This pair of panties was tied to the fence surrounding a peanut roasting factory near my house. The display of the panties bothered me in and of itself, but it seemed even more absurd that they were g-string panties no larger than the size of my open fist, infantile in pattern, and stained with blood on the inside.
The panties hung there for days…weeks…freezing and dethawing, dripping and re-crisping at the whim of a Michigan November. As time passed I became increasingly obsessed with the neighborhood panties. I took dozens of photos each day and night, documenting the absence of moral censorship, aesthetic concern, and territorialism that one would except to emerge before a landmark as violent and sexual as this. To my embarrassment my roommate noted the frequency of my visits to the panty fence. From there forward I began taking his dog on my walks, dog-walking being an activity that throughout my life has provided me with a satisfying amount of freedom and privacy.
There were multiple parking spaces surrounding the panty fence, and peanut roasters came and went all day. I didn’t–and still don’t–trust that no one saw the pink floral panties on the gray fence against the gray parking lot surrounding the gray buildings. And the panties stayed tied to that fence for so long that I didn’t trust that the roasters hadn’t at some point broken down and acknowledged the curious ornament, the mention of which loaded with the power to secure a bond of pleasure between those who have little communication beyond griping about factory procedures and presumptuous new hires.
After about five weeks I grew board board of the panties. It seemed insane to confront the peanut roasting staff about my panty theories. Unorganized and indistinguishable in my hard drive, the hundreds of panty photos were indistinguishable from each other, rather than an exciting visualization of how I experienced their permanence on that fence (this being the effect I expected). After the panties had spent so much time in the neighborhood, it didn’t feel right to simply untie the them from the fence and go on with life as if the panties were never a part of it. No one was going to acknowledge those panties. No one except for me, anyway.
The night I decided to make my move it was raining hard, of course. My roommate had a guest over, and they were busting ass on a school project that was due the next day. I appealed to the radical-creative sensibility and hunger for adventure that seems to shape so many boys in their early twenties and asked them to help. They agreed.
After dark, after the bars closed, after all the drunks had gone through Taco Bell and safely arrived home, the boys and I charged out of the house in our wool jackets, whispering for fun, giggling uncontrollably, and manically rolling out future plans for our political panty pluck. We arrived at the fence and my roomie swiffed an enormous pair of kitchen scissors out of the front pocket of his jeans. As he snipped the panties at the base of each knot I worried in silent retrospect about him slipping on wet leaves, sending the sharp end of the scissors straight through his built up thigh muscle.
Before venturing out of the house to remove the panties from the fence, I handed my roommate and his friend each a handful of g-string panties from my personal stash. I did my best to make it look like an average, casual panty hand-off, but in truth I spent over thirty minutes sifting through my underwear drawer, weighing my options: Was it better to sacrifice my good panties to the cause so I wouldn’t have to worry about the the boys seeing a spot and making judgements about my hygiene (and therefore attractiveness, and therefore value as a human)? Or was it time to get real about the fact that these boys were just boys, and hold on to my good panties so I can wear them the next time I encounter a man? I decided a compromise was best and gave good panties to the one I liked more, and black panties to the other.
Standing in the dark, in the freezing rain, in the face of the fence where two pink knots marked the uncomfortably small width of the panties that once reigned, the boys and I emptied my panties out our of our pockets at a remarkably faster rate than I was able to empty them from my dresser drawer. We hurried to replace the original panties with many, many more, tying my intimates to to the peanut roasting factory fence as fast as we could with our cold nervous fingers. Our knots weren’t as tight as those on the original panties, and once they were secured, the ambush panties didn’t retain that classic panty shape like that first pair did.
Despite the personal disappointment and political/creative demoralization this caused me, I praised the boys for a job well done and even waxed over some plans for future panty-tyeing projects that we could collaborate on. Should we raise money for the panties with a Kickstarter, or just ask people to donate their old panties? Is it legal to ask for people’s old panties? Do you think people will be put off by the fact that we can only accept g-strings? I think my old boss might know someone who manufactures g-strings….!
While the boys prepared to stay up all night and finish their school assignment, I ordered a Hawaiian pizza and went to bed.
The next morning all that remained on the fence surrounding the peanut roasting factory was a bunch of frozen knots marking the reasonable width of all of the panties that had been placed there the night before. And of course, amidst the them and marking a near-illegal distance of width, the two pink floral knots from the original spectacle.