Posted by: stillironic | June 9, 2010

Blessed Are the Panties (Part 2)

A 20-minute taxi ride and the other three women are chatting up a storm. As if they’d known each other for years. Why can’t I chat? There’s not one thing I can think of to say. By the time we get to Nantes two of the women have bonded and go off together. The third is on a mission to find gifts to take home. I need a mission, too. One will come to me if I start walking. Maybe.

I consider and reject an outdoor café. Looking back, I can’t figure out what seemed wrong with spending two hours drinking kir royales. I don’t normally squander a good excuse to drink in the afternoon. But then again we drank wine everyday at lunch. This was France. No excuse needed.

Then, voila, Galeries Lafayette. I will buy one thing. I will accomplish a task and that will relieve all anxiety. (Which is caused, it’s becoming increasingly clear, by not living in France. I want wine at lunch and five weeks off work, too.)

What do I need? At $1.43 to the euro, whatever I get had better be memorable.

In the intimate apparel section I find tables filled with bikini underwear. Probably on sale! And who can’t use another pair of panties!


Embroidery detail of the $83 panties

I choose: White with lace trim. Very sexy. Thirteen euros. Or so I thought.

panty waist

Rosebuds from waistband of $83 panties

I walk up to the counter and the clerk says 58 euros. Fifty-eight euros? There’s no question; she said it in English. That’s like $83. No, it’s not like $83. It IS $83. I can’t pay that much for a pair of flimsy panties.

I hand over my Visa card. What am I, in a trance? I feel like I’m drowning—in a whirlpool of absurdity. Why can’t I just say no thanks and walk away?

JJ will kill me. “Oh, hi, Hon, I just spent $83 on a transparent snippet of lace.”

I walk the streets in a state of mortification. Pretend this never happened. Tell no one about this purchase.

Now in my experience, where there’s mortification going on, there’s a Catholic Church around to make the most of it. And I’ll be damned if I didn’t turn a corner and find one looming up ahead. I’m not what you call religious—I’m actually what you call a lapsed Catholic, but the word lapsed doesn’t do justice to describing my hostile relationship with the church. That notwithstanding, I love ancient church art and architecture. I say why let an intense aversion to organized religion get in the way of appreciating the beauty of the structure.

Inside it’s cool and calm. Some people are lighting candles. I sit down on a pew and contemplate the bag on my lap. The bag with the $83 underpants.

Now what do you do with a pair of $83 panties you’ve brought into a church? The only thing you can. Have them blessed.



  1. LOL…love the “lapsed Catholic” term – I might fit into that category myself! Also? Defintely would have said a quick “no thank you” or possibly more like “HELL NO thank you.” There’s no amount of sexy that something that will spend more time on the floor than on me could bring in order for me to spend that amount of money… good for you to have them blessed. Next? Display those little lovelies in a shadow box! 😉

  2. I’ve actually started wearing “them” instead of just saving them for a special occasion. They’re comfy. Feels like I’m wearing nothing. Though I do like the shadow box idea!

  3. I use the term “recovering” Catholic — although you know once they’ve convinced you as a 5 year old that you’re personally responsible for the death of Christ, there really is no recovering. Which may be why I share your penchant for frequent glasses of wine. 😉

    And if I ever spent $83 for panties, they’d better vibrate.

    • “Recovering” is sooo true. Teaching 5 year olds that we could sin in thought as well as word and deed was absolutely sicko.

  4. On my last trip to London, my daughter convinced me to get bras that made me look like 1) the farmer’s daughter from all those old jokes 2)a nursemaid in an X rated film, 3)a French maid. My husband loved them. They were itchy and my boobs kept falling out. They are gone.

    • Almost sounds like a torture device, that bra. Comfort definitely is the number one consideration.

    • Sounds like a torture device, that bra. Comfort is definitely the main consideration.

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