This is a departure from all my previous blogs. it is not about teaching or the environment. It is about life experience. It’s about cancer messing you around,interfering with your sexuality. It’s also about being honest with yourself. It may appear distasteful and crude to some. helpful to others. judge it how you will.
These days it may not be embarrassing or indeed uncommon for men of no more than fifty years in age to shop for lingerie – a valentine gift for their wives, girlfriends or would-be lovers: but for a man in his seventies, neither handsome nor rich, shopping alone for women’s panties becomes a far more intimidating affair.
You might ask why would he, the seventy year old, have a need for women’s underwear anyway. Well you see, for me, at aged 75, I discovered that bikini knickers manufactured from a stretching fabric like lycra are both practical and convenient since my little sausage of a willie fits into them comfortably even when shrouded by a small incontinence pad.
Now the willie wasn’t always so little and I didn’t previously have a urine dribble problem; but there you go, it is a case of the disconcerting effects of radical prostate surgery – that is, the removal of the prostate gland which had been invaded by very unwelcome malignant tumours. The doctors told me, though I couldn’t see or even feel it, that the invaders weren’t doing me any favours – not that invaders are likely to be friendly critters at the best of times – so the gland and tumors came out lock, stock and barrel.
Let me explain a little more. The prostate gland wraps around the urethra and when it is removed, part of that vital tube from the bladder to the penis goes with it. The clever surgeon rejoins the two sections of the urethra but in so doing, pulling the two pieces of tube together, the penis is compromised and it seems ‘shortened’. The penis, if it had not done so already, also loses any possibility of getting excited and taking on blood to turn itself into a stiff rod – the now much missed erection. Yes if you weren’t impotent before the surgery, well there’s a 99.9% probability that you will be afterward.
I found that putting the incontinence pads in my bonds undies covered the fly hole and getting the little penis out of the side of the cotton briefs was very awkward since the material didn’t stretch. One had to disrobe and sit down to wee, or fiddle around awkwardly with the undies getting the willie sufficiently unhindered to be able to negotiate it out through the zipper opening in my trousers, so as to get a reasonable stream flowing. After urinating, and persisting with the contortions of the event, I might just manage to get the little bugger back into the undies in time for the inevitable dribble to be captured in the pad and not have it trickle so lovingly down my leg.
Well, said I, why not try women’s briefs that stretch and could be easy to manipulate so as to get the little fella out when weeing was necessary. Convincing myself I am right, I go off to K-Mart to make a sheepish search for the right product amongst all those exciting rows of bras and panties, in their multi-shaped arrays and multi-colour splendor. Oops, it suddenly dawns on me, ‘What size? What style? ‘ I can’t very well go to the assistant at the fitting room and ask could I try these pairs on to see if they fit me. She’d probably call the store management and have me arrested: when I’d be off to the police station to be intimidated by rigorous yet amused questioning and, if nothing else, lose my Blue Card status. So what garment and what size do I choose and what do I know about the mysteries of women’s sizing anyway? My bonds briefs are size 20 but I suspect that is not going to be a good clue in the current circumstances.
A quick shuffle down one isle assures me that the silky garments are generally arranged on separate racks according to style and sizes, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, etc. Mid range, I suspect and pick a pair of black bikini knickers off the rack. But heck here comes a mother and daughter and then an older lady looking suspiciously at me, questioning in their stares if I am a buddy of Prisilla, Queen of the Desert, or just an old fool simply disorientated in that K-Mart maze and needing re-direction. I put the knickers back on the rack, don’t look up, and retreat to the safety of the menswear department.
A strategy is definitely needed. Just wait around in a close menswear isle and hope some woman I estimate is around about my size happens along and endeavour to see what she chooses. One hopes she is seriously shopping for panties and is able to make up her mind, not easy in all that variety in shapes, colours and pricing. The very next customer is a very slight Chinese girl. I think she goes to the first rack. That will be the eights or tens. She examines a pair and puts them back. Maybe she needs the children’s section. Then an elderly lady wanders in. No, she is only looking at bras, not briefs. Next a younger woman pushing a pram, but she is far broader than I am across the beam. She looks nice and friendly though, and I toy with asking her for advice, but she moves on because the baby is crying. I wait, my nerves on edge. I hear my heart pumping. It’s all two busy. There will be too many accusing eyes.
Then maybe I’m in luck. Two high school girls. The heavier healthy looking one appears to be similar to my shape – reasonably slim in the waist, narrow hips, thickish thighs. Bhar! They are holding up really frilly underwear, lots of lace and not much material, not the stretch lycra style I have in mind. Then they look at G-strings. I feel the discomfort. Think, ‘Remind me not to go there.’ They linger examining several other styles, but it is obvious they are just looking and giggling. I try to remain inconspicuous while lip reading and straining to hear. I note the racks they show an interest in, and when they move on, and the coast is clear, I sneak over there.
There are two women talking in the next row, but I am bolder now, actually getting desperate. I estimate the schoolgirls were looking at around the 12s and 14s, maybe 16s and I decide 14 is the go. I see the generous bikini styles I first looked at are in sets of three – black, navy and light blue, for just $9.95. Not a huge investment if I’m wrong. I grab the first set off the 14s rack. I test them for stretch. Seems good. I turn to leave, anxious to be out of there. A middle age woman dressed as if she is just off the tennis court has entered the isle. She blocks my easy exit. She chooses from the sixteen’s rack. Holds the garments up as if showing them to me and saying, ‘Look what I wear. These lycra bikinis are a good buy’. I feel vindicated in my choice by her gesture. She goes to speak, perhaps offer counselling, and I put a finger over my lips and she nods and grins. “Excuse me,” I say and step past her heading for the checkout, the knickers partly concealed under my arm
Bugger. There’s a queue. Several queues. Which checkout? Not the young man. He’d be thinking disparagingly that I’m either gay, or weird. And I’m not! So one of the females – less embarrassing, who knows? The queue for the younger one suddenly evaporates when a fourth checkout opens. I’m second in line, then I’m there laying the knickers on the checkout bench. The young chick is almost oblivious to the product, just going through her routine and I hand her a $10 note. “Fly-buys card?” I rummage in my wallet and hand her the card.
She returns the card stows the knickers in a shopping bag and adds the receipt. She looks up to say, “Have a good day.”
She has a lovely face and is doing her best to ignore my flushed countenance and agitated manner. “Don’t ask,” I say in a whisper and her eyes light up with a sparkle. “Thanks,” I add taking the bag and walking hastily away.
At home I’m eager to try on my purchase, each pair in turn, though I know they are all the same fit. They are comfortable. The incontinence pad fits in perfectly as if the garments are made for it. My willie can snuggle in without feeling too cramped. I’ve hit the jackpot. I pull my trousers on over the third pair and go to the toilet. Getting the penis out and urinating through the unzipped trousers is so much easier. I am happy. Delighted. I can now justify my boldness. Might even shop for lacy ones next time. Elle’s Intimates, perhaps, at an upmarket store? Could I? That would be a hoot!
Just one more hurdle. Explaining all this to my wife.