My “Hot Tub Rules” for Underwear

Opening the top left drawer of my dresser in the bedroom, I need a fresh pair of underwear. However, the drawer is filled with so many items besides the needed unders. This is where I store 1/2 ream of printed emails that my husband sent to me in the year before we got married. It holds 18 old mother’s day cards from my three children, 8 bibs from races that I’ve run and 4 metals from three half-marathons and one full marathon that I ran, and 12 multi-colored headbands. 

At first glance, it holds everything EXCEPT underwear. Do I not own underwear? Do I even wear underwear?

Have you ever given any thought to the idea that underwear should be considered when making a commitment to yourself about self-care? Well, let me tell you a story…

Wait, a little background…

First, let me just say that the idea of self-care in the area of undergarments was NEVER a thing for me. I was raised by a woman whose only concern regarding underwear is comfort. A bra can be held together with safety pins, but if it doesn’t “bind” it’s good to go!

So back in the day, my underwear drawer was stacked with a dozen random, stretchy, hipster panties. I bought undergarments rarely and only got rid of ones that got eaten in the washer when I neglected to put them in a lingerie bag.

And that is where the story really starts. 

Halloween 1999

Tom (my ex-husband) and I were enjoying ourselves at a Halloween shindig with friends. The couple who were hosting had a cute, comfortable little house in a nearby community that is known for its exclusivity. They had “access” to the nearby lake and owned a hot tub. 

Some eople were watching the creepy “Blair Witch Project”. Others were grabbing a martini and heading out to the hot tub. I was torn. One, I had already seen and freaked out by that particular movie. Two,  I love a dirty martini. And three, people were laughing and inviting me to join them in the water. 

But there was a problem…

I had not come prepared for swimming or hot tub soaking. Others were stripping down and enjoying the experience in their underwear, plaid boxers, red boxer briefs, and floral bra/pantie matched sets embellished people who appeared to be SUPER comfortable with their bodies.

The alcohol may have helped.

I wasn’t an exhibitionist, but I was okay with my body. Unfortunately, I had a problem underneath my clothes that no one could see…utilitarian, faded, and shabby undies and a non-matching grubby bra.

No way on God’s green earth was anyone going to see that combo. I felt embarrassed. People thought I was shy or modest.

Nope. I sat in a lounge chair off to the side wanting to join in but stopped by underwear shame.

This led to an almost immediate and long-standing commitment to “The Hot Tub Rules”. 

The “Hot Tub Rules”

  1. Undergarments must fit. (See here for my opinions on this.)
  2. Underwear must not have any signs of wear.
  3. The color of your underpants must match the bra’s color, although they don’t have to be a matched set or even the same brand. 
  4. Co-ordination is also okay. For example, undies with a leopard print pair nicely with a black bra. 
  5. Speaking of bras…sports bras are meant for sports. Full-coverage or longline bras for every day. (Here is an interesting resource on bra styles.)

Now, more than twenty years later, I have only just begun to loosen up my commitment to these rules.  I have a variety of solid-color underthings, but nothing patterned. They are comfortable and stretchy. They are fresh, clean, and sometimes I wear a bra and panties that don’t match. 

But one thing is for certain, I WILL strip and get in the next hot tub filled with Jockey-wearing guests. My body may, or may not, be ready for public display, but my undergarments are good to go!


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