxes you braved your way through just so your pubes wouldn’t puncture the delicate embroidery on your underwear, and all the thousands you’ve spent on each of those bedevilled contraptions.
To the younger women reading this, I leave you with this last bit of parting wisdom: If your minge looks like it is trying to attack your underwear, you’re wearing the wrong underwear. World domination starts with the right set of drawers.
Sonali Kokra is a journalist, writer, editor and media consultant from Mumbai. She writes on feminism, gender rights, sexuality, relationships, and lifestyle. In her 12-year-long career, she has written for national and international magazines, newspapers and websites. She was last seen as the lifestyle editor of NDTV, and HuffPost.com, and has published a coffee table book on Shah Rukh Khan.