It is my mother’s birthday today, and I received explicit instructions from my father (who is most likely fearing for his own life on this day) not to post anything about it on Facebook. By doing this, I feel like I would be participating in the ritual of age shaming, so I am only partially following orders, and instead writing a post inspired by her birthday, prompting my own thoughts on aging, maturity, and age-appropriate underwear.

Probably how no human feels except Helen Mirren

I am 25 years old, which is by no means old, but is definitely not young anymore (ed note: yes, it is). I am at the age where (at the very least) I am expected to limit my liquor on a weeknight, own hosiery without rips, and bring the party host a gift. As my mother was kind enough to point out, “Jane, you’re almost middle aged!” I think, that in addition to being a bit of an overstatement, that is just plain rude, but I see what she’s saying…
To further illustrate her point, this past Christmas I asked for a juicer, towels, and wine glasses. It is the first time in my life (outside of living with my parents) that I have ever had bathroom towels that match. In addition to these natural nesting instincts, I have also reached a few other important (and very expensive) milestones, including being properly fitted for a bra (which was nearly two cup sizes larger than I had thought I was) while shopping for underwear from somewhere that was not Target or Forever 21.

Matching. Like Marc Jacobs and who cares in St. Barts.

I have always prided myself on being a sexual minimalist, which means that I steer clear of battery operated sex toys (for fear of their desensitizing properties). This bare bones lifestyle (pun intended) also meant that I never put much stock in the whole Lingerie fantasy (so sue me, I think I look good in a well-tailored birthday suit). That is until now. I’m not sure whether it’s getting old (er), having a career that affords me the luxury of nice things that make me feel fancy, or being in a long-term relationship (with a man whom still opens the car door for me and whom I desire more and more with each inch his beard grows), but I started feeling like I needed to step my panty game up a notch.
But, over time, what was once just a disinterest had festered into a full-blown aversion. Maybe it’s because a woman never wants to admit that she needs a little assistance in the sexy department. I had built the idea of lingerie shopping into this scary, defeatist thing, complete with judgmental shop girls and harsh 360-degree mirrors. But I’m still a woman, and no woman can resist a good sale. So when Agent Provocateur hit the 75% off mark, I sucked it up (and in) and headed to Melrose. After my initial discomfort settled, I submitted to a lovely girl who felt me up and brought me lots of lacy garments. If I’m being honest, I found the whole experience kind of erotic: girls in uniform bringing me things that I never dreamed of being able to afford. Like Pretty Woman, but she wasn’t a bitch, and I’m not a prostitute.

This is actually Yasi’s shopping bag. She also lost all of her money there the next day.

So, to wrap it up (and they did, in a pretty pink box with black ribbon that I’m never throwing out!) even though I now have to eat canned foods and only canned foods for the whole next week, and have fancier underwear than I do clothes to wear them beneath, I’ve overcome a major insecurity (white girls problems) and, more importantly, I feel like I’m doing justice to the woman I’ve grown (and am still growing) into. But for now, my slippers are still from Walgreens.

Jane Helpern

About Jane Helpern

Writer & Over-sharer. @janeohelp jane@cultistzine.com