Vile Bodies

The Thong Remains the Shame

December 15, 2010

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The Thong Remains the Shame

Semper ubi sub ubi. —Juvenal

When Dorothy Parker said, “Brevity is the soul of lingerie,” I don’t think she anticipated to what extent the modern woman would take this advice to heart, so to speak.

I’m talking about the reductio ad absurdum of Parker’s apothegm—the thong. I believe Brazilians invented this string-like cache-sex for beachwear. The booty-crazed Cariocas call it fio dental (dental floss). That’s all well and good for the sands of Ipanema and Copacabana, but I have an idea that at the Maidstone Club beach in East Hampton, the tanga would go over like a set of assless chaps at the St. Nicholas Society Christmas Ball.

No, in these latitudes the thong is more often encountered as an undergarment, particularly when the lady wears trousers. This, I am told, is to avoid the highly embarrassing (at least to ladies) “visible panty line.” I’m here to tell you that I (and I would suggest most men) don’t care a whit about VPL. It’s one of those things like makeup and thousand-dollar Manolos that are a big deal with women but which men don’t care about in the least.

“I knew a man who told me that he had a change pocket incorporated in his custom drawers. Why? I never asked.”

If the truth be told (and my unofficial poll so indicates), men find women generally more alluring in skirts or dresses than in trousers. A roué friend told me that this is because when, say, a gentleman is dining in a restaurant and wishes to make a playfully affectionate gesture to his dinner partner, it’s a lot easier for him to get his hand up her skirt than her trouser leg. Women know this and gird themselves accordingly.

The thong under a skirt or dress is altogether another kettle of fish. The most famous instance of this combination’s dangerous consequences was when a certain White House intern flipped up her skirt and flashed her thong at the Horndog-in-Chief. She brought the most powerful man on Earth to his knees.

For a lady to “go commando,” sans undies, is every man’s fantasy and probably the subject of more erotic dreams than Anne Hathaway. It is a phenomenon rarely encountered in real life, at least in the circles where I move. I am told there is a term for the male equivalent: For a gentleman to go without underwear is called “freeballing.”