Sunday, February 21, 2010

Well she always knows her place, she's got style, she's got grace; she's a winner

I never thought I would find myself in a position to ponder the etiquette of throwing one's panties at an icon, and yet here I am.

As with many things, I have approached it as a policy analyst. After some consultation (read: girls sitting around a bottle of wine), I have teased out the following general principles:

Number one, and this should (but sadly does not) go without saying - They should not be the panties one is currently wearing. It is meant to be a symbolic gesture after all. Plus, you know, keep your knickers on in public. Please.

Further to and following on from the first point, said panties should in all events be clean. Because, ew.

On the third point there was some debate, but I believe the consensus is that they should be new. I mean, if one accepts that it is, at least in this day and age, a symbolic gesture, then one should just go ahead and buy some new drawers to throw at the man.

In addition to being polite for the recipient, it also makes good sense for the donor. Otherwise, said donor must face the impossible decision between parting (probably permanently) with a beloved pair of underthings or selecting a more easily parted with and therefore less desirable pair of panties.

In the former case, the bond between wearer and wearee will be severed (again, probably forever) and the work that went into finding a perfect pair will have to begin anew.

In the latter case, the sentiment meant to be expressed by the gesture will be somewhat tarnished by the selection of necessarily inferior knickers.

Faced with these factors, the preferred option is to buy new. I personally believe (and will disclose that on this matter there was not a consensus) that one should leave the tags on, so that the recipient can have no doubt as to their providence.

The decision to buy new, however, begets a whole new set of questions.

First, what kind? Should they be of a type the donor would actually wear, albeit on special occasions? Or should they be of the ilk commonly recognised as 'sexy' but that the donor would never actually set one leg in? In this regard, I refer specifically to the thong or, as it is known in Godzone, the G-string.

(Never mind that there is actually a difference between thongs and G-strings, the latter term has been adopted in New Zealand to refer to both types, so as to avoid confusion with footwear.)

As an aside, and at the risk of revealing too much information, the day I rejected the thong and banished them from my lingerie drawer forever was the first day of the rest of my life. It ranks among the top five best decisions I have ever made.

The reasons is this: In addition to being uncomfortable (do not argue this point with me), they just are not flattering or pretty. And for that reason, they are not, to me, sexy in the traditional sense (though I concede that for some they are sexy in the salacious or even vulgar sense).

It is true! You show me the nicest, firmest supermodel butt in a thong and I will put that same supermodel butt in a pair of lacy boyshorts and that butt will look better. And for the average non-supermodel butt, the difference is even more pronounced.

And do not even start with the VPL argument. Visible panty lines only began to arise when the onset of the skimpier and skimpier bikini bathing suit caused lingerie makers to mimic that shape for underthings. The result was lingerie that cuts across the broadest part of the cheek, creating an unfortunate line visible to all (or at least most). That this is a problem is not disputed; but the answer to this problem is not to deprive the poor cheek of any coverage at all. Nay! I say the answer to give that cheek more coverage! For this reason, I laud the recent return among lingerie makers to forties and fifties style underthings, where the prevailing goal was to outfit women of all shapes in shapes that flatter. If it was good enough for Marilyn, it is good enough for me.

Anyway, I digress. I should also note that the views expressed by the author on the subject of thong underwear do not necessarily express the views of the group empaneled to discuss panty-throwing, as this particular topic was not canvassed.

Ok, so where was I? Right. Having decided (at least in my case) to go with knickers in a style one would actually wear, the next question is size. This question is of particular significance for a woman of womanly curves. For it must be said that underthings in an appropriate size to flatter someone who is, say, statuesque are not necessarily as flattering when held by the fingertips of a music legend on stage.

Thus, on the question of size, the paramount consideration is intent. What is one hoping to convey (or achieve) through the act of panty-throwing? Put simply, is it a gesture of appreciation or invitation? If the former, it may be best to go with what will 'show' best on stage. If the latter, by all means one should go with a size easily worn in the event the invitation is accepted.

In this instance, I can confirm it is likely to be solely a gesture of appreciation and I have proceeded accordingly. I reserve the right, however, to take a different approach if I am ever presented with the opportunity to throw panties at Jake Oram, Anderson Cooper or Phil Keoghan.

The only remaining consideration is colour. While there are a number of factors to be balanced, including in particular what colour may best be seen from the cheap seats, in the end it is largely a matter of personal preference. On this subject, therefore, the panel has indicated no preferred option.

This putative panty-thrower went with coral pink. Bright, but not too slutty. They say, Hi, Tom Jones. I think you're great, so here are my panties, without saying much more.

Which, in this case, is exactly what I want them to say.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Some fools think of happiness, blissfulness, togetherness; some fools fool themselves I guess

Oh, Valentines Day, my old nemesis. I have a long and tortured history of truly terrible Valentines Days. Maybe it's karma. Maybe Cupid shot me with an arrow some years ago and I retaliated by cutting him because I'm a street smart city girl. Who knows? What I do know is that it sucks almost every year.

Last year was relatively uneventful, but only because I was in hiding after a New Years breakup. The year before, my live in boyfriend gave me anti-aging cream. The year before that, he stood me up (a red flag that I ignored, naturally). I have had a fiance give me slippers on Valentines Day and the most memorably bad V-day was the year my boyfriend gave me money in a card. Money. In a card. Forty dollars, to be exact. Two twenties.

This year is no different. For this year, two days before Valentines Day, my on again off again went permanently off. And by off, I mean off the rails, careening down a cliff face and bursting into a ball of flames. There were no survivors.

What is better than the timing is the method of delivery. Oh yes, I have been dismissed in Arial twelve point font. AGAIN. (It is entirely possible, by the way, that the font is due to my own computer settings and the inevitable comparisons to the last time I was dismissed through typeface were unintentional.)

I should say that the result may as well have been pre-ordained and was likely unavoidable. But the timing and delivery method are brutal to the point of comedy.

So what can you do but laugh? Well, cry. I've done my share of that. Other possible reactions include quitting photography class, drinking too much, crying inappropriately on the shoulder of a friend whose own recent breakup makes mine look about as serious as a splinter, and running home to my mother. All have been considered. Some rejected, I won't say which.

You know, I get asked a lot how I do it, living so far away, isolated from my closest friends and family. And I don't know, really. It's a lot like working without a net. Most of the time it doesn't matter - you just don't look down. Keep your eye on the prize, whatever that is.

And then times like this, when the fall feels so very long and the impact so very hard, I guess I wonder too how I do it. Or how I will do it.

And I suppose, the quote Sleepless in Seattle, I will just get out of bed every day. And breathe in and out.

And soldier on.

I do wonder, sometimes, what my life would have been like if I hadn't run away from being Mrs Kevin Langston, high school French teacher, back in 1996. Whether I would have been happy or, at the very least, secure. Whether the net that came with it would have been a comfort or whether it would have strangled me.

I guess I still think, like I did back then, that it would have been the latter. And that there's a value, sometimes, in being the one in a million who can work without a net.

And perhaps I like to think that, decades from now when my time has come, people will say, 'that Erin. She was so strong.'

But I would be lying if I didn't admit that part of me wishes that when that time comes there would be just one person, a true companion, who said, 'that Erin. God, I loved her so.'

Friday, February 12, 2010

One song: glory; one song before I leave: glory; one song to leave behind...

So I was out for a chat with the girls and the conversation turned to my Dad.

In particular one of my good friends was thanking me for a bit of wisdom that my Dad imparted to me and I imparted to her and she has since imparted to others.

And then we got talking in general about my Dad - his life and his death and how I went through it all. Surprisingly, it was a really good talk. Productive. We talked a lot about parents and about losing parents and I had the opportunity not only to think about, but also to express, the lessons I've learned from my Dad, both through his life and from beyond the grave.

And I will say this: The single greatest thing I learned from my Dad, from the way that he lived and the way that he died, is never to waste one single day of your life.

It is a lesson it would do me well to pay greater attention to. I have been wasting a lot of my days lately. Chasing paths that go nowhere; chasing dreams that will never be.

And so I have resolved this, as I barrel towards 35: I will not waste one more day. I intend to start living the life I have, and be grateful for it, rather than living the life I don't.

It's a lesson I think we could all take note of.