Underwear Over There

We’ve all been there.  Traveling around, having a jolly old time, when an essential piece of our gear suddenly dies or disappears.  But what to do if that gear is not only essential, but also intimate?

A friend generously gave me permission to share her story of finding herself without usable underwear on an extended, overseas trip.  There is a lesson here.  You’d break in your new hiking boots before you took them on a trip.  Test out your new undies too.  Even if you know and love the brand…

Hanes Consumer Services Dept.
PO Box 3013
Winston-Salem, NC 27102

To Whom It May Concern:

I recently purchased six pairs of underpants to go on a long trip to SE Asia. Enclosed please find one pair and also a piece of the waistband from another pair. The rest are in the garbage somewhere in Indonesia. Imagine trying to find size 10 underpants in a country where the average woman weighs 90 pounds. I finally ended up having some made for me by a local tailor.

And believe me, they were no prize.

As soon as I began wearing my “new” Hanes underpants, they started to unravel at the waist. I was constantly tangling the shred of elastic in my zipper, and half the time my fingers got caught in the holes caused by the unraveling.  Sometimes I would spend my evenings using the scissors on my Swiss Army knife, clipping off the excess threads of elastic and nylon which were increasing in volume daily.  By the end of my trip I had tossed out all but one pair, which is now in your possession.

I can’t understand why the waistband would be of such poor quality. I have several pairs of your cotton underpants which I really like, and which have held up quite well. They’ve even been to Mexico and back with no problem, although they really are too hot and take too long to dry for the tropics. That’s why I bought nylon for this last trip. Well, I do feel very sad and disappointed about this whole state of affairs. I don’t suppose you would do anything in the way of compensation for my time, trouble and loss of underwear, would you?

Thanks for listening,
Going Commando in Bali


Harald Groven's photo of a tailor's shop.

“Could you please make me a new pair of tighty-whities?” Photo by Harald Groven.

Post-script: To their credit, Hanes did send my friend a reply, and even a new pack of underwear. Unfortunately, they were the same low-quality, nylon knickers she had written to complain about. You can get new undies, but you can’t change the world.

Published in Travel Tips

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Seasoned traveler, avid reader, over-eater, clumsy but determined hiker and wannabe Spanish-speaker.

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