I have a nurse friend who works much further North than most people will ever get in a lifetime.
My friend was not given much notice of one assignment and, knowing she needed underwear before she left (“granny underpants,” they are called), she raced to her usual underwear store. She found them quickly — beige, right up to the waist, silky, size large — yup. She bought three packs of three and threw them in the suitcase.
Arriving in her Northern destination the next day, she had a shower and got ready to go into the clinic.
“Thank heavens for ‘grannies,’ she thought as she opened the first package — beige and silky, size large – yup.
But, to her horror, what shook out of the package was not a “granny” at all.
She had purchased three pairs of silky, beige, size large thongs!
She had little choice in the matter and spent a cold and very uncomfortable week in her thongs.
At the end of the week, one of her colleagues on shift took her aside and quietly asked my friend if she needed some help or something.
She looked concerned and wondered if, perhaps, my friend had “the crabs” because she had been twitching and walking funny all week and looked pretty irritated.
Added to that, they discovered that my friend had been wearing them backwards all week.
One more underwear story and I’ll be done — my sister and I travelled to Southeast Asia years ago and were told clearly to bring cotton underwear because of the high temperature and humidity — silky undies (well, silky anything, I guess) were said to stick immediately to the skin, creating a suffocating cling.
Cotton was the only way to be comfortable. Did we listen?
No, no, no — we were not going to waste money on more underwear before we left.
But, right off the plane, we realized our mistake and, as soon as we could, we ran around looking for cotton underwear.
Most of the saleswomen did not speak much English but one understood what we wanted from our gestures.
She looked us up and down and raised both hands calmly, palms together in front of her and then moved them apart about three feet.
She shook her head back and forth and kept saying “oh, no” over and over as her hands closed and opened repeatedly and she kept looked us critically up and down, frowning.
She made it clear that the store did not carry our size.
Who knew underwear could be so funny?
Colleen Crossley is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Advisor.