Wish I Hadn’t Witnessed: Who Wears Short Shorts?

I had really hoped that my first installment of “Wish I Hadn’t Witnessed” would be my last, but sadly, the universe clearly needs me to shine a spotlight on the atrocities I witness on a regular basis. In addition, the universe also seems to want me to continue writing about underwear. And so, my cherished friends, I am compelled to shock and disturb you with another tale of unmentionables. Consider yourselves warned.
This weekend, while enjoying a tasty meal of tapas at a new neighborhood restaurant, I excused myself to visit the ladies’ room, as I am known to do on occasion. While I was washing my hands, which I am also known to do on occasion, two women – one about 25 and one about 40 years old – stormed into the bathroom in a bit of a panic. Within seconds, the younger woman tossed something out of the bathroom stall, which the older woman quickly grabbed. This woman then shoved me out of the way and started rinsing what appeared to be white shorts in the bathroom sink.
Since there was only one sink, and I’m not into the “doing laundry in a public bathroom” kink scene, I quickly moved aside. After grabbing a handful of paper towels, I turned around, only to see the younger woman standing next to me in her underwear as she waited for her friend to finish rinsing her shorts. In a voice that was far too loud for a public restroom, she said, “Oh my god! I don’t even have anything! This just sucks so bad!”
Now, first of all, let me point out that I was not eating tapas at a roadside way station. Not that I think it’s appropriate to stand in your underwear in any type of public restroom, but I imagine that running into partially clothed strangers in the bathroom is a bit more commonplace in way stations than in upscale Spanish restaurants. In fact, that’s usually the only reason I ever stop at roadside way stations.
Secondly, this bathroom was very tiny, making it utterly impossible to pretend that I didn’t notice these women, which was my initial instinct.
Thricely, there was no air dryer in the bathroom – only paper towels. So I couldn’t help but wonder – once this woman was done rinsing out what I could only assume to be the stains of womanhood from her shorts, how exactly did she intend to dry them off?
As much as I wanted to run from this scene, a tiny voice called to me in my head. It was the voice of a twelve year old Jenny, so sweet and innocent, and still not fully in tune with her lunar cycles. The voice reminded me that I, too, had been in this situation before. Well, not exactly this situation, but a similar one:
Summer of ’83. County fair. White shorts. That carnival ride that spins you around until you stick to the wall. Centrifugal force and unexpected period do not a pretty combination make. Nothing but occupied Port-o-Potties as far as the eye could see.
To this day, I refuse to go to traveling carnivals and let mentally ill carnies strap me into giant spinning wheels until the floor drops out. Do you even understand how this experience crippled me emotionally? Why do you think I’m still single? I’m like a shut-in!
The pain of that memory still stinging in my brain, I stopped myself from leaving, and without really making eye contact with the semi-nude woman, I just said, “Uh, do you, uh, need anything?” Because in woman speak, “need anything” is the universal code for: I’m carrying Tampax products and am willing to share, because I’m just always that prepared, which is why I never find myself in your situation, i.e. standing in a public bathroom half naked in front of a complete stranger while waiting for my shorts to dry.
The semi-nude woman seemed completely oblivious to my presence, even after I spoke directly to her. Her friend just kept rinsing and shrieked, “No, she doesn’t need anything. She needs to have her head checked, that’s all!” She then let out a husky, bitter laugh that made me think they might both be a bit drunk.
She continued, “I swear, sometimes I feel like I’m your mother!”
I shrugged my shoulders, tossed my paper towels away, and returned to my grilled lamb chops. As I recounted this recent adventure to my dining companion, Lazlo, he asked innocently, “Does that happen a lot to women?”
I shook my head and said, “Not unless you hang out at Six Flags all the time.”
He gave me a puzzled look, “Huh?”
“Uh… never mind.”

Wish I Hadn’t Witnessed

After my last experience in New York City, you would think that I’d had my fill of gag-reflex triggering encounters, but upon my return, I started to find a lot of things in my own fair city that elicited the same response. Did I just not notice them before? Am I now somehow subconsciously seeking them out? Whatever the case, I blame Vivian for heightening my awareness of the nauseating.
But I suspect, however, that she did it because she found that, in sharing these experiences with me, perhaps they seemed slightly less appalling. Horror shared is a horror divided, which leads me to the purpose of today’s entry. My ultimate goal is for this feature to become a short-lived one, but in the event that I continue to be disturbed on a regular basis by things I see throughout my day, I need to have a venue in which to communicate these offensive occurrences.
Years of reading the chapter titles of self-help guides have taught me that holding negative feelings inside, much like eating White Castle after midnight, can destroy you from within. The healthiest thing to do, therefore, is to force all this negativity out onto the universe, so that everyone else feels the same way you do.
While I don’t usually look to biblical verse to guide my daily actions, the passage I keep circling back to is, “If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out.” As I only have two eyes to spare, and mine eye doth be offended on a regular basis, I’m afraid I cannot follow this instruction to the letter of the law. Therefore, my updated take on that is going to be, “If thine eye offend thee, blog it out.”
So with that, it is with very mixed feelings that I launch my latest feature, “Wish I Hadn’t Witnessed.”

Wish I Hadn’t Witnessed: Under Where?

This weekend, while shopping for nothing in particular, I found myself magnetically drawn toward the Victoria’s Secret store. Although I didn’t have a particular need for unmentionables, I was strangely intrigued by their claims of a new patented bra technology. I wasn’t aware that there was any technology involved in bras, other than the security sensors that are so darn hard to pry off in the dressing rooms. But as I was looking around at the preferred underwear of Gisele Bundchen, I glanced over and saw a woman shopping with her daughter, who looked to be around five years old. The mother was digging through the stacks of neatly laid out underwear, leaving a trail of chaos in her path.
Just as I was about to tap her on the shoulder and point out that every single pair of underwear on that table was the same size, therefore there was really no need for her to snort her way through the table, like some sort of aardvark in search of grubs, I saw something out of the corner of my eye that made me stop in my tracks. This woman’s daughter was standing behind a headless mannequin, and looking around suspiciously. As I stood there, I watched in horror as the little girl pulled down the mannequin’s patented lilac underwear, leaned in, and pressed her lips to the beige plastic buttocks. After giggling maniacally, the girl would replace the underwear, step back, and then start the process all over again.
As I felt my brow furrowing, and the corners of my mouth turning down in disturbed confusion, I looked down at my hands and saw the identical pair of space age patented lilac underwear. With the same animal instinct I would tap into if I had looked down to see a tarantula in my hands, I threw the lilac underwear about five feet, landing on the shelf right near this girl’s mother.
I hurriedly pushed past the Victoria’s Secret sales woman who tried to block my path by forcing me to put on some hand lotion. But I had no need for hand cream – the stink of that place was already deep in my pores.