I’m still here!

Fully two years later, I’m still here — and slightly pained to see how relevant my last post still is. (Really, America? C’mon.) But enough of that. How are you, my lovely 98 followers? How’s life? What’s the last thing you baked? How long has it been since you’ve eaten pie?

If it’s been less than a few hours, it’s OK. This is a safe place. We don’t judge here.

As for me … I’m doing better. I finally admitted to myself that I have depression and anxiety, and got my butt on (four separate) medications. That kicked my brain in the right places and brought on a bunch of good, healthy changes. I found a new job that I really love, and ran a half marathon, and started getting along better with my family, and got a 97% match with a guy on OKCupid who I have now been happily dating for … let’s see … a month and twelve days, officially.

You see the kind of difference these brain pills can make? The commercials aren’t lying. Holy Moses, do I feel better.


Literally my brain at the moment. Meadow, flowered hat, the whole nine yards.

That whole brain chemistry situation is a major reason I stopped blogging, because, uh, I wasn’t cooking. I know. Gasp, faint. I lost my appetite for over a year. It wasn’t pretty. I could be persuaded to eat a turkey sandwich here or there, or a piece of toast and a mandarin orange for dinner, but making mayonnaise or chicken broth or mozzarella cheese from scratch, as I have been wont to do? Fuhgeddaboutit.

So what does a food blogger do when she doesn’t eat?

Drop off the radar for two years, apparently. Sorry about that. A better person would have found a way to blog through it all — “12 Spins on the Classic Turkey Sandwich That Will Blow Your Mind,” or something. But I am not a better person. I’m me. And you lovely 98 people, for some reason, have chosen to stick with me through the silence.

So thank you for that. I have been cooking again, and I will reward your patience by resurrecting this blog at some point. It might take me awhile. It’s not a great time of year for natural lighting or seasonal produce, and truth be told, I’m still testing the limits of my new and improved appetite.

But I have been eating, and I think that’s a great first step. Onward and upward!

If you want a sneak peek into my fridge, here’s what’s been on the menu this week:

Spicy Chicken Sweet Potato Meal Prep Magic Bowls from Pinch of Yum. Does even this recipe look like too much work? Then don’t dice anything — toss the chicken breasts whole with olive oil and storebought Cajun seasoning. Bake the sweet potatoes whole. Get pre-cut broccoli segments from the store. Make it easy for yourself.

Honey Ginger Tofu & Veggie Stir Fry from Pinch of Yum. I used baby carrots cut up into segments, plus a container of snow peas from the produce section. Easy-peasy.

And coming up next week …

Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Soup from (yes) Pinch of Yum. With maybe sliiiiiightly less butter, because I’m a spoilsport like that.

Vegetarian Meatballs with Apricot Barbecue Sauce from an old church cookbook I have. The barbecue sauce is ta die fer, as the Pioneer Woman would say. This is one of my favorite comfort foods. I can’t wait.

Until next time!

~ Sonya Sombra


Image credits: Meadow from jill111 and yaks from Pixel-mixer on Pixabay.


Obligatory Baby Yak of Goodwill. D’awww!


6+ Ways You Can Support Your Local Muslim Community


Some people think a job should be a reliable source of income. Others think their job should continue building their professional skill set.

Fortunately I’m independently wealthy (ha), and I gain my skills by plugging into the Matrix every night. So really, I just go to work to learn more about humanity.

For example, the administration recently sent out a mass email informing us that attendance at this year’s holiday party is mandatory.

Apparently that’s a thing.


I have a sudden urge to wear this shirt to the party.

Perhaps more somberly, I’m now watching the news a lot more, thanks to the TV opposite our front desk that blares CNN every minute of the workday.

And guess who’s been featured heavily on CNN in the past few months?

If you answered “The Dalai Lama” or “Puppies and unicorns”, (a) you’re watching a different CNN, and (b) I want to know how to access it. I was referring to Monsieur Trump.

Oh, Trump. Trumpity Trump Trump.

I’m not going to lie: the desire to crack a joke about his hair is almost overwhelming. But then I remember that part of being a good feminist means not perpetuating the terrible tradition of judging people’s worth by their appearances. So I’ll let John Mulaney say it for me.

Jokes fade, however, in light of this insidious trend of painting the whole of Islam with the same terrorist brush, and vandalizing mosques, and committing violence against Muslims, and generally getting F’s in both Compassion 101 and Elementary Rational Thinking for the semester.

Fear not, though: the semester is now over. A new one is beginning. We can do better.

So looking ahead, what can we non-Muslims do to let our Muslim neighbours know we value their safety and civil rights?


I googled this question a few weeks ago and got basically no pertinent results, so this is our chance to be more current than Google. Oh, yes. Relish this moment, my friends, and if you have more thoughts about how to support one’s local Muslim community, chime in below.

  1. Check in with the Muslim community to see how you can support them.  In the process of writing this entry, I found this marvelous Facebook post from an American Muslim, detailing some things we non-Muslims can do.
  2. Education, education, education. I’m not going to lie: in sixth grade, 9/11 made me terrified of Muslims. Then my dad (a history buff and a pastor) came to my class to give us a quick introduction to Islam, and we were all like, “Oh, okay, we didn’t need to be scared.” So if you don’t know a hijab from a niqab — or if you’re like me and you thought Islam oppressed women until a friend gently corrected you — I recommend taking a few minutes every day to learn something new about the religion that 23% of the world adheres to. Not sure where to start? Reza Aslan is my go-to guy right now, but there’s also no shame in Wikipedia for the big picture. Here’s a fun fact to get you started: Nine majority-Muslim nations have signed the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and seven more have acceded to it (which essentially has the same effect as ratification). Who’s conspicuously absent from the list of supporters? ‘Murica.
  3. In your own circles, be That Guy. I know, I know — someone who habitually delivers warnings about the influx of Sharia law in the U.S. usually doesn’t appreciate being interrupted. But your interruption doesn’t have to be dramatic. Using that education from step #2, you can gently derail them with a pleasant “Actually …” or “I thought the same thing, but as it turns out …”
  4. Reach out to your local mosque. Tell them you’re glad they’re in the neighbourhood. Thank them for the charity work they do. Ask if there’s anything you can do to show your support — maybe their groundskeeping team needs another volunteer, or there’s a community dinner you could attend. If you’re a praying person, let them know you’re praying for their members’ resilience and safety. If you run some sort of local periodical, offer them some PR through an interview or a local interest piece. If they’re planning a fundraiser for a charity project, show up and support them.
  5. Respect their space. When I reached out my local mosque, I had grand dreams about what might happen as a result. They would be overwhelmed by my offer of support, and respond with oodles of gratitude! We could form a local interfaith alliance! I would go down in history as a pioneer in American Christian–Muslim relations! I’d forgotten, of course, that I am just one little fish in the big, big pond of interfaith conversations, and also that this kind of thinking is a form of colonial paternalism. I’d also forgotten that my local Muslim community is composed of human beings. With, you know, rights and stuff. Including the right to be left alone and decide their own PR strategy.
  6. Remember you have a vote. As this conversation on Islam in America continues to unfold, keep a close eye on who’s saying what, and let it inform your voting in the future. If you think your current representatives aren’t responding well, let them know you’re disappointed. (Not sure who to contact? This website will tell you.)

Any other ideas out there? If you’re a Muslim in a largely non-Muslim area, what kinds of support would you like to see?

[Bonus resource: WISE’s “100 Extraordinary Muslim Women, Past and Present” project. So cool!]



Image credits: screen detail from charlemagne, Weird Al shirt from JSRDirect, Istanbul mosque from falco, and Medina mosque from omeng on Pixabay.  

No Carb Left Behind: The Finale

After a month of complications, it’s official: I’m currently at the airport, heading out of town tonight, bound for the land of humidity and alligator jerky.

What has the past month entailed, beyond the unconscionable shirking of my D.A. Days duties? Well …


There were yet more heartfelt goodbyes to my favourite place on campus.


I saw this sign and toyed with the idea of buying this coffee shop and renaming it either Schrödinger’s or Heisenberg’s. I’m still uncertain.


I saw this delightful sign at the Seattle Pride Parade, which tickled me to no end. (If you can’t read it, it says “Mawage is what bwings us togeva today.”)

Speaking of which, if you’ll grant me a soapbox for a moment … I wrote about one benefit of pride parades last year, but I thought of another this year when I saw several local teen shelters and resource centers in the parade, many of which had a delegation of their teen patrons and volunteers. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be an LGBTQQIA teen, facing intense harassment and discrimination on a regular basis. Pride parades are one way we get to say to those kids, “We love you, and we’ve got your backs.” Because as the ever-inspiring Hannah Schaefer pointed out, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what our opinions on sexuality are — these people are still coming out, and they’re still facing higher risks of violence and suicide and homelessness. If we prioritize our opinions over their lives, that paints us in a pretty ugly light.


Yesterday’s news was that I moved out of my apartment and had to say goodbye to this guy. It was heartfelt. There were tears.

Granted, he was sacked out on a chair at the time, taking his 18th nap of the day. But I just know he’ll miss having someone to tickle his feet and call him The Dude.

The tabby in the picture, a.k.a. Bandersnatch Cutiebutt, couldn’t have cared less. As far as he’s concerned, my exodus means one less biped hogging the couch.


After relocating to my friends’ house for the night, I spent today with these two entities. Meet Delia and Delbert, our contestants on this week’s episode of The Biggest Loser. They had eight hours to lose 9 pounds each … and what do you know, they did it, folks! Let’s hear it for Delta Airlines’ accurate scales!

And finally …


… I saved the best for last in our No Carb Left Behind series: Kaffeeklatsch, in Lake City. I cannot recommend this place more highly. I lived within walking distance of it for two years, and I credit it with maintaining my wellbeing throughout grad school. It’s right under my friends, my family, and my counselor, and right above naps. They have amazingly moist cinnamon rolls, and super flavorful bread (try the Rustic White), and a modest yet sufficient tea selection.

And on Wednesdays they have chili. You guys. The chili. OMG. I never thought I was a beef person, but this chili has won me over, heart and soul. I’ll share my wannabe vegetarian recipe sometime. In the meantime, get yourself over to Kaffeeklatsch and try it yourself. Hitchhike if you have to. Hang-glide. Parasail. Steal Borrow your neighbour’s daughter’s horse. Camp out for 36 hours like you’re waiting to get into Hall H. Do what you have to do. Just be there on a Wednesday.

I’m now having trouble remembering why I’m moving away from this place. What’s that? Full-time employment, you say? Very well, I’ll board this plane. But don’t stop being awesome, Seattle — you can bet your buttons I’ll be back.

Southward ho!

~ S.

No Carb Left Behind, episode 2: U-District


For the next installment of my food-centered farewell tour of Seattle, we travel north to the University District, home of the excellent Magus Books, a much-touted annual streetfair, and the unparalleled University of Washingon.


Oh yeah, that’s my alma mater.


Heck yes. Go Huskies.

hp rm

This place does have a formal name, but everyone just calls it the Harry Potter room. Early in the morning, before the tour groups start coming through, there’s no better place for a solo cup of tea and meditation on your philosopher of choice.

Anyhow, as you can see in the first picture, I chose Guanaco’s Tacos for a plate of rice, black beans, pickled slaw, and two zucchini–spinach–cheese pupusas (which, if you’re new to them, are a bit like stuffed pancakes made with corn flour). It was a fantastic meal, especially for the price, but really at the limits of my stomach capacity. Next time I think I might skip the plate and order one pupusa, a side of rice, and a side of beans.

ice cream iii

Just down the hill, at the University Village, there’s a branch of the inimitable Molly Moon’s. It’s a bit on the pricier side, which is why I hadn’t been there since last June, but worth the money for a special occasion. I love their Honey Lavender and Maple Walnut flavours, so this time, I took a chance on another of their year-round flavours, Salted Caramel. It was a bit salty on its own for me, but I can see it really shining alongside a scoop of Melted Chocolate.

I once looked at an apartment quite close to the University Village. I rejected it partly because I would have wound up being far too familiar with Balsamic Strawberry and Vanilla Bean, the scent of homemade waffle cones drawing me on like a siren song.


“Scout mint … Scout miiiiint …”

These are by no means the only, or even the all-out best, places to eat in the U-District — I also love Shalimar for slightly formal (but still affordable) Indian food; Molly’s Café has some of the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had; and the District Market‘s excellent ready-made soups and sandwiches will always have a special place in my heart for welcoming me back to Seattle after a long early-morning flight from Alabama.

In short, it’s hard to go wrong with the U-District, food-wise. Whether you’re looking for a meal on the go or need a good place for a date, the U-District has your back.

If you live in Seattle, what’s your favourite food place in the U-District? Alternatively, what was your go-to food place in college?


Image credit: Siren from Azumi79 on Pixabay.

No Carb Left Behind: episode 1


First off, I should admit that I did not come up with this tour name myself; it’s what Liz’s friend calls her Italy trip in Eat Pray Love. Unlike her, I do not have ready access to fried squash blossoms and homemade tiramisu and roasted endive and penne ai quattro formaggi and pizza that incurs an existential crisis.

Perhaps it’s just as well.

However, we do have some pretty awesome street food, delis, and bakeries here in Seattle, and it’s my sad duty to revisit my favourites in the process of moving away. It’s not as impressive as Cher’s farewell tour, I know. But at least I’m only planning one.

My first stop was Michou Deli, in the Pike Place Market. It has a wide range of sandwiches and salads, with a respectable collection of pastas, soups, and pastries as well. My favourite sandwich, the one you see above, is the Tuscan chicken, with chicken, tomato, artichokes, greens, mozzarella, and pesto. This time I got a side of kale–wild rice salad to go with it. Such a good lunch — and super affordable, too; my sandwich–salad combo was under $7.


And while I was at Pike Place, of course, I had to stop at Three Girls Bakery (no official website, but here’s their Yelp listing) to pick up a pastry. I decided on a poppyseed rugelach in the end, but they also have fantastic palmiers, croissants, brownies, and cookies. They’re reasonably priced, too (I paid $2 for this rugelach, and the guy threw in a broken one for free), so if you decide that the line at Piroshky Piroshky is too long, just walk a block further and get your pastry fix at Three Girls.

Also, a word about visiting Pike Place Market: I highly recommend going there early. Le Panier opens at 6:30 a.m. and Lowell’s at 7 a.m., so by the time you finish breakfast, many of the produce, flower, and seafood vendors will have set up their wares, and you’ll be able to stroll the market without the crowds. It’s a much more relaxed, personal, and efficient way to experience the market. (If you’re there for the crafts vendors, you’ll probably have to wait until 10 a.m. But that’s all the more time to mooch around the nearby coffee shops, right?)

Stay tuned for the next installment … but in the meantime, I want to know: What’s the best sandwich in your hometown?

Your unasked questions answered

First of all, my sincerest apologies to all the commenters, gossip columnists, and TV crews who have been wondering where I was for the past four months. Sorry for the panic — I know, it was like the Marie Celeste all over again, but with more conspiracy theories. It’s okay. I’m back now.

(And by “panicked fanbase”, I mean the one friend to whom I casually mentioned my absence, to which she replied, “Oh yeah, you have a blog.”)

In a nutshell: I’ve been finishing my master’s degree.

There's been serious talk of wearing wizards' caps to graduation. I'll keep you posted.

There’s been serious talk of wearing wizards’ caps to graduation. I’ll keep you posted.

“What’s your degree in?”

There’s more than one reason why I haven’t said before. First, there’s the whole stranger-danger thing. I sometimes play a game (benevolently, I swear) where I read strangers’ blogs and see how quickly I can identify what city they live in. Sometimes they’re super open about it. Sometimes they’re successfully secretive. Most often, they don’t want to say outright, but it’s super easy to find out based on the businesses and events they mention. Because I’m in a field that doesn’t have many masters’ programs in the U.S., mentioning my discipline in conjunction with the other events I’ve described would have been about as smart as posting a daily selfie with the Eiffel Tower and expecting my location to remain anonymous.

“Loving my new place in London! #privacyplease”

The other reason is that my field has a certain amount of stigma. About fifty percent of the time, when I tell people what I’m studying, they scrunch up their noses and say, “You have to have a degree to do that?” (I like to respond with a breezy “No, I just had a spare $45,000 lying around, and Joss said it wasn’t enough to reboot Firefly.”) Another thirty percent of the time, they’ll say, “Really? Where are you going to find a job in that?”, as though they expect me to have a road-to-Damascus moment and switch to, say, bioengineering on the spot.

But neither of these reasons are particularly valid anymore, because (a) I’m moving soon because (b) I just got a full-time job in my field. It can be done, friends.

So to answer your question: I’m a librarian.

It was surprisingly difficult to find a free stock photo of a stereotypical librarian. This fills me with hope.

It was surprisingly difficult to find a free stock photo of a stereotypical librarian. This fills me with hope.

“So, what’s new in your life?”

Well, I just got a full-time job in my field. Did I mention that? Please don’t hate me. It does mean I have to get to move to the Deep South in the depths of summer. So I guess I’m an adult now? Is this what adults do? Does it mean I have to stop sleeping with a nightlight?


This is definitely not my nightlight. That mouse is far too scary.

In other news, getting a job before graduation means that all motivation evaporates. Right now I’m in the throes of writing MY LAST PAPER EVER (please don’t hate me) and it is not going well. For comparison, I have also written papers on canine imagery in Renaissance drama, the Protestant poetic of George Herbert, and medieval numerology, all of which were riveting season finales compared to this last barrier between me and gainful employment.

Also, I’ve been trying to purchase ebooks for the small library I manage, which is obnoxiously difficult and expensive, and catalog other ebooks with open-source software that was apparently coded in an era when ebooks were naught but a twinkle in Vannevar Bush’s eye. So the next time I hear someone say, “I don’t know why my library doesn’t have more ebooks; they’re just so much easier to buy and use,” I am going to stalk them until they start making risotto, and then I am going to cry into it, and it will be too salty and their dinner party will be ruined. Ha.

bad guy

“Speaking of cooking, can you make a roux with EVOO instead of butter?”

As I discovered yesterday while making the Pioneer Woman’s cauliflower soup, yes, you can, but it will have a pale green tinge that is not for the faint of heart. Also, you will need a heck of a lot of salt.

“What’s up next for IWtSLtY?”

I have every intention of returning to a regular posting schedule, but let’s be honest, I also have every intention of someday learning how to manage my hair, and that’s not working out so well.

However! I’m currently mapping out a No Carb Left Behind farewell tour of my home city, which I can bring you along on, now that it doesn’t matter if you know where I live. So stay tuned for that.

Finally, looking farther ahead: What are your thoughts on D.A. Days, our celebration of all things Potteresque? Is it worth a repeat? Would you like to see another fandom highlighted this year?

Until (an ideally very soon) next time,

~ Sonya


[traditional Yak of Goodwill]


Image credits: Great Hall gif from Warner Brothers via Tumblr, I claim no ownership of it whatsoever, please don’t shut down my blog; door by stux on Pixabay; librarian via Bill Branson on Wikimedia Commons; nightlight from twaita2012 on Pixabay; TH gif from MTV via rebloggy, again, no rights owned here, please don’t sue; yak from Simon on Pixabay.

Why grammar matters.

I just saw this on my Facebook feed and had to share it with my fellow grammar nuts.


When I first read it, I thought the verb “stopping” applied to all the items in the series. Hence:

Trey Gowdy is for 

  1. stopping corruption
  2. stopping cronyism
  3. stopping lying to America
  4. stopping restoring the USA back to a country with integrity

Wait, what?

I must have read that wrong. I guess “stopping” only applies to the first item in the series. So Trey Gowdy is for

  1. stopping corruption
  2. cronyism
  3. lying to America
  4. restoring the USA back to a country with integrity

That’s even worse. I’m so confused. Help me, Rhonda.


KUOW: “‘Is There a Problem?’ That Scary Brown Man and White Privilege”


Awhile back, I published a response to the #YesAllWomen movement. I just went back and re-read it, and this line jumped out at me:

So what can men do? […] They can interact with women more mindfully, especially in risky situations like at night and in enclosed spaces. […] I’ve heard from other men who used to feel a little hurt when they saw solo women eyeing them suspiciously or crossing the street to avoid them. Now that they’ve caught a glimpse of the degree of caution we’ve been raised to cultivate, they’re more understanding of these actions.

Then I found this article on KUOW: “‘Is There a Problem?’ That Scary Brown Man and White Privilege.” While I’m still all for men interacting mindfully with women, Gyasi Ross’s story is a gutwrenching example of how often authority figures assume that in any tense situation, it’s the man of color who’s at fault: “A huge Native guy in camouflage was arguing with a clean-cut white couple (and a white captain). Three guesses who started that one. That’s privilege.”

In case you don’t have time to read the article, the confrontation was started by the white woman — the type of move that Jessica Valenti addressed in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal: “Yes, all white women — all of us — are taught to fear men of color. We need to own that truth, own that shameful fear. Most importantly, we need to name it for what it is: deeply held and constantly enforced racism.”

I hadn’t really considered either Ross’s or Valenti’s points when I wrote my response, but they’re right — race plays a part in my snap judgments about who I consider “safe” to walk past on a dark street. It isn’t my only consideration, but it is a consideration. And as Gyasi Ross points out, that’s a problem, not least because skinny unarmed girls aren’t the only ones using race as a metric for threat assessment.

By his own admission, Ross got off easy. But what about the people who haven’t? Later in my article, I said this (emphasis added):

Men, again, we love you. We’re not asking you to wear only pastels, or walk around with your hands up, or get a women’s studies degree.

That was published on May 29, 2014. Michael Brown was still alive at that point. So were Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner, and Rumain Brisbon, and Akai Gurley, and Kajieme Powell, and Ezell Ford, and Dante Parker, and John Crawford III. Within seven months, all of them would be victims of tragic snap judgments.

Early in his story, Ross said: “I knew the drill — I’ve been trained since I was a kid: ‘You’re a big brown guy — don’t be too scary. Don’t be too big. Don’t be too brown.’ We’re taught these things for our own safety and to get along.”

At this point I wanted to jump on a bus and find him and give him a big hug. Because as I discussed in my post, we women know the drill. We’ve been trained since we were kids: “Don’t show too much skin. Don’t walk provocatively. Don’t travel alone.” Women of color have additional “rules” they’ve been taught. Transgender people have others. Like Ross, we’ve been taught these things for our own safety, and no matter how effective they are at keeping us safe, it still stings that we have to compensate for other people’s assumptions and prejudices.

(And speaking as a straight cis white middle-class able-bodied young person, my knowledge of prejudice is limited to what I experience as quite a sheltered female — in short, not much.)


My knowledge of oppression: an analogy.

So for my original question (“What can men do?”), my answer hasn’t changed. But to pose a new question to this matter of race and class and tragic snap judgments, “What can we all do?”

I’m still trying to find the answer, myself. But for starters, I recommend Franchesca Ramsey’s video “5 Tips for Being an Ally.”

If you could forget about one of the “rules” you’ve been given for your demographic, what would it be?

What are your must-read/must-watch resources for people who want to be better allies?


Image credit: Shadow from PublicDomainPictures, flea from WikiImages on Pixabay.

The New Statesman: “If you believe trans lives matter, don’t share Leelah Alcorn’s suicide note on social media.”


By now we’ve all heard about Leelah Alcorn, the transgender teen whose suicide note on Tumblr went viral. Tragically, the story of an LGBTQQIAA teen’s suicide is not an uncommon sight in the media … but are those stories being handled in the best possible way? Sarah Ditum tackles this issue with sensitivity and grace at The New Statesman. If you have a couple of minutes, I highly recommend it — and if you have a few minutes beyond that, check out Samaritans’ suggestions and WHO’s guidelines for covering and sharing these stories.

In a perfect world, of course, we wouldn’t have any suicides to report. But since we do, shouldn’t we try to do it responsibly?


Photo credit: By torbakhopper [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.

If Carhartt sold lingerie


Over Christmas, I stayed at my parents’ house for a few days with my sister and her fiancé. Since I hadn’t seen my sister in a year, it was great to catch up with her and have some good sisterly bonding time.

Historically, there haven’t been a lot of topics we can bond over. She takes pains over her appearance; I prefer a style I call Shabby Cheap. She’ll wake up on a Friday, remember she has a marathon that Sunday, and nail it, powered by kale and quinoa; I’d rather puff and pant through three miles and then reward myself with a cinnamon roll.


It’s a beautiful moment, when I see that cinnamon roll. I hear angels singing the Chariots of Fire theme.


But lately, we’ve been finding more things we have in common. For example, buying lingerie. Not for ourselves. Oh gosh. No. Worse: for other people. People we know.

Our friends keep getting married, see, and among the many other arcane rituals of matrimony, there is the traditional Giving of Fancy Underwear. As my sister was in charge of planning a lingerie party over Christmas break, and I was in the throes of selecting some lingerie for another friend, there was a certain amount of underwear-themed hysteria in the house (much to the men’s chagrin).

Because here’s the catch with lingerie shopping: With every other gift you buy in your lifetime, you’re supposed to take great pains with selecting it. You’re meant to wander the aisles at length, considering each option carefully and trying to guess whether the recipient would like it.

But with lingerie, that is patently not the case. Call me a prude, but I don’t particularly enjoy dwelling at length on my friends’ underwear preferences. So do I just go for a style I’d like to wear? What if that’s too racy or too conservative? Which side is better to err on?



One of these days I’m going to show up with a pile of bedsheets and be like, “What? ‘Lingerie’ is French for ‘linen’.”


Fortunately, my father was able to keep a sense of humour throughout this process. Some of his remarks made me realize how unbalanced the lingerie market is. Why do Victoria’s Secret and Frederick’s of Hollywood get all the fun? Carhartt should get in on this — there’s a real niche for fireproof lingerie, I’m sure. And what about Nike? No-nonsense, no frills, aerodynamic. You could pick up some Hollister selections if you didn’t mind not seeing what you were buying before you took it home, or a 48-pack of thongs from Costco if you were feeling cost-efficient. And really, what woman wouldn’t line up for four hours to get their hands on the sleek silhouette of an Apple babydoll?

I just picked up my selection today, from Target. I was squirming a bit at first, but then I told myself, “This friendship is worth the awkwardness, so woman up and get in there,” and then there turned out to be a sale, which I always enjoy. By the time I was finished, I was able to walk right up to the male cashier and put the heap of lacy underwear on the counter without a qualm.

That’s the power of lingerie, I’m thinking: confidence, poise, the realization that you’re stronger than you think and bigger than your circumstances. Maybe there’s a little of the Carhartt spirit there after all.


Photo credits: Coats by jarmoluk, runner by skeeze, linen by stevepb on Pixabay.