Lately, I’ve been feeling a little smug about how well I’m dealing with the aging process. My encroaching wrinkles give me character. I embrace my faulty memory. And my crotchety, do-it-my-way-or-not-at-all attitude has a certain charm. Aging and I have become buddies.
Then, the other day, I decided to wear a thong.
I’m not new to thongs. I’ve worn them since junior high. For years, they were essential to my wardrobe, especially during my lawyering days. I was a woman competing in an aggressive, masculine world. My outfits–form-fitting Armani suits and sheath dresses–had to be feminine yet professional. They had to be perfect. I had to be perfect.
Which meant no panty lines. So what if thongs made me feel like I had dental floss up my ass? I was tough. I worked out almost two hours a day, six days a week, to achieve a thong-worthy, streamlined posterior.[bctt tweet=”So what if thongs made me feel like I had dental floss up my ass? I was tough.”]
Then I quit law to write. I was no Carrie Bradshaw; I knew I couldn’t keep buying clothes like I used to. So I stopped budgeting for the Barney’s Warehouse sale and started scouring Ross and Marshalls. My daily uniform changed from Armani everything to no-brand T-shirts and jeans that didn’t show panty lines and therefore didn’t require thongs.
My focus shifted along with my budget. Crafting perfect sentences and storylines became (somewhat) more important than achieving the perfect ass. I still wore thongs when I dressed up for dates or on holidays, but mostly I opted for the thong-less comfort of jeans. But I still had my pride. I still worked out like a fiend. I was still thong worthy.
Then I met my husband and settled into myself with this man who loved me even when I drove him nuts. Perfection didn’t matter as much. I worked out less, wore even fewer thongs. Then came my son, who filled up the recesses of my life in the most insistent, glorious way. Perfection flung itself out the window and thongs became a distant, itchy memory.[bctt tweet=”Perfection flung itself out the window and thongs became a distant, itchy memory.”]
Until the other day, when I decided to wear a slinky maxidress out to dinner.
We were going to a casual Mexican restaurant that makes my kid’s favorite crispy tacos. And suddenly I felt like kicking age in the teeth. I wanted to look pretty, younger. I wanted my flabbier-than-I-ever-imagined ass to give the illusion of a muscular curve. I wanted my thong.
It was a long summer, you see. A long summer of very little sleep or exercise and lots of teaching and editing fitted around my son’s camp schedule. A summer of not doing enough writing of my own and of therefore feeling bitchy and exhausted and defeated. I needed to bolster my pride. I needed my ass to look good.
So I dug a thong from the recesses of my underwear drawer and slid it on under my dress. It cut into the meat of my behind and left faint lines, but I could still pull it off.
“Pretty outfit,” my husband remarked as we got into the car.
My son glanced up from his comic book. “Why’re you so dressed up?”
To remember the younger me, I could have said.
“It never hurts to look nice,” I said instead and readjusted my thong, which was already riding up.
We had fun at dinner. We chatted and laughed and drew superheroes on the paper place mats. And I spent the entire time picking that goddamned thong out of my ass crack.
Which made me realize: I no longer want to be thong worthy. It’s not worth the discomfort. I’ve got a family I love, a challenging, absorbing career. Even on days when it’s hard to find time to brush my hair, I am fully engaged by the life I’ve created. The itch for perfection that made me think thongs were a necessity–it’s gone.
I’ve worked hard to reach this place where I accept myself, flaws and all. I’ve earned the right to have panty lines, just as I’ve earned the right to have a forehead that creases when I raise my eyebrows or laugh or frown. Just as I’ve earned the right to have an expressive face, period–which is saying a lot here in Southern California, where even twenty-somethings feel compelled to Botox their emotions out of existence to achieve their perception of perfection.
I’m no longer striving for the perfect body or even the perfect sentence. Instead, I’m striving to live with authenticity and grace. So from now on, my ass will be sporting panty lines. No more thongs. No fucking way.
[bctt tweet=”No more thongs. No fucking way. “]
A version of this post appeared on Midlife Boulevard as “How I Decided to Liberate My Ass.”
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Love this. Just subscribed!
I’ve never worn a thong (or G-string as we call them in Australia). I’m just not a fan of wearing underwear that I have to get used to!
I think…you’ve got this one figured out!!:) Thanks for the laugh! I have to say I love the line “I am fully engaged by the life I’ve created”. That is incredible! I hope to be able to say that too one day!:)