Periodically, I succumb to the necessity of buying new items of personal clothing, like underwear or socks. Recently, I bought a new pack of ordinary, boring “utility white” socks, because “periodically” has stretched to years, and many of my daily sock stock have developed distressing holes in inconvenient places.
That meant it was also time to clean out the sock stash. As much as the Depression Era Housewife aspect of my personality hated the idea throwing away mostly-good socks, darning is not a skill I’ve ever acquired. Usually, my attempts more closely resemble damning, and no one wants to wear damned socks. They chafe. So, the sorting and organizing took place.
Hard Truth from The Sock Drawer
I pulled the jumble of underwear, handkerchiefs, bandannas, and much-abused hosiery from my bureau drawer and laid it across my bed. I might as well stack and organize while I went through and played chooser of the slain with my socks. Simple enough, right? Nope.
You see, it wasn’t just undergarments I saw in a tangled heap on the bed. Among the utilitarian items were lacy thongs, crocheted stockings in rainbow hues, the last cute underwire bra that no longer fits, naughty and delicious items I’ve not worn for years because I have no one to entice or delight with my body.
Oh…that strange sinking feeling of animal longing that settles in the belly bit hard as I stood there, surveying my abandoned sex life. I have not shown off my body, reveled in lace or silk so sheer as to hardly be present at all in nearly a decade. Nor, I thought, turning to look at my open closet, have I purchased the sort of clothing that delights me—dresses of expensive and useless design, skirts, silk chemises and wraps, scarves for every season.
No. Over the past eight years, I’ve taken the utilitarian, sensible, no-nonsense aspect of me and made it the entire story. And along with the absence of beautiful clothes, the boots, heels, sandals—they disappeared as well. I had no visible purpose to replace what I could no longer wear. Some part of me felt I didn’t deserve them.
More Than Fine Feathers
I would never have described myself as a clothes horse. But I had an appreciable array of nice clothing, a section of closet space reserved for delicate or striking pieces. What I realized is that my feelings today were about something deeper than fabric.
I have come to a space in life in which, no, I don’t actively hate my body. I take pains to ensure that it is cared for and healthy—but I don’t feel desirable or beautiful. So I don’t include certain practices in my toilette or choice of dress. Now that my socks had shown me this, I recognized it in my posture, the way I carry myself, even how I engage in grooming and self-care.
I feel platonic about my own body. And that’s something I don’t want. I want to want myself, to feel sensuous and delicious. It isn’t about being these things for others—that is no longer a variable. It may never be again, but I don’t want to be alienated from that sexual aspect of my being anymore. Because that part of me is beautiful and ticklish and utterly essential.
Perhaps I can’t afford it right this minute, but I’ve decided that I will begin to build that wardrobe again. I will also build the behavioral accoutrements. Little by little, one thing at a time, and because it has value, I will shift away from this jeans and t-shirts only persona that has taken over.
That’s a decision I was not expecting to make when I woke up this morning. All I intended was to refresh and order my existence as it has become. Apparently, my socks had other plans.