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Hold on a second . . . it’s underwear?

August 18, 2011

I can’t believe I’m admitting this.  But I did once tell you I ate my own diaper contents, so we have history now.  I feel comfortable confiding in you.

Well, it’s a bit of a complex scientific conundrum, so stay with me here.  About thirty years ago, I held tightly to a theory involving your basic run-of-the-mill set of kids’ underwearThe theory was this:  if that underwear had been dyed and printed to appear to be a superhero getup, it would no longer retain the original molecular properties that had previously qualified it as underwear.

I have an entire research paper I could drag out for you now, but it’s a yawner and a half, let me tell you.  All that physical change versus chemical change stuff from Chemistry 101 that I’ve never had a good handle on anyway since burnt sugar is just burnt sugar to me. 

What, do you think I was some kind of dummy or something?  I’ll tell you what, if  you were lucky enough to own a pair of Underoos, I bet you were right there with me in that line of thinking.  You just don’t want to admit it.  No, you just don’t want to admit that you wore your undershirt to the Romper Room taping because you thought you looked like Luke Skywalker.

This all sort of dawned on me last week when I saw a woman remark on her Facebook page next to a photo of a smiling, costume-clad boy, “How many costumes does one kid need?”  To which I immediately thought, be glad these are actually costumes we’re talking about here.  Yep, be glad they’re not underwear.

Because I remember a time when all my make-believin’ wasn’t done in a costume at all but a costume of a costume better known as Underoos.  Yes, “underwear that’s fun to wear!”  Oh, I get it.  Because apparently kids had up until that point been so inhibited by their underwear.  Too many kids running around commando-style under their corduroy culottes.  Thank goodness somebody finally got smart and decided, let’s make underwear fun to wear.

Problem was, no one over there at Underoos Headquarters, nor any parents, must’ve anticipated kids would actually believe the whole gimmick.  “No, kids, these are truly just underwear.  You see?  You wear them under your clothes.”  What, not to play in around the house?  Not to wear to the grocery store or over to my friend Katie’s house?  Not for wearing in the backyard for a reenactment of last Saturday’s Super Friends episode?  You mean, this is actually just underwear?  You’re kiddin’ me.

To be honest, I don’t remember ever wearing them under clothes at all.  No, that would just feel wrong in a drinking-orange-juice-after-brushing-your-teeth sort of way.

The absence of Underoos documentation in the Marcia Archives has set off a few alarms for me.  Considering how much time I spent lounging around the house in my Wonder Woman skivvies, where are all these family photos?  There’s not a one!  It’s as if my Underoos never existed.  I thought at the very least I’d find one of me playing Legos in my underwear on the carpet or something.  I always played Legos in my underwear.  That’s the way Legos were meant to be played. 

Nope.  Not even an “Uh-oh, I’m not supposed to be in this photo!” photo in the bunch.  You know what I’m talking about.  Those photos of someone attempting to lean out of a photo while still managing to stay in the photo and thereby drawing more attention to themselves in the photo because of the peculiar way they’re leaning away from the camera with an awkward “not me” turned-down facial expression.  Not even one of those photos.  You know why?  Because my mom knew damn well that all I was really wearing was my underwear.  But tell that to 1979-me.  Tell that to me and my brother as we bravely battled the forces of evil for the preservation of truth, justice and peace for all mankind in our underwear.

No, you’re right, of course there was nothing wrong with us kids hanging around our houses in our underwear.  Better underwear than nothing at all.  Except for the fact that we didn’t realize we were in our underwear.  Was this all intended to be some kind of Emperor’s New Clothes sort of joke?

“Psssst…hey, kid.  That’s underwear you got on there.”

“No, don’t tell him, stupid.”

If so, the joke was on me.  And, apparently, I was not alone:

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Troy permalink
    August 18, 2011 11:01 am

    Awesome! I had Superman, Luke Skywalker and Spiderman!

    I remember making fun of a kid at preschool for wearing his Superman underoos for Halloween Day at preschool. I said “That’s no real costume, those are underwear!”
    My mom was the teacher and grounded me when I got home! DOH!

    • August 18, 2011 11:16 am

      I love that story, Troy! Thanks for sharing. I’m glad to know there were at least a few smart kids like you out there who kept their wits about them. I was the kid who went home after seeing that kid and told my mom, “See, I told you I could’ve worn my Underoos today.”

  2. AnonyCuse permalink
    August 18, 2011 6:19 pm

    This is almost too crazy/embarrassing for me to contribute, but you know me better, Angie. I believe my parents bought a pair of Wonder Woman Underoos for my sister and me to *share*.

    • August 18, 2011 6:23 pm

      That is FANTASTIC! I’ve always wished I could’ve grown up with a sister…until I hear a story like that. Thanks for trusting me and the world with that doozy.

  3. Melanie permalink
    August 18, 2011 6:37 pm

    I have such a clear image in my mind of me and the neighbor kids fighting the world’s enemies after school in our undies – Stephie and I in Wonder Woman, my brother and the 4 “big boys” on the street chasing us in a variety of superhero get-ups. And never *once* did I think it was indecent. You have just dropped a bomb on my little world.

    And now all I want to know is: Where do I get Underoos for my kids?

    • August 18, 2011 6:42 pm

      I love it! Never do my Underoos memories include kicking it old school with other Underoos kids outside my immediate family. Oh, how I wish I had memories like yours! That is a Norman Rockwell painting right there.

      In reference checking this story with Mr. Google, I discovered – get this – they make Underoos for adults now. Eeeek!

  4. August 18, 2011 7:16 pm

    At least you had Underoos! My parents didn’t believe in these extravagances of childhood. Thus I was left wearing normal underwear and trying to convince everyone it was the special “Casper the Friendly Ghost” edition of Underoos. It did not go well…

  5. Punky Brewster~ Jaclyn permalink
    August 19, 2011 9:05 am

    I didn’t own them either :( I barely remember them- my parents didn’t believe in buying me the cool stuff.

    • August 19, 2011 6:49 pm

      Perhaps, Punky, you had made it clear to your parents that you already thought your “underwear was fun to wear.” No need for Underoos.

  6. August 23, 2011 9:49 pm

    I had them! Or my sister did.

Trackbacks

  1. Shaun Cassidy’s undies? Look no further. «
  2. Costumes: Still Thinking Inside-The-Box «
  3. Gone But Not Forgotten «
  4. What the . . . Underoos Worn as a Costume? « Childhood Relived

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