It would surprise me if my younger female readers have ever seen or – better yet – owned a pair of pettipants. Since I don’t wish to be accused of being partisan in any way, this sentiment might also apply to those of the male persuasion as well. But for the sake of simplicity I’m going to assume my target audience here is strictly of the so-called weaker sex (society’s purported dictate, not mine).

Quick show of hands – how many of you gals out there wore pettipants under your dresses when you were younger?

Do they even make this article of (under) clothing anymore? My dear, reliable friend Google tells me yes.

I recall owning at least two pair when I was a child, one black and one that was RED. Most likely I also had one that was white as well. When I was in second grade, I apparently wasn’t shy about telling my best friend Linda one day that I had on the pair of red ones as they were my favorite. Maybe I also told a few other friends or maybe someone else overheard our conversation. Perhaps Linda wasn’t as discrete as I would have hoped she’d be.

During recess some of the boys apparently were somehow made aware of what lay hidden beneath my skirt. Whether they asked to see my pettipants or not I don’t recall. What I do remember though is being chased around the playground, terrified. It’s entirely possible that I was secretly thrilled at the prospect of all these boys chasing me but most likely that’s just Hollywood’s way of muscling its way into my memory bank. In any case, what I certainly do recall is that I was FRIGHTENED.

The boys’ stronger and longer legs eventually caught up with me as I huddled against the brick wall of the school building. There was no other place for me to run! My friend Linda (bigger and stronger and always more self-assured) placed her body in front of mine in an effort to protect me from those nasty boys. Alas, they simply tossed her aside, lifted my skirt and gazed at the lacy reveal of those incredible red pettipants.

After a few ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ the show was pretty much over. Nothing to see here. My first introduction into the male fascination with the mystery of what it is that girls wear that is unseen, secret garments speculated about and always just (barely) out of sight. But this simple childhood episode offered another lesson as well and that is of girlfriends sticking up for each other despite the risks. It is both an unsettling memory and a reassuring one as well.