The Tale of the Parachuting Panties

Picture if you will, a pair of nude coloured panties, vast in size, floating gently down towards earth, like a parachute with nothing attached. These were my panties and if you’re patient, you’ll hear how they came to be abandoned in all their silky glory, on the floor of the Woolworths Customer Services department in Rosebank.

It’s no secret that women put on weight when they get pregnant. Besides the baby bump, your body seems to need more reserves while it’s doing the hard work of building a baby, and you store these reserves in many places. For some people it’s the arms that get that privilege, or the face that appears delightfully in photos disguised as a moon. For me it’s my bottom.

Luckily my husband is a fan of having a bit of junk in the trunk. As for me, because this is my second pregnancy, let’s just say I’m more aware of my behaviour and roller-coaster mood cycles. But this doesn’t mean I can control them any more than I can my expanding ass.

It was on one of these emotionally unstable expeditions during my first pregnancy that I made a fatal mistake. I had my usual “non-pregnancy” pants size in my head and decided to take the big step of buying some underwear a couple sizes larger. I didn’t feel I needed to take the three-pack out of its packaging because I thought I’d left more than enough room for any expansion.

So when I got home, unwrapped them and held them up to the light, I was dismayed to realise that they were still far too small. Simply by comparing them to what faced me in the mirror and doing a few basic calculations, I knew they wouldn’t fit. As we all know though, underwear is non-exchangeable – and for good reason too.

Although I know full well about this policy, my pregnancy addled brain convinced me that I would definitely be able to persuade someone to change their mind. I’d paid good money for these enormous pants and I couldn’t very well give them away as a present – they were hideous. So I waddled off to the customer service department with head held high, confident in the belief that for some reason, they’d make an exception in my case.

On getting to the front of the queue I succinctly, politely (and quietly) told the jaded assistant my emotional story. And of course, they wouldn’t exchange them. This led to a temper tantrum of gargantuan proportions and ended with me asking the assistant haughtily if they wouldn’t mind throwing said underwear away, because I wouldn’t be getting any use out of them any time soon.

“I’m sorry Madam, we can’t dispose of Woolworths goods inside the store, it’s against our policy”. “So now you’re telling me that even though they don’t fit me, you can’t exchange them and I’ve just thrown away R200 – you can’t even throw them away for me?” “Ermmm, yes madam”.

With that, I grabbed all three gigantic pairs, and thrust them towards the only dustbin I could see (directly behind the sale assistant), lobbing them with all my might like a South African cricketer. One pair landed on the assistant’s shoulder, one drooped quickly to the floor but the last pair must have caught some sort of internal draught because it floated daintily, like a parachute, as the entire room watched its silky and expansive descent. There was nothing I could do but walk with head held high (as quickly as possible) to the nearest exit, before a security guard could catch up with me.

Sigh. I’m not proud of my behaviour but at least I can look back and laugh a bit. I can only blame it on my hot head, my big bottom and my haywire emotions. Of course I’ve never had the guts to return to the Woolworths customer services department in Rosebank. When I buy my big pants this time round I’ll be forced to venture further afield. Wish me luck.