Clearly, someone does it: we've all shuddered at the used underpants in thrift stores and thought - who does that? Well, this time, it was Nerve's Meghan Pleticha, who Does It For Science.
Okay, there's used undies and used undies. There's "I'm not wearing panties" and then there's "period underwear." Anyone who has worked sorting donations at a thrift store has particularly strong feelings on the subject of used underwear. Especially dirty used underwear. (And while we're at it, how about not throwing in dirty disposable diapers? Whoever succeeded me at Help the Aged, Camden Town will thank you.) Even clean old underthings though are a relative proposition: grayed and frayed, with stained gossets and stretched elastics. Someone can use them, the thinking might go - but how about taking that generous impulse and translating it into the minimal expense of a three-pack of new jockeys?
We've all held onto undies past their prime. In my case, I find it very hard to throw out something that was at one time expensive and still feels "special" - especially if the matching bra is still operational. Throwing such things out can be hard (a few drinks helps) and donation may seem a viable alternative, but understand what was for you a romantic splurge, a compendium of daintiness and all things pretty and adult, is in fact a ratty scrap of synthetic lace now missing its bow. Launder and save those sets with maximum sentimental value and let the rest go. Into the trash. Then dump coffee grounds on them just in case you're tempted come laundry day.
There's the other side of the question: do people buy them? That's what Pleticha set out to discover. And she was on the other side of the dirty-drawers divide: Think less saggy jockeys than Sam Baker-Anthony-Michael-Hall in Sixteen Candles (recently reprised on Glee): a sexy lady's used undies are the stuff of fetish, right?
One of the girls [a friend] met at that party sold her panties on the site for $200 a pair. I'd heard rumors about this kind of thing for years, but here was proof it was possible. Two-hundred bucks for underwear? I wasn't up for posing in my panties, but I could totally do that! Unlike sex for money, selling used underwear didn't feel inherently sleazy or immoral. And sure, a guy buying panties online might seem a little off, but in the words of my friend the Craigslist gigolo, "Just because a guy's a panty-sniffer doesn't make him a bad person." After years of flirting with the idea, it was time for me to find out: can a girl make easy money off her dirty laundry? And how much money are we talking?
So she posts a Craigslist ad.
"I'm a college girl who just started school in the city and really need some cash for books and stuff. I have a bunch of panties I don't need any more - some are super-cute, some are kind of old! It's $25 for the not-so-nice pairs, but I have some more expensive lacy stuff too. Serious inquiries only please!"
Instead, dudes want head-shots and extras. Not shocking, maybe.
This was the sketchiness I was hoping to avoid, but I was desperate for a sale. I had posted my first ad nearly a week ago, my asking price had dropped from $100 to $40, but still no takers. I didn't like this kind of bartering. Not only do I suck at negotiating, but it was making me feel like a whore after all. I'd envisioned a wallet full of Benjamins and a drawer of new panties. I hadn't envisioned myself - and I'm cringing as I write this - making extravagant promises about how "juicy" my panties were. I was selling myself. It felt gross. I got very close to forgetting the whole thing.
She ultimately sells a few pair, but isn't sure the hassle is worth the money.
I still don't have a problem with the idea of selling my panties - if it were just that. But it's not. It's teasing and marketing myself, and ignoring upsetting propositions in the name of a buck. The e-mails are still coming in as my last Craigslist post is set to expire, but they're going unanswered. From here on out, I'll just have to do my laundry.
Well, I guess we know who buys those old panties at the SalVa! And, when you think of it that way, maybe it sort of is an act of charity? It's also maybe why only the granny-panties are left. Ew.