A Farewell to Underpants

With a title like that, I should probably hastened to clarify, in case someone out there jumped to conclusions: no, I’m not going commando.

The farewell in question relates to a particular model of underpants made by Victoria’s Secret. Or, more accurately, no longer made by Victoria’s Secret. They are a perfectly soft blend of cotton and modal, designed so there’s hardly a seam anywhere and they look like this:

They are the most comfortable underpants I have ever worn. So comfortable, in fact, that I can’t feel I’m wearing them.

And yes, I am aware that now the world knows what my underpants look like, but were I a contestant on Survivor, I’d spend half my time walking around in my intimates, so I don’t see what the difference is. Okay, I’m not subsisting on a diet of rice and coconuts, but I have seen these particular underpants on several female Survivor contestants in the past, so that counts for something, doesn’t it?

Is it me or was that particular sidetrack more irrelevant than they usually get? Let me return to my main point.

So, I got very attached to a particular brand of undergarment. It happens with all of us. And they no longer make them — I’ll just have to find something else I like. No biggie, right?

Not so fast. Because this is when fibromyalgia enters the picture.

I’ve written before about the pernicious nature of fibromyalgia and how easily it’s triggered. In fact, so easily I’m quite sure that girl in Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princessand the Pea was perhaps not royalty, but had fibromyalgia. Or maybe all of us who have fibromyalgia are royalty? Where did I put my tiara? But I digress… The point is that something as simple as a seam in the wrong place can take you from perfectly fine to perfectly awful in about 20 minutes. 

“It starts in one place and then it moves, creeping through your body, leaving a thorny trail of interconnected feeling. It links painful spot to painful spot to yet another painful spot, and by the time it is done, you are a burning network of pain. Everything hurts. Every muscle, every tendon, every joint is caught in a spasm … It has a sound. It has decibels. It speaks loudly, and then it yells, and then the screaming starts, and once the screaming starts, it doesn't stop. It becomes a never-ending feedback loop of noise.” (From 7 Facets: A Meditation on Pain. Just $0.95, by the way) 

That particular part from 7 Facets: A Meditation on Pain is a lesson I learned from fibromyalgia. Fibro pain is completely different than RA pain. Fibro taught me that pain has a sound. Fibro taught me that the pressure of a purse strap against your thigh can feel like being stabbed with a knife. Fibro taught me that pressure against certain parts of your body, even if the spot is smaller than a penny, can take your pain levels from tolerable to unbearable in no time.

This is why finding a model of underpants that feel so seamless you might as well not be wearing any is important to your quality of life. And it’s why these particular underpants being discontinued is worthy of a blog post that publicly entreats Victoria’s Secret to please, please bring them back. Not just for me, although that would be very nice of you. No, there is an actual business case to be made.

5 million people in the US alone have fibromyalgia and 80-90% are women. Right there, you have a guaranteed faithful audience who will buy these particular underpants. They’ll probably buy enough to last them through two weeks at least, because often, we just don’t have the energy to do laundry. That could be upwards of 63 million pairs of underpants. Add to that the extra pairs we’ll buy to safeguard against another possible discontinuation.

(Wait… Did I just out myself as a hoarder of underpants?)

Moving on! Let’s double that amount. We’re now talking 126 million pairs of this particular model that you could sell every year. And that’d just in the US! At $10 a pair, the profit is dizzying. On top of that, you get to do something that would make life easier for millions of people who live with chronic pain. I’ll happily be your spokesperson. Erm… A fully-clothed spokesperson, that is.

What do you say, Victoria’s Secret? Will you help us out?


FridaWrites said…
It takes courage to write about your underpants! Wheelchair seating's also a factor for me since it's difficult to readjust clothing, so that what might be a minor discomfort for some can be a big problem.

Some of the feminine boycut shorts, as by Maidenform, also have a lot of seamlessness/softness.
Pony said…
I don't have fibro, so the pressure issue isn't as big a problem (though I unfortunately have to spend too much time sitting), but comfy underwear is a very important issue in my life. It can't have too many seams, must have good (but not too much) stretch, be easy to pull down and up, not crawl anywhere untoward, and be easily adjustable. Also, cute. I may not be a contestant on Survivor, but I wanna look good, too :)

If you are looking for recommendations to get you through these dark times, MEC's Patagonia Active Boy Shorts are a DREAM. I also really like the seamless underwear from Lululemon. Both of these are quite expensive, but good underwear is worth it in my opinion. Sorry that VS discontinued your favourites. I hope they get your message!
Cathryn said…
Congratulations on speaking out about a "silent" issue! I don't have fibro, but I do have a very active, and very public, job, so I can't always adjust when something falls down or creeps up. Or move a tag that's tickling where it shouldn't, so I'm glad they've started doing tagless ones. Good luck convincing VS, or finding alternatives you like just as well!
Anonymous said…
Good, form-fitting, comfortable underwear is so hard to find these days, that when I find a brand that fits to a T, doesn't ride up, itch or leave panty lines, I'll pay ALMOST anything the manufacturer asks, and stock up for a year at a time when I can, just in case of a zombie apocoplyse or other tragedy.
Anonymous said…
Check ebay they often have discontinued vs stuff.
Anonymous said…
Comfort never was as important to me than just recently...I had shingles...Painful...finding something to wear was near impossible...
Anonymous said…
Now add finding these comfy undies in a plus size -and I mean really plus, not just some foreign manufacturer's idea of plus -- and you exacerbate the problem.

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