It wasn’t until Kindergarten that I developed an awareness that not only were there distinguishable days of the week, but that they all had names. We sang a song about them in circle time that I still hum to myself when I’m lost in time.
Much to my delight, I soon acquired a pack of days-of-the-week underpants, each one with a corresponding clipart: Thursdays had ballet slippers, Mondays had a sunshine, and Fridays had a rollerskate.
I was strict about which days I could wear which underpants, adhering to a moral compass finely tuned toward “The Rules,” so as to not hurt my underpants’ feelings or make them angry if I strayed.
The tricky thing was, there were 7 days of the week, but the underpants only came in a 6-pack, leaving Sunday’s undies for the Lord, I guess. I never asked. I usually wore Snow White if we went to church because she seemed the purest.
After some time I gave up and began rotating into daily usage the princess panties that I normally saved for weekends, nice family functions, and birthday parties. You know, for when you want to feel “dressy.” I discovered that if I wore an Ariel on a Monday and Belle on Fridays, I’d have a backlog of unused days of the week.
I began to experiment and delight in the quiet rebellion of wearing Friday on a Tuesday and Mondays on a Wednesday. There was something deeply hilarious about the incongruity of wearing a day on a day it wasn’t, like when you pretend a plate is a hat or your uncle can’t find you in hide-and-seek even though you’re like RIGHT THERE. I’d hold the giddiness inside all day and marvel at my silly little secret: it might be Wednesday out there but it’s Saturday in my pants and no one was any the wiser! It was possibly one of my earliest forays into comedy.
Over time I began to literally and figuratively grow out of things, as the elastic went limp on Tuesday’s and the crotch blew out of the Princess Jasmine’s from overuse. Christmases brought my new favorite undies: multi packs of Hanes in bold colors and whacky patterns. Big stripes! Polka dots! Zig-Zags! Wearing these in opposition to the plain old blue and red plaid school uniform I wore each day felt thrilling and insane.
The rebellion was sweet and quickly spread to my socks, which I’d frequently mis-match turquoise with purple until one day white socks became MANDATORY and I had to give it up. But they had no idea how far gone I was at that point. They could take my socks but they’d never take my undies. Even now, as a technical adult, my sartorial choices below the belt tend toward whimsy over anything else. It’s a nice way to brighten your own day: to express yourself, just to yourself.
I’ve still got a secret. I might be dressed up as a sensible office manager on the outside, but guess what retro candy is printed all over my undies?
The world may never know.