February 15, 2013

Woman writing lengthily for The Atlantic doesn't seem to know the word "underpants."

Sarah Fentem goes on at bizarre length about how much she dislikes the word "panties." After extensive blah blah blah, she gets to this:
So what word could be used instead? Personally, I've always just called my bottom unmentionables "underwear." My sister, though, disagrees. "Underwear" is no dice, she says, because women have two types of underwear (bras and panties)—and how will you know which ones are being referred to?

Another friend of mine has suggested the terms "top undies" and "bottom undies," but I don't see that particular strategy catching on, either....

It's well-documented that women are ahead of the curve when it comes to linguistic ingenuity....
Oh, yeah, women... they're so verbally proficient that they don't know the word "underpants."

95 comments:

campy said...

So no PROFIT!!!!! then, I guess.

madAsHell said...

I think she has a knot in her panties!!

Inga said...

Make it easy. Don't wear any.

wyo sis said...

Captain Underpants to the rescue!

ironrailsironweights said...

The British term knickers would do. Panties is infantile.

Peter

edutcher said...

Good Lord, there's drawers, knickers, pantaloons, girdles, things, g-string, boyshorts - all manner of euphemisms, although drawers are technically different from the others.

Whatever floats your particular vessel.

Besides, men have the same thesauristic things with undershirts and underpants.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Make it easy. Don't wear any.

@ Inga.

That was funny. Made me LOL.

Sorun said...

Underpants is a mom word. Unless you're talking to a child, it sounds dorky.

St. George said...

Having published works by Emerson, Hawthorne, Dickinson, Twain, Frost, Hemingway, and Nabokov, "The Atlantic" Magazine now gives us Fentem.

tiger said...

The things women/liberals and liberal women worry about it.

Nomennovum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madAsHell said...

Make it easy. Don't wear any.

Going commando!!

Kev said...

(the other kev)

First World problems.

Nomennovum said...

My ex-wife hated the word "panties" too. I think "panties" is sexy. "Underwear" is not. "Underpants" is not -- and its masculine besides. It's panties or nothing. And by "nothing" I mean "commando."

If you are a woman and can't say and wear panties, you are old old old.

MnMark said...

Another feminist who in one breath will swear there are no important differences between the genders, and then in the next breath claim that women are superior in some important way.

Nomennovum said...

Damn, madashell beat me to the punch.

dix said...

Underwear when putting it on. Panties when taking it off

The Farmer said...

You mean the panties your mother laid out for you?

rhhardin said...

Jennifer Nittoso, Imus's contract local weather lady, objected to panty on the air (real audio), June 20, 2012.

About a month later Imus mentioned that she was a little prickly, and then she was gone, whether unrelated or not. It may just have been that a different contract weather company was in the works.

Exciting audio brought to you courtesy of extensive automatic program logging.

Clyde said...

Don't get your panties in a wad, Sarah.

The Godfather said...

I don't think "panty" is a proper singular. One of the item is "panties". I don't wear a suit with a "pant", but "pants".

So also with "underpants".

And by the way, speaking as a straight guy (but, granted, of a certain age), I urge against the commando approach. I don't want to see that region in public. I wish Ann Hathaway had followed my advice.

rhhardin said...

The sexiness comes from association with the feminine operation of concealing that nothing is concealed.

It's certainly a reversed causality. The common term acquires the sexy baggage, whatever the common term is.

A separate term for men and women arises because of male interest.

So there you are. Panty.

Patrick said...

This is in the Atlantic. I checked. It is not a joke.

OH how they have fallen.

rhhardin said...

Panty is correct.

The plural for pants, scissors, and so forth comes from being of the class of things made from two of the same thing, counting a mirror image as the same. Pair of Xs.

The pair construction doesn't work for panties, which are joined front back than left right.

Kensington said...

"Panties" is a great word.

"Panties"

I could say it over and over.

"Panties" "Panties "Panties"

Nomennovum said...

LOL. The author thinks the sexualization of panties was started by some marketing department somewhere. What a tool. Panties are sexy because young women wear them. Grandma underwear is not sexy because grandmas wear them.

The Ironclad Rule of Sex in the Animal Kingdom:

* With females, young equals sexy. Old, not so much.

Pogo said...

Good God, do feminists have a topic they don't bitch about?

And given the SI swimsuit brouhaha, I detect a large component of ...jealousy.

Jealous about the young and beautiful.

edutcher said...

The Blonde calls the waist-high briefs elephant pants.

The Godfather said...

And by the way, speaking as a straight guy (but, granted, of a certain age), I urge against the commando approach. I don't want to see that region in public.

Or in pubic, for that matter.

Dave in Tucson said...

Talk about first world problems. Sheesh.

How often does this topic come up in conversation, anyway? For me, it's "never"...

Nomennovum said...

"I urge against the commando approach. I don't want to see that region in public."

Public pubic viewing is not the point of going commando. Ease of access is.

Pogo said...

Hasn't she figured out yet that Victoria's Secret isn't advertising to her?

Nomennovum said...

"It's well-documented that women are ahead of the curve when it comes to linguistic ingenuity ..."

It's also well documented that feminists are humorless, inconstant, envious, ugly, fat, obnoxious, totalitarian, freedom-hating, useless, nasty scolds.

chickelit said...

From the article: The addition of the suffix "-ies" (or in the singular form, "-y") converts the word into a diminutive.

OK,"panty" isn't the world's best diminutive word but it's next to it.

LordSomber said...

I like how the Aussies also call them knickers.

In Tokyo I saw a boutique called "I ♥ Panty" but didn't have the nerve to go in.

paul a'barge said...

O.M.G. Look at Sarah Fentem Click here

LOL.

You can't make these people up.

ricpic said...

Hey lady, boxers or briefs?

BarryD said...

Without the word "underpants", most of our efforts at poetry in the First Grade would have been impossible.

Erika said...

I've never liked the word 'panties' either. Something about it just bugs me. I use the word 'undies.' I'd like to say 'knickers' because that is a fun word, but it's poseur-y coming from an American.

I've also been known to say 'unterpantalones' because the world needs more Gerlish words.

David said...

The author Sarah Fentem is a cute brunette.

J-school at Medill.

St. Louis University '11. Northwestern MSJ '13.
Likes: Maps, ringpops, backpacks.
Dislikes: GPS, faux leather, messenger bags.


She's pretty much doomed already.

David said...

Jockstrap.

Say it loud and proud, men.

Jockstrap!

wyo sis said...

Clearly we need to organize a commission of modern feminists funded by government to come up with a non sex specific term that is somehow both sexy and not sexy, masculine yet feminine, respectful and yet edgy. Fig leaf?

Ann Althouse said...

Brilliant observation by rh.

Sam L. said...

Patrick said...

This is in the Atlantic. I checked. It is not a joke.

OH how they have fallen.
********************************

The Atlantic IS the joke.

virgil xenophon said...

Surprised no one has mentioned "undies" yet--used to be a common term..

virgil xenophon said...

And 'panties" is good also--else how could college students go on a "panty-raid?" (LOL, I'm really dating myself now--NO ONE has separate dorms any more. Hell, in my day @LSU the girls dorms were on one end of the campus and the men's at the far opposite. I know, I know...slowly fossilizaing..)

edutcher said...

Erika said...

I'd like to say 'knickers' because that is a fun word, but it's poseur-y coming from an American.

Short for knickerbockers. Given the word's use in NY State, nothing poseur-ish about it at all.

Feel free to use it.

Nomennovum said...

LOL. The author thinks the sexualization of panties was started by some marketing department somewhere. What a tool. Panties are sexy because young women wear them. Grandma underwear is not sexy because grandmas wear them.

The Ironclad Rule of Sex in the Animal Kingdom:

* With females, young equals sexy. Old, not so much.


Depends on the woman.

There are a lot of younger women that are about as appealing as a pile of dirty laundry.

There is a fair number of older women that have class, style, elegance, and real beauty.

Take your pick.

Big Mike said...

If one addresses the problem in the fashion Inga suggests, then at least there's no panty line when one wears tight slacks.

Big Mike said...

If one addresses the problem in the fashion Inga suggests, then at least there's no panty line when one wears tight slacks.

Big Mike said...

Good ol' Blogger and it's double postings.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

It's well-documented that women are ahead of the curve when it comes to linguistic ingenuity....

So...women are more cunning linguists?

chickelit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickelit said...

rhhardin said...
Panty is correct.

The plural for pants, scissors, and so forth comes from being of the class of things made from two of the same thing, counting a mirror image as the same. Pair of Xs.

The pair construction doesn't work for panties, which are joined front back than left right.


This is incorrect. Panties is correct by analogy to knickers, breeches, trousers, etc. All of those garments have a plane of symmetry which coincides with the median plane rather than the frontal plane as rh asserted. See this anatomical drawing for reference: link. Some pairs of panties (in fact most) may be physically sewn together front to back but I have ahem scene some which are seamed down the median line--at least in front.

A curious exception is the word pantyhose which one never hears in the plural. The portmanteau word is based on "hose" which is an old Germanic term with obvious metaphorical history. But even the Germans seem to use Hose and Hosen (pl) interchangeably.

chickelit said...

So...women are more cunning linguists?

I must admit that the cat has gotten my tongue on many occasions.

chrisnavin.com said...

Maybe we could stitch together a language for women's undergarments out of whole cloth.

Or perhaps build one from the top down, like Esperanto.

That worked well.

P.S. I long for the day when such nattering, lightweight, navel-gazing feminist twaddle is hung out to dry.

chickelit said...

P.S. I long for the day when such nattering, lightweight, navel-gazing feminist twaddle is hung out to dry.

There's less and less hung out to dry each year as the AGW takes hold: link

chrisnavin.com said...

One more thing, we should have a word like knickers for, you know, knockers.

Terry said...

In Olden Times they were called 'small clothes' and were usually made from the ragged remnants of used-up outer clothing.

Methadras said...

These are clearly stupid women. Stay away.

chrisnavin.com said...

Chickelit:

Well, I yearn for the day when I can live like my patron saint, Al Gore. Saint Al renounced all worldly goods like clothing, electricity and sanitation to live as would a feral animal in a cave, true to the scientific commandments.

Forget carbon neutral, I heard he wanted to go carbon ZERO.

I just want to be a better person, and when I watched the old non-OPEC controlled Current TV, that's what Aloysius gave me.

Titus said...

What kind of undies to most women wear?

I always think of that scene in British Jones where she is wearing those huge undies.

The women I see in pornos where thongs.

Titus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Titus said...

What percentage of women manicure their bushes?

JL said...

Brings to mind the "panties" scenes in the movie "Anatomy of a Murder". In the movie, the judge is uncomfortable about using the word "panties" in the courtroom:

(from IMDB:)
[Judge Weaver has stopped the testimony by Detective Sergeant James Durgo, State Police, and called the lawyers to his bench]

Judge Weaver: Mr. Biegler, you finally got your rape into the case, and I think all the details should now be made clear to the jury. What exactly was the undergarment just referred to?

Paul Biegler: Panties, Your Honor.

Judge Weaver: Do you expect this subject to come up again?

Paul Biegler: Yes, Sir.

Judge Weaver: There's a certain light connotation attached to the word "panties." Can we find another name for them?

Mitch Lodwick: I never heard my wife call 'em anything else.

Judge Weaver: Mr. Biegler?

Paul Biegler: I'm a bachelor, Your Honor.

Judge Weaver: That's a great help. Mr. Dancer?

Claude Dancer: When I was overseas during the war, Your Honor, I learned a French word. I'm afraid that might be slightly suggestive.

Judge Weaver: Most French words are.


From a later scene:

"Now Mr. Dancer, get off the panties! You've done enough damage."

EMD said...

Chick is winning this thread and it's not even close.

edutcher said...

Big Mike said...

If one addresses the problem in the fashion Inga suggests, then at least there's no panty line when one wears tight slacks.

There is, however...

CAMEL TOE!!!!

(which, I have to say, doesn't really turn me on)

DCS said...

I prefer thongs.

chickelit said...

@Titus: "Manicure" is sloppy usage as it refers to grooming hands (cf. pedicure). Maybe try "pubicure" or shave or wax instead.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

edutcher said...

CAMEL TOE!!!!

(which, I have to say, doesn't really turn me on)


It depends on the camel.

JL said...

The Blonde calls the waist-high briefs elephant pants.

Women in my extended family, grandmas included, refer to those as "granny panties". (Kinda takes the sexy out of the word "panties"; except maybe to grandpa.)

Kit said...

If she were in Game of Thrones, they'd be 'small clothes'. Personally, I use undies or just underwear (not to be confused with bras, cuz those are called...well...bras).

Icepick said...

I bet she's never heard of Paris or France either.

Inga said...

I had a brother in law that called bras, "over the shoulder boulder holders", he was a bit crass.

SOJO said...

Where I'm from "underwear" only means underpants. It never means bra.

"Underpants" and especially "panties," despite their functionality, have child molester connotations.

On this note, I've always preferred "people" to "persons" and from kindergarten on could not see the big deal until I read in the comment on this blog someone (can't recall) who despised "people."

chickelit said...

Inga said...
I had a brother in law that called bras, "over the shoulder boulder holders", he was a bit crass.

A first generation German or Dutch immigrant will recognize "BH" (pronounced bay-ha).

bagoh20 said...

I thought they were called "third base".

chickelit said...

You must be old school, bagoh20: 3rd Base

lge said...

It reminds me of an old joke: a young boy in Depression-era America gets up at 6 A.M., runs his paper route, stokes his home's furnace with coal, bathes and dresses himself and trudges to school.

There, his teacher calls on the boy with the question, "How many legs does a cockroach have?" To which the boy can only sigh, "I wish I had your problems, teacher."

kentuckyliz said...

I vote knickers.

Female freeballing would be what, freelabing (with a long a)?

bagoh20 said...

"You must be old school, bagoh20".

I thought 1st base was a kiss. 2nd was top underwear, third was bottoms and home was where you went when all the other bases were gone. All that other stuff is just running up the score.

William R. Hamblen said...

Thorne Smith called them "step-ins" in "Topper".

Astro said...

There is also undershorts, which for a female might be 'undies'.
When I was growing up 'underwear' referred strictly to briefs/boxers and now also boxer-briefs.
T-shirts were just t-shirts and were never called underwear.

furious_a said...

In Spanglish they're known as 'chonies'.

Smilin' Jack said...

"Woman writing lengthily for The Atlantic doesn't seem to know the word "underpants.""

Or the word "thong." Which I'm guessing in her case is probably just as well.

rhhardin said...

Mnemonic baseball inning rule: it's like undressing a girl. First the top, then the bottom.

rhhardin said...

In German bra is Büstenhalter, bust holder, which is masculine owing to the one doing the holding.

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Nichevo said...

Barge, if that's her she looks like a nice piece, seeming both pleasant and eminently fuckable, but someone has to teach her that the proper condiment for hot dogs is mustard, not ketchup.

I guess it doesn't matter if she's a lesbian, though that would be a waste. As with Ellsworth Toohey in The Fountainhead, my guess is she wrote the whole piece of twaddle solely in order to slip in the bit about linguistics, i.e. that women eat pussy better than men. Shoutout to dykesville, or then again it could be simple misandry.

The article is really not important. What is important is that she puts ketchup on hot dogs. Like ordering pastrami on white with mayo. It's just not done, girl! Even a lesbian is entitled to eat properly.

betamax3000 said...

Back in the old days a mother would tell her daughter to always wear a clean rhinestone-studded G-string because if you're in an accident you don't want the paramedics to think you are a stripper.

betamax3000 said...

Re: "The article is really not important. What is important is that she puts ketchup on hot dogs...Even a lesbian is entitled to eat properly."

Lesbians eating wieners. I think this thread may have found a second life.

betamax3000 said...

How does a lesbian eat a wiener?

With relish!

betamax3000 said...

Not many things sexier than a lesbian eating a wiener.

In a bikini.

In a car wash.

And its a warm summery day.

betamax3000 said...

Lesbian Hot Dog Stand.

"You Like The Wiener, We Like The Buns."

betamax3000 said...

From what I understand there won't be many Lesbian Hot Dog Stands in North Dakota.

betamax3000 said...

The Transgender Hot Dog Stand is a poor business model: all the hot dogs have had the wiener removed.

Martinkh said...

And when they take polls about "should women serve in the infantry", she not only thinks she has the brain to have an opinion, but she probably thinks she could handle it if it weren't so beneath her. Seriously, you womenfolks think too much about stupid things.