1. Clothing or an article of clothing worn next to the skin and under other clothing. – Merriam-Webster1
2. The perfect gift for simultaneously disappointing and insulting someone on a special occasion. – The Nut
So as I may or may not have mentioned a bunch of times, I have a birthday coming up soon.
Tomorrow, in fact.
Now I know it’s not polite for the birthday girl to assume anyone will be getting her anything, and on top of that it’s rude to pose restrictions on gifts that are being given out of the kindness of people’s hearts, but please, one request:
Don’t buy me underwear.
Unless you hate me. If you hate me, then the gift of underwear is apparently a great way of letting me know of your loathing without any pesky words getting involved.
I have three aunts who were always bad gift givers when I was growing up. One because she never actually got me anything, not even a card; the others because they liked to get me clothes but always seemed to be under the impression that I was five years older and fifty pounds heavier than I actually was at any given time.
For my twelfth birthday, one of them bought me a sweater so big that even today I would still be swimming in it. It was wide enough to fit a friend in there with me, and long enough on my petite frame to almost be a tripping hazard.
I still had to write her a thank you note for it, of course.
Dear Aunt Sadie,
Thank you for the spacious cable-knit tent. I look forward to using it on our next camping trip.
Aunt Jacqueline beat Aunt Sadie to the punch by several years. I was in kindergarten when she gave me the most beautiful underwear set; a soft, creamy white cotton undershirt and matching briefs, all edged with silky trim and perfect little embroidered roses.
I really enjoyed wearing them…when they finally fit me half a decade later.
Eventually I grew old enough that the aunts started skipping the gifts and sending only cards, and I thought I was finally free of well-intentioned but still somewhat insulting bestowals of clothing.
Then I did something stupid. I went and got engaged.
The bridal shower was a surprise. It was just five of my favorite gal pals and I, who thankfully knew me well enough to realize that I would rather drink a tall glass of hot lava than have any of my actual relatives in attendance. We ate, drank, and made merry, and I opened gift after awesome gift.
When I was good in buried in a mountain of beautiful things to adorn my home with, my maid of honor, Gillian, passed me a small decorative bag with a funny look on her face. “This is from Matilda, by the way.”
“Matilda? But…why?” Matilda had been a classmate of mine before I escaped the girls’ school from hell. I had seen her maybe a handful of times in the ten years that followed.
“I ran into her a while back. When she found out you were getting married, she said she wanted to get you something and asked me to bring this to the shower.”
“Wow. I haven’t seen her in ages. That was nice of her.”
I pulled the tissue from the bag, and a silky, nearly see-through white bra and panty set trimmed in black lace fell out onto my lap.
“Well. Goodness. This is…uh, unexpected from Matilda.”
Matilda was a quiet, bookish and deeply religious sort who everyone kind of just assumed was going to become a nun. She was one of maybe two girls in the entire private school who hadn’t made any attempt to shorten her skirt and always wore her regulation shirt buttoned all the way to the top.
Basically, the last person I would have expected to be giving me skimpy underwear.
Gillian chuckled. “She said every woman should have at least one set of lingerie devoted solely to driving her husband wild.”
I cackled at that and held up the panties from the set. “Well I won’t be driving Nutty Hubby wild in these. They’re at least two sizes too big. Although I guess they will save him the trouble of taking them off!” We all had a good laugh.
I untangled the bra then and had a look at the tag. The next minute I was doubled over laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.
“32…B…” I gasped, between convulsions. “She got me…size large…underwear…and a…32…B…bra…”
Apparently I should have called this blog Spoken Like A True Pear.
Aunts Jacqueline and Sadie hadn’t been invited, but it was like they were there in spirit.
When I had finally regained my composure, I sat back and sighed. “What a shame. I actually really like these.” I ran my fingers over the eyelash lace adorning the bra cups.
That’s when I noticed it.
“Oh wow, there’s a huge streak of blue ballpoint pen that goes right across the left tit!”
Gillian, surprisingly, was unsurprised by this news. “Oh yeah, Matilda said the salesgirl did that accidentally when she took the pen back after Matilda signed the receipt.”
I stared at her. “Wait, what? That can’t be true. The salesgirl drew on the bra right there at the counter, and Matilda knew and took it all the same?”
Gillian shrugged. “She said it would probably come out. And she said she wasn’t sure of your size so you might be exchanging it anyway.”
“They’re not going to take back a bra with pen all over it! Who’s going to believe that some salesgirl marked it up and then sold it like that?”
Gillian held up her hands in protest. “Hey, I’m just telling you what she told me. Don’t shoot the messenger.”
“Sorry. This is just probably the oddest fucking thing I have ever gotten in my life. I’m actually kind of insulted on several levels here. I guess the crazy sizing difference could be an honest mistake, but who knowingly gives someone a gift that got ruined while they were standing right there watching?”
In response, one of my other friends, all of whom were equally as stunned as I was, leaned over and refilled my glass of champagne.
It was the right answer.
Today’s blog post was brought to you by the letter U, the number 32B, and the ISeeLondonISeeFrance Challenge, AKA the Blogging A to Z Challenge.
1 “underwear.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, 2015. Web. 24 April 2015.