I’d have to start by explaining that this is out of the ordinary for me. I don’t just walk around sans underwear for the hell of it. Although, I suppose it’s not that outlandish. There are people who free-ball all the time; like they’re allergic to the fabric of our lives or something.
I actually don’t get that, these people who go commando like it’s their religion. I used to think it was free-spirited, but now that I’m in their supposed carefree shoes, all I can wonder is who would deliberately subscribe to this level of paranoia on a regular basis? Because right now, I’m fearful of each stray gust of wind, of every subway grate I pass over. The forward march of the minute hand is my enemy; each passing moment births another opportunity to show the world a side of me that has gone unseen by many of the men I’ve had dinner with. On the flipside, damn does it feel good!
Did you know that women are supposed to sleep with their underwear off and their bras on? That it’s the best way to preserve our bits? I don’t know who I learned that from – probably Dr. Oz or the friend of a friend, one who’s categorically unqualified to give medical advice. I wonder how much of the health-related information I’ve acquired over the years is completely made up. Eating an arsenal of snack foods past Midnight makes you fat. Drink eight glasses of water a day at minimum or you’re doomed. Fight against every human instinct you have, and you’ll be healthy. It’s all such bullshit. I think this ‘not wearing underwear’ thing has some legs though. I recall the phrase, “Let your vagina breathe.”
Oh, it’s breathing, all right. I’m not, though. I’m holding my breath each time the skirt of my dress pulls. As I approach the subway, my anxiety heightens. Even when I’m protected by underwear, I have this gnawing feeling that everyone I pass on the steps can see right up my dress. In the countless hours I’ve spent walking up and down subway steps, I don’t think I’ve ever, ever been able to see up someone’s dress, but it still petrifies me. I think of some pervert slipping his cell phone in between my legs for a quick snapshot and getting more than he bargained for. Surprise! Why buy the cow when you can get the Gratuitous Picture Of My Vagina for free? This is why I’m single.
Here on the platform, I’m allowed to tightly grip the hem of my dress like I’m expecting it to be blown away. The train’s arrival always finds a way to tempt loose fabric. No one will think I’m overly concerned about mooning the Spring Street station; this is just something us girls do when we’re waiting for the train to pull up. And when it does, I resolve that I won’t be sitting down. Sorry. I don’t care that there’s a surplus of empty seats. Take advantage of the space my absence creates, spread out, let your own respective genitalia breathe. There’s just too much risk involved for my bikini region to come that close to subway surface area.
My stop arrives, and this time I’m more afraid than ever to climb the stairs. Ascending is decidedly more revealing than descending, it creates a new level of vulnerability. I stand at the foot of the steps for a moment and watch the asses of the women climbing them, trying to determine whether or not I’d be able to see up their skirts from any given angle. When the coast is clear, I clench a ball of fabric in my fist and run up the stairs. Oh, god. Is that my jiggling ass? My ass is jiggling. This, THIS is why we wear underwear. I get it, now. Holy shit was I not ready for this jelly. I just made the horrifying revelation that my Buns Of Steel are Buns Of Real – and believe me, you do not want to be in a subway station when that truth is unearthed. In the middle of sex with the person you momentarily love? Sure. But in the middle of a subway station? There are few things bleaker than that.
I emerge from below the ground and rejoin the city on street-level, I’m greeted by sunlight. It’s the golden hour, and I decide that I’m going to continue my commando pageant with conviction. Fuck it. I’m not the only one walking around with a secret. As I head toward the park, a woman drives past me with a knowing smile; another sits on a grassy patch of earth with her dog and raises her eyebrow at me in a celebratory manner, like it’s a champagne fluke, and it’s then that I know – all anyone wants is to be able to breathe.