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I See London, I See France

But I don’t know how to tell strangers that I see their underpants.

It’s happened to everyone. You’re in the gym, working out, and you look next to you and see that your fellow non-athlete is wearing bright flowered print underpants under their workout gear. Now, probably, when that stretchy workout gear was new, it was thick enough to hide even loud underpants but enough rounds through the dryer (that lint? it comes from clothes! think about it!) and they’re now virtually see-through. Or literally see-through.

I averted my eyes that time, feeling like a chicken, even though I would want to know if my lurid underwear was hanging out. And I went home and put on all my work out clothes and mercilessly grilled the long-suffering husband (LSH) on whether certain aging garments were see-through or not. (Nothing was—sigh of relief.)

It’s also happened at PTA meetings. A lovely women who I don’t know gives a presentation on something but I cannot focus because the beach dress that she’s wearing tells me that she’s wearing an athletic bra, trim underpants and no slip. I nod and smile at her afterward and wonder if anyone will ever tell her to never again wear that dress in public.

Work isn’t safe either.

I’m here to tell you that any presenter who inadvertently walks into the powerful beam of the projector for their PowerPoint risks having their blouse—even a black print—rendered instantly transparent. Yes, I saw another bra but actual ribs this time, this was a trim woman.

What about the woman in her twenties crossing the street in a long tan skirt in bright sunlight? Yup, I saw lots of that poor woman who was clearly headed to an office.

Is there a way to politely take one of these people aside and tell them? Obviously, I’d want to be warned but how to say, “I don’t know if you know it but your dress is completely see through.” Or “Wow, you’re in excellent shape and I can tell because I see your ribs through your blouse!”

Or “Is that a Title Nine bra you’re wearing? By the way, I can see it through your dress.” I know the men are thinking: “SHUT UP. SAY NOTHING!” Because for them, the highlight of a commute would be a young woman in a see-through skirt. And what would improve a PTA or business meeting more than a school-boyish giggle over a middle aged woman’s inadvertent flashing?            

I’m here to tell you that you’re not immune, and those of you on the bike path are highly likely to be showing the public bits of your junk that not even airport security gets to see.

Witness a note from a neighbor who says a gentleman she saw biking last weekend “probably didn't ask anyone if his bike tights were see-through.”

This is not a rare occasion. Not long ago, I was biking behind a lovely gentleman (a stranger who had once stopped to ask if I had a flat and was ready to change same) and noticed that I could see every detail of his flexing, muscular behind. If there was a mole, I saw it.

And what about the young man I saw on the Metro? His pants were hanging so low that they were actually BELOW the curve of his butt. (Ironically, he did have a belt, cinched about three inches below his hip bone.) Should I walk up to him and say, “If you wear your pants that low, why even bother? What’s the point?"

Actually I see lots of young men like that, come to think of it. Is it intentional?

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