So yesterday, we went out to Target and got a new toaster. And what was supposed to be a laundry bag, but which turned out to be one of those little mesh baggies for washing delicates. Except–this is the weird bit–it’s in a laundry bag package. For a different brand. I nearly took the thing apart trying to figure out if there was some hidden snap or something that would cause it to magically turn into the 36 x 24 with drawstring thingy listed on the label. It was like some fiendish intelligence test, which I obviously failed.

While we were at Target, I picked up a pack of underwear. Long-time readers have read of my difficulty with underwear sizes in the past, such as the fact that the numbers, for some purely arbitrary reason, do not correspond to dress sizes. Nor do they correspond to each other across brand lines. I found myself roaming the aisle aimlessly, looking for plain, ordinary white undies. Normal underwear. Sane underwear. Dear god, who in their right mind wears a red thong with “Brat” in red sequins on it? (Had I purchased such, I could then wash it in my newly acquired delicates bag, I suppose.) The thongs are traumatic. They have gotten smaller and smaller over time. When my sister-in-law stayed with us briefly, and I did a load of laundry, it took me about five minutes to figure out what in blazes the things were–I was guessing hair wraps. I was afraid the cat would try to eat one and choke to death. To each their own, I suppose–I wanted something utilitarian. All the utilitarian stuff is in packages, like socks. The stuff on hangers all had sequins, or Winnie the Pooh, or other things that do not belong on a friggin’ thong. This means that one cannot eyeball the stuff on the shelf–you do the math and you takes your chances.

After reading the backs of the packages, I again made the mistake of comparing brands, only to discover that what corresponds to a 14 in one is a 16 in another, and a 16-19 in yet another, and since I realized I have no actual idea what my dress size is anyway, since I never wear a dress, and I wear men’s jeans since they’re half the price, so am I a twelve or a fourteen or a sixteen, or all three,* and only one brand had the actual waist measurements, I made the hideous mistake of taking the waist measurements from that size, comparing it to the dress-size, and then picking another brand that corresponded to the same waist size. It was a bit of complex clothing algebra, do the factoring, balance the equation, solve for x.** I erred large, thinking, in a vague sense, that A) loose underwear is better than tight and B) James had probably picked out a new toaster by now, but would be loitering by the small electronics rather than mount an expedition into the dark realms of Lingerie, so I’d better hurry.

This is how I wound up with underwear that, in the event of a wardrobe malfunction, can be used to shield my entire upper body. And in the event of a sudden rainstorm could double as a rainslicker. If somebody attempted to give me a wedgie, I would have likely have time to talk them out of it, and perhaps do coffee, before they had hauled enough material to make matters uncomfortable.


*This is the most likely scenario.

**That I had to think of my high school algebra teacher, Mr. De Haas, while shopping for underwear, was a crowning cruelty. Ha had a perfectly round head and absolutely straight limbs, and in a bizarre fashion resembled nothing so much as one of the little guys on the Men’s Restroom signs, brought to math-teaching life.

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