I have panty problems. How’s that for an opening line? I bought new panties today. Not the slinky and sexy lacy thongs on tiny individual hangers, but those big ole’ cotton ones that come three to a pack–rolled up, taped, and shrunk wrapped for bulk sale. It’s been a long time since I bought any underwear of the granny panty variety, and while I was standing in the undie aisle of the dollar market studying the different types of panties, it suddenly dawned on me how unfair it all was.
These days, when you log into any social network or go to any news site you’ll be inundated with article after article about the continued fight for women’s equality and what #feminism looks like in 2014. There have been memes where men have proudly proclaimed their feminist beliefs with graffiti covered cardboard signs, charts and graphs depicting the pay scale difference still existing between the sexes, and hastags like the most recent #yesallwomen to bring even more awareness to society’s continued unequal treatment between the sexes even in our enlightened age. As most articles deal with serious issues like rape, abuse, and birth control, it seems like the online discussion has hit all the ways how the modern American can improve their perspective on the sexes—all the ways except one—sizing.
“Hey babe, pick me up some work khakis while you’re out today, would ya?” the hot-as-hell hubby asks.
“Sure thing.” I answer and kiss him goodbye.
Such has been a regular occurrence for nearly 15 years. Most of the clothes, socks, and underwear he owns was purchased by me WITHOUT his presence. I’ve taken this for granted, as I assume most other wives and moms do, but let’s think about it for a second. Exactly how many husbands routinely buy pants for their wives WITHOUT THEIR WIVES TRYING THEM ON? That concept is so foreign to my brain, that I can’t even seriously consider it, and yet while my husband never darkens the store, let alone the fitting room, every pair of pants I buy him magically fit every time.
The measurements fit, and the pants fit.
Underwear? No problem! IT’S THE SAME MEASUEMENT IN THE WAIST!
I wonder if men are even aware that when we women buy clothes and underwear, it’s an ENTIRELY different experience.
Let’s say I need new pants. I wear a size 14, and I’m tall for a gal. Just go buy a size 14 tall, right? WRONG! (but thanks for playing, here’s your parting gift—dry shampoo!)
Pants can be low-waist, hi-waist, mid-rise, classic fit, stretch, hidden control panel, skinny, boot-cut, flare, and capri just to name a few. A size 14 in one type of pant does not equal a size 14 in another type of pant—even by the same manufacture! Trying them on is the only way to ensure a good fit—and even then you may get it wrong. I have a pair of navy ankle-length-skinny-pants that I fell madly in love with in the dressing room. I wore them the next day to work, only to find out the fit that I adored only lasted for about 3 hours. They got bigger and bigger as the day wore on thanks to the stretch fabric they were made of. I very nearly lost them during a particularly active dance number with the kiddos during story-time, and spend 90% of my work day hiking them up over my hips. Nope, a belt wouldn’t work, don’t even suggest it. (They are only faux belt loops. I have no idea why.)
It seems to me that women have somehow gotten the sour end of the sizing deal. Why can’t we rely on measurements of waists and inseams like our male counterparts? Why do our size numbers seem so arbitrary? It’s almost like they don’t even matter at all!
“Grab a 12, 14, and 16—I’ll try them all.”
You men sigh and slink back to a chair to wait in quiet frustration as we head to dressing rooms with our arms full of jeans and pants. Bless your little heats. Well, I guaran-damn-tee you that we’re hell of a lot more frustrated than you as we slough off pair after pair of pants that don’t fit.
But it’s not just pants—oh no!
Let’s get back to my panties! I mean, let’s get back to panties!
I wear a size 8.
A size 8?? To cover the same part of my body that is a size 14?
Follow the blue hairs to the panty aisle next time you’re in Walmart or Target. I know, it’s daunting, but look through all the briefs, boy shorts, thongs, G strings, hi-cut, low-cut, French-cut, bikinis, full coverage, hi-waisted, and low-rise panties. Grab a 3 pack of bikini briefs and flip it over. There you will find a size chart. It’s not just S,M,L,XL like the men’s underwear—because that would just be ridiculously simple! No, we women have to have size charts that read like wall street stock sales graphs! There are boxes shaded in different measurements under all sorts of size numbers.
“So, according to this chart, I wear a 7, but this chart has me wearing a 9? But…I wear a size 14 pant, and a size Medium tee-shirt….shit, I don’t know, I’ll just grab these.”
You want to know what really sucks for women? The same rule that applies to pants also applies to panties—there’s no way to be sure until you try them on—and you CAN’T try on panties. Ergo, we’re never-ever sure if the panties we buy will fit us, despite the scientific looking mathematical scales, numbers, and graphs on the packages.
I could go back to Disney world on all the money I’ve spent on panties that, according to the size chart, should have fit but didn’t. Damn them.
While you’re in the ladies’ underwear section looking about, mosey over to the panty hose and tights aisle. There you’ll find A,B,C,D,and Q—among other sizes. Yeah, I know…COMPLETELY different. Flip over a package and read those size charts. As far as I know, this is the only place where the inseam will factor into the size, except they don’t actually list the inseam measurement—just your height in ranges.
“So, do I go with the 5’6” – 5’9” or 5’10” – 6′ ? D or Q? Hell, just grab one of both.”
The charts on the back of panty-hose also have weight on them. You’ve gotta match your height AND your weight to find your size. Is there ANY male equivalent to this? Do men have to find how much they weigh on a chart in order to buy underwear? It’s humiliating! I will buy tanning cream to slather on my legs before buying panty hose just for this reason!
Are you understanding the kind of problem I’m talking about, now?
I wear a size 14. I also wear a size 8, Q, D, M, L and XL.
Unless I don’t.
The panties I just bought? They’re inching there way down my hips as I sit and type this. #yesallwomen #equalpayandequalsizes #pantyproblems #keeponhikingthemup