The Girl with the Flowered Underwear


Of all the curious idiosyncrasies of the human race, people’s unique behavioral
blips, I’ve always been baffled by the decision some strange individuals make to wear underwear that has flowers on it. It’s definitely not sexy, unless one has a fetish for wallpaper, and from a strictly aesthetic perspective, a floral print can only be visually pleasing to those who think quilted Bounty paper towels are fine art. Mind you, I’m not against underwear that has personality – in fact, I own one pair of boxers with the Super Mario Brothers on it and another that retells the Little Red Riding Hood story (literary lingerie, there’s an idea, market it if you have the time). It’s just that flowers seem tacky. Grandmotherish. And flowers are also the most obvious vaginal symbol I can think of (right, Georgia O’Keefe?); a girl with flowered panties is sort of like a guy wearing tighty whities covered in bananas and The Washington Monument.

blog underwear flowersOne Sunday evening, I found myself sitting in my room, the nervous breakdown that I’d been having for the previous three weeks beginning to subside slightly. I’d been hiding all weekend, terrified at the idea of seeing another human being, wanting only to be left alone, in the dark cavern of my apartment, taking shelter in my cave like an agoraphobic bear or an early 2000s Bin Laden. I’d hear people outside in the lobby of the apartment building, talking and laughing, and my heart would pound. Why were they out there? When would they leave? Their presence was cancer, a black widow spider hanging above my bed on its string, they were there to get me, I had to stay safe. The building was full of threats. Stepping outside my apartment was Russian Roulette, spin the barrel, pull the trigger, listen for noise.

blog underwear candy caneFor over a month I hadn’t done any laundry because the laundry room was down the hallway and I was too petrified of people to force myself to go. I figured it was easier to wear the same dirty underwear, BO scented shirts, and soy sauce stained jeans than risk running into someone in the public laundry room. But on this Sunday, the hallway was quiet, and I was feeling adventurous. I threw some clothes in a bag and literally sprinted across the lobby to the laundry room. The washer was all in Chinese and I had no idea how to work it. Whatever. I tossed my clothes in, poured a bunch of detergent on top like a Canadian eating pancakes and going heavy on the maple syrup, and punched buttons until the machine started. What was the worst that could happen? I’d either end up with clean clothes or turn the apartment building into The Impossible.

Forty five minutes passed. It was time to make the transfer to the dryer. I gave myself a pep talk, pumping myself up, like someone does before walking over hot coals, and then I darted back to the laundry room. There was only one dryer not currently in use but, to my horror, someone had left clothes inside it. I cursed under my breath and ran back to my room. Twenty minutes later I repeated the process, pep talk, 15 meter dash, dryer check. The same clothes sat in the dryer, left and abandoned, shed and forgotten, the same way cats leave their fur all over the place.

blog underwear flowers two“Son of a bitch!” I shouted. I knew that I didn’t have it in me to come back again. Whoever was doing this was torturing me. I opened the dryer and started taking the clothes out, throwing them on top of the machine. To hell with it. My head ached. There’s a privacy agreement inherent in any Laundromat and I was breaking it, smashing it with each t-shirt or sock I tossed out of the dryer’s warm circular metal embrace.

And I would have kept going, had it not been for what I was unearthing. Panties. Lots and lots of panties. Whoever was responsible for this had washed a record amount of underwear, lifetimes worth. Flowered panties, tons of them, descending from the dryer, falling down onto my face, like I was an opera singer and the crowd was pelting me with roses.

blog underwear big flowers oneHow could I leave some girl’s underwear out in the open for anyone to gawk at? I only wanted to dry my clothes, not humiliate anyone. Anger filled me as I held the girl’s floral patterned panties in my hand. I imagined that if I was single, maybe one day I’d have a romantic hook up with one of my coworkers, bring her back to my apartment. Things would get heavy, bra unlatched, and I’d slide her jeans off, only to recognize this same pair of flowered panties snug around her hips. Passion would die right there. The lights would have to come on, and instead of sex, she would get a long lecture on laundry etiquette.

“Hours! You left your clothes in the dryer for hours! What kind of girl just leaves her panties in a public space like that? Have you no decency?!?”

It was no use. I put all of the mystery girl’s clothes back in the dryer, then took my soaking wet laundry and stuffed it in my bag. Returning to my apartment, I hung my drenched clothes around the place like I was redecorating, putting socks on bookshelves as if they were family photographs.

“I finally did some laundry,” I sighed. “I should feel happy.”

It was true. I was alone and safe, with wet clothes sitting in my closet, while some stranger was out and about, possibly having the time of her life, her laundry a minor detail of her day, already forgotten.



25 thoughts on “The Girl with the Flowered Underwear

    • Hello! That’s a fine question. Although I share way, way too much on the blog already, I will just say that there was a reason that I had to leave Korea, it’s nothing awful, but I don’t really want to share it. haha. Shady, eh?

      China is getting better. I blame my own weirdness for the trouble adjusting. Take care. : )

  1. This is awesome. So well written!!! (Bananas and the Washington Monument tighty whiteys. LOVE) You are so kind to put her panties back in the dryer. I always felt weird about removing and TOUCHING other people’s clothes out of the dryer so I could dry my stuff. You are inevitably going to touch UNDERPANTS…(which I also found so funny that the entire load you spoke of was nothing but underpants) BUT…if they care so much they shouldn’t leave their unmentionables lying around. Again…you are too kind. This was great. So sorry to hear of your fear of people. We are some crazy nuts…but that anxiety must be rough. : ( Hang in there and keep writing!!

    • Hi ya! Thanks for all the kind words my friend. Yeah, it’s definitely uncomfortable when you have handfulls of someone else’s clothes. Feels like a violation…although it’s just fabric, not the person’s body or anything. And yes, I’m super kind. : )

  2. oh boy! there is no annoyance like finding neglecting clothes in the washing machine/dryer, especially when you need to use it to do your laundry. I cannot remember how many I’ve murmured to myself ‘what the heck were people thinking leaving their clothes unattended like this?!’ they should be given tickets.

    for your wet clothes, go buy a hair dryer 😉

    • LOL! How pitiful would that be? Standing there drying clothes with a hair dryer. Actually, maybe that’s not a bad idea. Were you serious? I might do that. Brilliant! 😀

  3. Hi Bill! How are you doing? I am worried about you. Oh my…from eating pizza that is psychologically poisoning you, to wearing dirty clothes, to hiding in your apartment. What has China done to you?! Haha… Hey, last time also I have heard about bird flu. Be careful okay?

    I didn’t know some guys despise flowery underwears. I will definitely keep that in mind. Haha…

    I had the same experience with sharing the laundry room. It is so bothersome, so what I did one time is I brought a garbage bag, stuffed all the dried clothes in the bag. Then when I was done, stuffed the clothes with the garbage bag back to the dryer. Haha…at least when someone has to use it, the person’s unmentionables aren’t lying around for everyone to see. That is so sweet of you to think of the lady’s undies lying around if you took off all her clothes from the dryer. At least you wouldn’t have to come down to the laundry room to get your clothes back since they are already hanging wet in your closet. Hehe

    Good to read another post from you. 🙂

    • Hey Jeps! Yeah, the experience here has been rocky to say the least and I really started falling apart…things are getting somewhat better though, and maybe I’m finally getting adjusted. It’s a completely different life here, nothing like what things were like in Korea or the States. I get the feeling that a lot of this isn’t China so much as the school where I am. It’s in the middle of nowhere, so there are day to day problems that I didn’t expect, from locating food to dealing with days when the Internet is useless (due to the poor connection). But I think writing about everything will help. Seems like a better way to deal with the stress than trying to fight people and having mental breakdowns in bank of china (blog posts to come, my friend haha).

      That’s an interesting idea with the garbage bag. Actually, I did laundry a few days ago and the dryer didn’t dry anything at all. It’s a piece of shit! So hanging the wet clothes doesn’t seem so bad and is actually what I’ll likely do going forward.

      Good to hear from you, Jeps! Peaces! : D

      • Good to hear you are adjusting. Well, we (your readers, co bloggers and friends) will just have to wait for your succeeding experiences to blog. Looking forward to them.

        Actually, that is what we do here. We usually don’t have dryer so we hang our clothes to dry. Sometimes, there’s no electricity (due to brownouts) and for some don’t have washing machines, so we wash clothes with our hands. Back to basics I would say. 🙂

        Enjoy the rest of your day Bill! 🙂

      • Yeah, in Korea there were no dryers and I was surprised that there were dryers here. I was expecting a drying rack. I really only want a dryer so that I can put my shirts in for five minutes and thus don’t have to iron. Otherwise, I’m very cool with hang drying. : )

        Have a super night, Jeps!

  4. Hi, Oppa !

    If it’s any consolation to you, I’m sure your knees would be shaking by now re North Korea crisis.

    But what the heck is this fear of people so suddenly? 6__6 I understand though, for some reason.

    Well, anyway, take care. And come back soon to the US. I think it’s about time. By the way, are there stores there that sell US products? Don’t use toothpaste made in China. They’ve been banned here in the US.

    • Hi Nene!!!

      This North Korea thing has me conflicted. On one hand, I feel sick of their shit and sort of hope something happens to put an end to them. On the other hand, no one in Korea seems worried and this is probably much ado about nothing, so I guess inaction is the best policy. One of my friends posted (on Facebook) an email the American embassy sent to US citizens living in South Korea, and it basically says that the media is making things out to be worse than they are and that there’s no real threat. I sincerely hope nothing happens, as my girl and like 2/3 of my friends are over there. It would be a horrible blow to my social life.

      Nene, I’ve had a rough month from a mental health perspective. Just one deep, ugly depression. Maybe it’s the toothpaste.

      The toothpaste?!? What’s wrong with it? Yes, I do in fact use Chinese toothpaste. There’s a Walmart not too far from here, perhaps I will look into investing in a tube of Crest.

      Later gator! : D

  5. “Privacy agreement?” Shit, dude, not at any laundromat I’ve ever visited. Leave your stuff in there for ten seconds longer than strictly necessary and you can expect to find them strewn across the roofs of several machines, or, alternatively, neatly folded and stacked, which is somehow worse.

    Sorry to hear you’re having a hard time. Hope you can keep struggling forward.

    And now that you’ve teased posts about fighting and banking (please tell me those are the same incident, and you got into a fistfight at Bank of China?!), you’d better deliver ;D

    • Sup Rude Boy! I agree – to see my laundry neatly folded and stacked by someone else would be worse. It’s almost like a taunt. I’d much rather have it thrown all over the place.

      Hahaha. I hate Bank of China. I didn’t fistfight them, but I’ve got a lot of time left, so there’s always the possibility of that happening. : )

  6. I empathize. Nothing like having the basic necessities and comforts of what you are used to confounded by culture, circumstance, or someone’s chosen style of underfashions. I’m glad to hear you are hanging in there and that things are starting to turn around – change really can be a massive adjustment on your emotional compass.
    Good to hear you posting, even if you did have to redecorate your apartment with wet garments.

    • Hi! Girl, my emotional compass was pointing south, let me tell ya! But that happens. This apartment is actually quite nice. I’m not used to it. I feel more comfortable in a tiny box than in this kind of luxury.

      Have a super weekend my friend!

  7. Sometimes just doing laundry is a victory, even of it’s only half done. I have been there. There is something gross about seeing other people’s underwear in the communal laundry dryers. When we lived in Chicago we had communal laundry too and when people didn’t remove their crap from the dryers, I would go to chuck in on the table. But then, when I saw a glimmer of underwear, I stuffed it all back in like the underwear was going to rat me out for being a bad neighbor.

    • Hahaha. Exactly! Although I don’t think I would have a problem exposing male underwear. There’s nothing really that private about it. But female underwear…it’s a different story. Thank God you can’t dry bras, as that would add more layers of complication.

      Peaces Waiting! Have a super weekend!

  8. judithsmarkworld

    Great post as always, Bill! Hang in there. Hopefully, with time you will settle in your routine. Then it will be better. I am now adjusting to my life in MI, and it took 9 months. The hubby dealt with the “crazy” Judith all this time… but it gets better.
    Concerning driers, I decided long ago to only wash “decent” clothes at the public to avoid getting into an embarrassing situation, like leaving stuff behind, or someone else picking up your stuff off the floor.

  9. Does your laundry room need some help with organization? Add this Wall Clothes Laundry Dryer for an instant shelving system. This Laundry Dryer features two space-saving, parallel, horizontal bars for staggering your hanging clothes for drying or storage. On the top side of the dryer there is a storage rack for holding your laundry detergent, storing folded linens, or stashing extra clothes hangers — it features up to 50 pounds capacity. Do you need a removable storage system for hanging clothes in your existing closet space? This multi-purpose laundry dryer is ideal for mounting in a closet. All you need is a drill, level, and screw driver to install this unit within minutes. Do you live in a prefabricated mobile home or have an RV that has walls that are studless and made only of drywall? Not a problem with mounting this system that is suitable for drywall installation.

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