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Feb 23, 2010

Heeeeeere's CATHY! (Peter's Makeover: DAY 1)

Greetings, all!  Cathy Lane here.

Cousin Peter has told me so much about you and I am tickled to death to get to speak to you directly.  

Frankly, isn't it more fun to share some girl talk for a change?  What's that?  There are boys here too? Prove it!

Yesterday I started Peter's makeover.  What a challenge I have before me! Peter may be a quick study when it comes to sewing, but as far as assembling a wardrobe... Well, let's just say my cousin isn't quite the prodigy you might think.  It's no wonder he's never had a look.

I decided to approach Peter's makeover from the inside out.  That's right, girls: Take me to the underwear drawer! 

Well, actually the underwear shelf.  Peter doesn't keep his clothes in a piece of furniture like the rest of us, but rather piles it up wherever he can find the space.  And there's not much of that.

To look at Peter's collection of underwear is to know everything you need to know about my cousin's approach to fashion.  Feast your eyes on this -- and please click on photo to supersize for maximum impact!

What you are looking at is Peter's more than forty pairs of underwear.  Did you get that?  Four-zero.  And that doesn't even include "sports briefs." (He's quite the athlete, don't you know.)

This profusion of panties is not the result of too many trips to Lord & Taylor's mens department -- if only!  This collection, assembled over more than a decade, includes thrift store finds (appalling), others' laundry room discards (pass the smelling salts), and even a few souvenirs from assignations past(ugh).  

Peter's problem with underwear is representative of his approach to his entire wardrobe: He simply has too much stuff, has owned most of it far too long, and badly needs to edit.  

That's where I come in.  After laying it all out and archiving, I set to work sorting the wheat from the chaff.  

What, pray tell, is this?

Can someone -- perhaps one of you male readers -- explain why a man with more than forty pairs of underwear still holds on to this bleach-stained travesty?

This pair of discolored Calvin's nearly sent me into apoplexy.

I wanted to dump two-thirds of it.  But let me tell you, Peter is very protective of his underwear and it was like pulling teeth to get him to surrender any of it.  Luckily, he was willing to let me make a small pile of discards in exchange for my buying him lunch.

Later, he let me sort the rest (an honor).



Boxer briefs...



By the end of the afternoon I was exhausted and badly in need of some fresh air.

We accomplished a lot today, but there's so much more work to be done.  Today we tackle accessories -- shoes, hats, scarves, etc. -- and we may move into basic skincare if there's time. 

Ladies, do the men in your lives hoard their old underwear?  Are they resistant to throwing away anything that still has an identifiable waistband -- though not necessarily functional elastic?

If so, however do you handle it?

Peter has handed off blog duties to me this week, so don't mince words: it's just between us.  (This is the time to ask those indiscreet questions!)

Have at it!


  1. It's quite simple, actually, Cathy. I just throw them away when he's not looking. This is the only way to prevent the mad scene of clinging and clawing and sobbing the ensues if I actually suggest to him in person that perhaps that piece of sad elastic attached to those shredded wisps of fabric might, just might, need to go to Underwear Heaven.

    Perhaps Michael is more reasonable and can perform this necesesary service for Peter when he's not looking.

    Girl, you have a long road ahead of you.

  2. Cathy,
    I must agree with the above commenter. I am a participant in the throw-away-when-they're-not-looking scheme. He loved one pair of boxers (with fish) on them so much, when I declared that they were kaput and threatened to have a celibate relationship if they ever came out again, he got on his knees and begged me to make handkerchiefs out of them.

    No joke.

  3. My husband had a pair of formerly tidy whities that had become what I referred to as gray baggers. They left little to the imagination, if you know what I'm saying, which if you've been married for as long as I have, isn't a good thing anymore, just annoying. It took repeated shaming, but he eventually relinquished them to the rag bag, which is underwear purgatory around here.

  4. Oh dear, I hope Cathy never gets her hands on my undies drawer....or maybe I should hope she DOES because it is quite a mess. This has inspired me to dump out the drawer and do some weeding. Because I do have a few collapsed elastics that somehow keep making it through the wash and back into circulation....

  5. "Which undies are you talking about, honey?" "No, I have no idea where you left your underwear, perhaps you should keep better track of it!" **wink, wink** Shuts him up every time.

  6. Some men think underwear is a one time purchase! I edit the man's wardrobe in the laundry room - wash or trash? Thank goodness he doesn't notice.

    Cathy, will you come over and help me with my wardrobe? The extra snow here in Virginia has kept me at home (in the rural woods) for weeks now and I've forgotten how to dress in anything other than yoga pants and old tee shirts. I'm venturing out into civilization today and I'm nervous!

  7. Oh, Cathy!! We won't even discuss the deal I have with my husband over what % of his undershirts or briefs have holes in them and when they reach "rag bag' status.

  8. I've found that when the man in my life lets his undies go to the dogs (so to speak), it's time to find a new man . . . one who takes pride in every aspect of his appearance -- from the shine on his shoes (assuming they're shineable) to well groomed hair (assuming it's groomable). Kudos to you, Cathy, for starting from the ground up on Peter's makeover!

  9. First, what a great approach to the editing challenge! One category at a time, and starting at the inside. Simple, but genius!

    Second, my man doesn't really care, which reminds me that I should remove from his drawer all those he never wears. It's quite annoying when he says he asks if he has any clean boxers, when he has a drawer full. What he means is, does he have any clean that he actually wears. And yes, I do all his laundry.

    My 19 year old son on the other hand... I've had to sew up the rip along the seam of his favorite boxers because he wouldn't/couldn't throw them away. They had reached that perfect softness of cotton that has been washed 100s of times. Still.

  10. I once had an agreement with a boyfriend that when you could put your fist through a hole, it could go in the trash. Hubby has agreed to "when you can put a finger through it." It's t-shirts he can't part with. Sometimes I enlarge a hole to make the point -- San Antonio Sue

  11. My hubby is quite sensible about parting with undies, but not t-shirts. And if I throw anything away, woe betide me!

    My stepdaughter, on the other hand, can't stand to get rid of anything but doesn't notice if I discreetly "disappear" things when she's not looking.

    I'm not sure what makes people get so attached to those everyday clothing items; a pair of shoes, a hat, or a fabulous dress, I can understand, but UNDIES? I'm at a loss!

  12. My Knight doesn't have problems throwing things away. I'm the one that keeps everything. I love little lace undies but they always get holes in the lace! I wont wear them but I just can't seem to let go of them. Maybe I should give it a try. Maybe...

  13. Okay, this is theory. Edit, Edit,Edit! Whoo Hoo!

  14. What a thoughtful cousin you are to help Peter with his little hoarding problem. My husband hoards EVERYTHING so underpants are the least of my worries. If I'm folding stuff from the dryer and I find ones with holes, it goes in the trash. If HE's folding and decides the item is 'done' it goes in the rag bag. He claims old cotton briefs make excellent rags but polishing furniture with fabric that has clung to his butt...well I just don't want to go there.

  15. My brothers claim that if it has a waistband and a crotch, it's still good. Notice, the word "functioning" isn't part of that sentence!

  16. Cathy,
    My husband and I do our own laundry. (He claims I've ruined his clothing too many times.)So I don't have an intimate relationship with his undies. But he throws anything away that is not neat and utilitarian.
    I am the one with the problem: saggy, rippled elastic, granny panties, etc. Been married too long I guess. Anyway your hard work is inspiring me. Looking forward to tomorrow's post.

  17. I'm another one for tossing the holey ones when he's not looking. The trick is to buy the same style/color all the time, so it's not obvious that something disappeared!

  18. The Boyfriend has a tendency to hold onto clothes (not undies, thankfully) FAR past a reasonable shelflife. The other day, he was wearing a pair of DEAD jeans (holes, undefined/saggy butt/"dad" jeans) and I said, "Darling, you're much too hot to wear bad jeans. Those are doing NOTHING for your ass. Let's go shopping and show off that tushie!" He totally jumped at it and trashed the dad jeans.

    I'm not a fan of behind-the-back tossing – I don't think he even realized that the jeans were doing nothing to increase his hotness – just wasn't on his radar before. Now it is. Ta-DAH!

  19. I'm so happy to read that I'm not the only gal that just throws the icky pairs away. I'm a nice wifey and put new pairs in his Christmas stocking every year, but yeah, the old ones don't get to live on to eternity in his closet. Hehehe. ;)

  20. They have to be holey before he'll throw them out, and thank goodness he only puts his undershirts in the rag bin. But, hoarding underwear, and he is a hoarder,is the least of my problems. He refuses to throw away pants in sizes he will never see again and they take up a lot more room than under shorts.

  21. I think you need one more pile: Undies that Peter didn't buy/make/receive brand new. Because, well, ewwwww!

    And what is it with men who keep and wear the rattiest nastiest undies?? My husband, of course, wasn't raised by me but my sons were/are and they still fight me over the most pathetic ones.

  22. My bloke owns exactly one pair of underpants. I think they're about ten years old and still pretty new. He only wears undies if he REALLY has to, like if he is going clothes shopping.

  23. hmmm. What's wrong with forty pairs of underwear, really? There's dressy panties, and practical panties and cold weather panties, and panties that match certain outfits and panties for...certain times of the month....and there's thongs and boy shorts and all the styles in between....cotton and lace and satin and mesh...

    My partner though, has two kinds of underwear - black boxer briefs for the winter, and black briefs for the summer. OI have no idea when they get old enough to be retired, because we send our laundry out.

    Does that make me a bad girlfriend?

  24. Cathy, you are hilarious.

    I somtimes have to nag or shame Mr. ASW, but for the most part, he's pretty good and tosses them when they get too ripped or holey.

  25. OMG, Cathy! My husband is a total freak about keeping socks and undies and Tshirts. It's FREAKISH, I tell you. Very occasionally, when I can't stand it, I throw something out and replace it discreetly. But seriously, it's like he has radar and I have a very bad rep in my house for trashing stuff that's "perfectly good". I mean, certain people have been known to suggest that I'm the freakish one.

  26. Cathy, you are a brave woman!

    I've found that if I buy hubby some new underwear that is super comfy and look good on him he is much more willing to part with the old. (Replace the old favorites with new favorites.) Even better, I get bonus points for being such a thoughtful wife.

  27. Cathy,

    My mama taught me a little trick. Sneak a new pair of undies in the laundry every now & then, and simultaneously, get rid of a pair of oldies. He'll never know the difference.

  28. Dear Cathy. Welcome girl! I am so glad that you are saving your cousin Peter from Himself and separating him form his Underwear with a Past. Do say hello to the lovely boy for us.

  29. But think about it rationally - 40 pairs of underwear means nearly SIX weeks without doing the laundry!
    Of course you aren't going to wear the bleach-stained ones if you don't have to. But it's reassuring to know they're there if you need them in a pinch. Believe me, there are many times in my life where 6 weeks without laundry would seem like heaven, and many times where I've gone out to buy some specifically in order to postpone the laundry another week.
    It's the boy's underwear for pete's sake, only a few people are privileged to see it, give him a break!!


  30. My boyfriend owns six identical pairs of gray pants. He recently branched out by purchasing the same pants in brown. Those are all the pants he owns. Half of them are shredded at hem and pockets. I call them his urchin pants. The rest of his wardrobe consists of about a dozen brown striped shirts, threadbare at the cuffs. I try not to look (when he's clothed, at any rate).

  31. My husband also tends to hoard old underwear that are way past their prime and have bleach spots and holes. My trick now is to buy him new stuff and throw out the old when he's not looking, but I also have to rip larger holes in it so that it's unsalvageable from the garbage can if he does see it there. What makes me crazier is the collection of Genesis concert T-shirts dating back to the 80s, many of which also have holes and are unfortunately worn regularly around the house. UGH.

  32. We've just moved to a lovely but smaller apartment which comes complete with a washing machine we have twice weekly access to. You'd think my beloved would make the logical connection and throw out some of those damned boxer shorts and socks. But nope the underwear stays and he complains that there is no room in his clothes drawer. Sigh!

  33. Uh oh, I'm with Peter on this. It's part of my not throw it away unless it's unuseable. No holey, ratty ones, but quite a collection. :( Perhaps it's time to follow your lead and edit, edit, edit.

  34. Oh lord honey, I just hijack them when I'm doing the laundry...oops!the laundry bin looks like the trashcan, "My Bad!"

    Then I go buy new ones and sneak them in. He don't know the difference, girl.

  35. Hmmm, if Peter's wearing the "souvenirs from assignations past" because he gets a naughty thrill from it, I say, more power to him. But if he's wearing them just because they happen to be there... ew.

  36. thankfully mine wears woven fabric boxers, when he "outgrows" them, I cut them up and make patchwork out of them


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