Panties: one woman’s quest to reclaim a word

backless panties

There are a few words that my mouth won’t say. 









And for awhile, panties.




Obviously there are some commonalities in these words, perhaps there’s something about the combination of “oi” or the way p’s mix with s’s that makes my brain go bashful. Perhaps there’s a perceived vulnerability in these, something else that puts the brakes on the connection between my mind and mouth. 

thong panties

My family’s always teased me for the first two, asking me, “Would you like some moist ointment?” just to watch me cringe. I acknowledged the silliness but also wondered if there were words that other felt the same about — uncomfortable without really knowing why. 

high waisted panties

For some reason, “panties” just never made it into my repertoire, favoring its harsher synonym “underwear.” It never bothered me when other people said it, but my mouth found the shape of P harder to make and parroted the words I head growing up inside my home. 

backless panties

As time went on, I started to question my hesitancy. When I heard other women utter “panties” it seemed so beautiful falling from their lips, I like the way it felt. So I tried it on, using the word as often as I found necessary, which honestly wasn’t that much. How often do you really need to say “panties”? 

high waisted panties

Pass me my panties please. Where are my panties? I have holes in my panties. Backless panties, thong panties, high waisted panties. All my panties are in the wash. Please remove my panties. These panties are so comfortable/cute/sexy. Where’d you get those panties from? 

thong panties

The more I said it, the more I enjoyed the new sounds I heard myself making. Thought it didn’t stick completely, it felt good to take that word off the list. I now interchange them, opting to use panties just as often when asking my daughter to pick some out for the day or put them away in a dresser drawer. Perhaps it will carry on in her vocabulary, opting for other words to fear. 


 Blog was written by Alex Fluegel
Photography by Daniel Lisi of Kipriece Tate wearing handmade Siobhan Barrett lingerie. 

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