I can be dressed in my most glamorous outfit, I can take every trouble with my makeup, and yet, if, underneath, I am still wearing my Marks and Spencer black men’s underpants, I feel a complete fraud. I will still feel like a man, dressing up. And yet, if I wear my dullest men’s business suit, with the dullest of ties, if I am wearing my Marks and Spencer black ladies panties underneath I will feel, if not exactly like a woman dressing up as a man, I will feel feminine, deep down. These garments can be made in the same factory, by the same person even, and sold in the same shop, and yet one pair is called ‘pants’, for men, and the other ‘panties’, for women. Pants are no-nonsense. They are made to do a job. They are generally not made to be seen. The very name, ‘pants’, is, well, pants.The worst example, Y-fronts, should not even exist. They are a hideous mutation, an evolutionary dead-end. I had to wear them until I was sixteen because my parents were born in the 1930s and Y-fronts were all they they knew. They may get a few laughs when worn on the outside of your trousers, Superman-style, but they are the very definition of uncool. And as for the Y-front ‘feature’, you would have to have your vest, shirt, jumper and possibly even your anorak tucked into your underpants before you would even think about using it. But ladies’ panties! Why, everything is different! Figure hugging, light, ephemeral, pretty, and very, very feminine. Even the name ‘panties’ is beautiful. Adding that soft ‘ee’ ending makes all the difference. Frank becomes Frankie, George becomes Georgie and pants become panties. You could take exactly the same pair of pants and by simply by adding those three letters, ‘ies’, they would be turned into things of beauty.
As a cross-dressing man I’m obsessed with panties. Every ounce of intelligence and logic in me tells me they are just pieces of fabric, that the closest a new pair has come to a woman is the chain-smoking grandmother who made them on the production line. And yet every ounce of social convention, of marketing spin, and all the hormones coursing through my body tell me that they are the very essence of womanhood itself. I know this. I can write this. I can tell you this. But when I pick up a pair of panties my heart misses a beat, and a tingle runs down my spine.
Now women, you feel these pressures as much as we do. You flock to Primark in your droves and come away with carrier bag stuffed with lacy undies. It is your right. You’d never entertain wearing anything so ugly as a pair of Y-fronts. But, Ladies, I’m afraid you have come to take this birthright for granted. In the half-light of the morning you grab a pair of panties from your knicker drawer and tug them on without thinking. At the end of the day you peel them off again and toss them across the room at the laundry basket without a thought. I could ask “Are you wearing panties?” and you would answer “Of course!” If I asked “Do you even remember putting them on?” you would shrug your shoulders at me. This won’t do. You are missing out on one of the great pleasures in life and you don’t realise it. You are quoffing a glass of red wine down in one go when you should be sipping at it and enjoying every subtle flavour. You are wolfing down luxury chocolates without noticing the exquisite range of tastes. You need to take a lesson from us crossdressers, the connoisseurs of panties. Don’t put your panties on under your dressing gown or while sliding off your bed. Take your time. Dress in front of the mirror. Take a moment before you start to appreciate what you see. Because, whatever your shape or age or size, you are beautiful. Panties do not come with beauty attached they are just scraps of fabric and stitches. The pleasure you are missing is ‘you’. Everything you are about to experience is you. Hold your panties up and appreciate the cut, the lightness and the soft stretchiness. You are about to feel this. Step slowly into them, one foot at a time – no hopping about on one leg. And, as you slowly pull them up your legs, enjoy the soft stroking they give you as they pass over your skin. Those are your legs feeling that. It doesn’t feel any more exquisite for Angelina Jolie or Kate Moss. Enjoy the beautiful, tingling, soft caress as the waistband elastic slides over your bottom. That gorgeous feeling is not coming from your undergarments it’s coming from you. And as your panties slide into place, giving you a warm, enveloping, supporting hug, remember that this is your body, your feelings. Admire yourself in the mirror. Turn around and admire your behind. Run your hands gently over your cheeks. Doesn’t feel lovely? Well, that is you! Panties are only an accessory. And as you go through your day, every time you feel that little tug as you bend down at the photocopier or climb the stairs, remember this part of you. And at night, when it is time for bed, savour the feeling of sliding the same panties off, the feeling of release and freedom it brings. Now we men know life is full of pressure, that when you are dressing in the morning without awareness it is because you are thinking about the kids’ breakfast and whether you’ll get to work on time. And we know the last thing you want is advice on this subject from men. But we cross-dressers have discovered great pleasure in the simple act of dressing, in a way that boosts self-esteem amazingly, and we think you should rediscover it too. Because otherwise, Ladies, you are going to lose that birthright of wearing something that can make you realise you are beautiful. We are going to move the knicker drawer to our side of the room and it will be men who wear the panties. You will be condemned to wear boring grey Y-fronts forever more… and who knows where that could lead.