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for the last eighteen days of 2005, i carried, in my wallet, a membership card to a local retailer's bra and panty club. i was nine punches in so not your basic tourist. three more clover-shaped holes and i'd be the proud and complimentary owner of a full-figure, soft-cup, microfiber, seamless, under-wire and smart-looking brasserie.

one may wonder how a short, stout, pasty fella like myself comes into such an unpredictable fortune. well, my goal was to double the number of briefs marty kept neatly folded in her delicates drawer. you see, marty has long maintained a stubborn edict against wearing a single undergarment for consecutive days. consequently, i'd get tapped to do laundry more often than i'd like to get tapped to do laundry. and for the possibility of skipping a few of these tappings, and only for this possibility, did i became a full-blown bra and panty club member.

somewhat surprisingly, i did not contort this mission into a male-agenda, victorias-secret boondoggle meant to enhance my experience. i stuck to the plan; get more panties. in part because as a younger man, i learned that women do not appreciate nor do they take seriously undergarments made of fruit roll-ups and rope licorice. additionally rita rudner taught me that ANY panty made of materials other than cotton should be sold, by default, with a nice fat tube of monistat 7.

so with nothing but these two simple tenets of understanding i crossed the threshold of one of my city's ultra-packed, ultra-malls so i could walk around asking women i'd never met where i might find me some ladies panties. eight humans, three escalators and one cinnabon later i stood before a haphazard maze of free-standing racks showcasing a veritable potpourri of shiny and shinier wisps of clothing.

never having been in such a landscape, i took a moment to study the scene. the first thing i noted was a well-dressed older man walking the aisles. he would on occasion raise a hand to feel the material of a garment between a slowly rotating thumb and forefinger. being who i am, i immediately assessed where he fell on the letch-meter. the high-dollar suit bought him some street credit although the studied way he massaged each fabric made me wonder if his diligence was for his or his lady friend's benefit. or, again being who i am, i wondered if he was simply gauging how the item in his hand would feel compared to the bound corset and velvet thong he was currently wearing under his pressed pinstripes.

in watching the fondler, i observed how the store used regular-height circular racks to display objects that were on average three inches tall. this presentation smacked of a well-funded museum which affords each of their pieces plenty of wall space so the patrons can focus on a particular item. additionally, each of these miniscule garments ranked a full-size hanger, the same sort i'd use to hang an oxford button-up. the more i looked the more i saw all sorts of opportunities for an efficiency expert in this industry. and, when they were done, i'd like to see someone from the hygiene administration weigh in on the program. i'm appalled how all of this stuff was out in the open. very little cellophane and even less cardboard. god knows what the public at large has done with these open air items that are destined to cover someone's funky parts. it's clear i'm not a good faith-based consumer. i've had too many crappy jobs to trust the average disassociated human.

after examining the place like a zabruder image, i located my table of boxed and pedestrian jockey briefs. then, with savant-like skill i made my selections from the LSAT-caliber multiple choice test: bikini, brief, french cut, hi-cut, hipster, modern brief, string, thong and long leg brief. if i know one thing it is that marty j walter is a string bikini girl (that is a piece of information i truly thought i'd never get to publicly announce. five years of persistence proffers the ultimate reward; outing my wife's panty predilection). so i collected my hermetically sealed boxes, got my nine panty-card punches and confidently walked out of the mall, head high and bag zipped up in the chest of my coat. and come christmas morning, marty was pleased if not impressed at her 2005 christmas present.

in closing these notes from someone who has traveled to the other side, i can attest to the need, value and import of the internet. certain material objects are simply meant to be ordered sight-unseen. i can also vouch for the fact that jockey's hipster model looks like it could possibly help me out with a hot weather issue i sometimes experience. and, don't you even think of judging me unless you've met a saint louis august without working AC in your car.

JAN2006

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