The Underwear Drawer Of An Almost-40-Year-Old

by Jill Pond

I’ve been dreading it for months. It’s out of control, it’s on the verge on disgusting, and I’m ashamed of 80 percent of the things that dwell in the space known as my underwear drawer.

Today was the day. Do or die. I was going to release the Kraken and get my intimates in order. I entered the closet; a shiver of fear passed through my veins. I wasn’t ready. I procrastinated for a while, doing unspeakable things: straightening stacks of jeans, folding shirts and putting purses I’ll never use again on the top shelf just in case I want to use them again. I went so far as to make a Goodwill pile of things that have been in there for three years with zero usage, but I swear I’ll wear again someday. That’s when the thought hit me like a ton of bricks.

Am I a hoarder?! No matter. I have more pressing issues to attend to.

The moment arrived, and I took a deep breath to steady myself. Hands shaking, I pulled open the drawer. I was met by a sickening waft of lavender, gardenia and lime; the conglomerate of potpourri bags threatened to weaken my resolve. No, I thought. No, I’m doing this.

I held my breath and dug my arms into the tangled mass of lady-wear and dumped it relentlessly on the floor. Ha! Take that, granny panties. Fuck you, nursing bra. I’m the boss here, and like Gandalf facing the Balrog, I thundered, “You shall not pass!” back into the bowels of my undies drawer. “You shall not pass.”

Inventory of items was as follows:

– 5 pairs of my husband’s old boxers – 3 pairs of women’s sleep shorts – 7 pairs of post-pregnancy underwear, three with holes in them or strings hanging off – 9 polyester, pre-pregnancy thongs because, you know, hemorrhoids – 7 bras, four of which were over 7 years old – 1 nursing bra (my youngest is 5, and we have no plans for more) – 1 lavender sachet – 1 gardenia sachet – 2 lily of the valley potpourri bags from 10 years ago that still smell (What’s in those suckers?) – 1 baggie containing 5 baby teeth the tooth fairy supposedly took – 3 notes my 7-year-old wrote to the garden fairies that mysteriously disappeared – dog hair – a dead moth – miscellaneous receipts from 2010 – various discarded price tags – 1 pair of underwear belonging to an unknown person

Before I lost my nerve, I quickly gathered up the obvious items that I wouldn’t be needing ever again. Ciao, men’s boxers; adios, old and tattered bras; au revoir, hemorrhoid-chafing thongs; and goodbye, granny panties! You were all good to me, and I’m sorry. Sorry I didn’t throw you away sooner. BOOYAH! I was making progress, and I was pumped.

I began to feel lighter and decided it was time to organize. I grabbed the old shoe box off my shelf that once housed my Crocs (don’t judge) and painstakingly ripped the top off. In it, I put three rarely used but pretty bras that only come out on special occasions (weddings, and maybe sexy time, but probably not), one pair of granny panties (just in case), two thongs (just in case), the sachets, the baby teeth and the fairy notes. The remainder of the drawer was like a vast open space, unmarked by urban sprawl, Ikea or Home Depot. I dust-busted the debris like a boss, and aside from the moth causing a temporary clog, I made it through unscathed and empowered.

My four remaining bras and three pairs of lady boxers luxuriated in their new home. It was as if some magical crew from HDTV came in and remodeled the whole house while I was on a cruise. It was time for a shower; the nervous sweat from the anticipatory process had left me smelling like chicken noodle soup and onion rings.

I sit here now thinking back on the experience, and I feel as though I’m in a good place to give advice to underwear-hoarders across the land. My people, be not afraid. Those panties that have holes? Bury them in a time capsule. Misshapen bras with quitter elastic? Burn those bitches immediately. Men’s boxers? You should be ashamed. Bury them with the panties. You can do it.

The cleaning of the underwear drawer is much like a funeral of a goldfish. You don’t want to do it, it’s sort of sad (but not really), and it’s a symbolic gesture of freedom. Ladies! Do the right thing. Your chassis don’t deserve moth-eaten intimates. Your chest should be shrouded in soft, cushy boob slings with straps that don’t fall off your shoulder 17 times a day. Take pride in your underthings, and take back the power. Your privates will rejoice, and you will too.