This article was originally published on BetterAfter50.com.
It seems that I've been Sharon Van Winkle, snoozing for years and suddenly waking to a world where a lot of women have ditched their underwear. Commando appears to be en vogue and some of my girlfriends, people in my 45-54 demographic, are choosing to go sans panties.
The chorus of advice I've been hearing, "Go Commando."
Even though it wasn't advice I'd sought, I couldn't help considering the directive.
I grew up with Brooke Shields. I didn't know her personally, but we were two years apart in age, we both grew up in New Jersey, we both sported bushy eyebrows on our adolescent faces. In 1980, Brooke asked, "Want to know what comes between me and my Calvins?" and then she answered, "Nothing." It was effective advertising, because I took to buying Calvin Klein underwear.
Flash forward a few decades and though my preferred brand has changed I wear underwear. All. The. Time. I'm a big fan of Soma's bikini Vanishing Edge underwear so there is nothing granny about my panties. They're my daily accessory.
Sharon Van Winkle discovered that's not the case for everyone.
During the past year, three different friends have given me their undie-busting advice. Panty-Raider Number One told me to stop wearing them altogether, but especially when I run. I'm an avid runner, have run marathons, and I warily listened to her rationale of no visible panty lines with exercise shorts.
Recently, I've taken up biking. A month ago, I bought bike shorts, which are super-comfy and like riding with a mattress in my pants. After pedaling fifteen to twenty miles, that's a good thing. Panty-Raider Number Two advised me to stop wearing underwear with my bike shorts. It was a suggestion she'd been given when she started biking. She tried it, she liked it. I haven't tried it.
On a not-long-ago shopping trip, Panty-Raider Number Three and I were wandering through a high-end boutique when she whispered, "I have underwear in my purse in case I try on pants."
I stopped short between racks of designer jeans. "Why are they in your purse and not on your body?" Of course, I should have whispered my response, but surprise trumped volume control.
She spoke quietly, "I almost never wear underwear."
She nodded. "It's more comfortable. You should go commando."
It may be that the third time's the charm, but I still wasn't convinced that trashing my knickers was something I wanted to do. I needed more information.
First, I took a rudimentary survey of 10 girlfriends who were all around my age. The result: At least on occasion -- exercise being the predominant occasion -- 60 percent of these ladies went commando. In 2015, I of course turned to the Internet and Google to round out my research. A number of articles touted the health benefits of commando life. An article at Elite Daily listed things like comfort and feeling sexy as reasons for turning your body into a no-underwear zone.
I didn't need an article to point out potential economic benefits. Some brands are pricey. Swearing off underwear could pad my wallet, though not lift my butt.
I chewed on all the well-intentioned advice from friends and the information I found online. Most of those I'd queried leaned toward ditching their underwear before exercising. Using that as my guide, I tried going commando for two of my runs. I didn't like it, preferring an extra layer between the world, my spandex and my sweaty self. And though I'm not a stage performer, after Lenny Kravitz's in concert commando-wardrobe malfunction, I think underwear is a key piece of clothing--for women and "dudes". #penisgate
For now, I'm leaving the commando lifestyle to others. Lucky for me, a few weeks ago Soma had a buy-three-get-two-free underwear sale.
I stocked up.