I'll start with an embarrassing story that many can laugh at and few witnesses can forget.
So there I was, sitting at the lunch table amidst a few hundred other Eufaula High school students. It was 10th grade. I was sitting with some friends from show choir or some other super cool class, chatting about something like
the newest roller coaster at Six Flags, the new night of TGIF coming up on Friday on ABC, the latest planet to be discovered how I didn’t have a date to homecoming. I flipped my soft cooler lunch box open and continued the discussion.
Before I had a second to blink, my classmate and friend Jeremy pulled something pale and cloth-like out of my lunch bag, twirled the item above his head then threw it in the middle of the atrium. It took me a few seconds to make out what the white, cotton item was. Oh
sh*t (okay, I didn’t curse at that point in my life) SHOOT, it’s a pair of my freaking underwear! And other lunchers were noticing, too. People screamed, jumped out of the way, giggled, pointed and immediately started some really fun rumors about the situation playing out before them.
Seeing in that I was a camper at an all-girls summer camp even at 16 (shout out to Camp Nakanawa!), most of my underwear had a big “K. Beck” written in the back in jumbo black Sharpie. How else was I supposed to keep my lady part coverers separate from the other girls? This was embarrassing — and also meant that I had to go retrieve the panties because it would eventually be clear anyway who they belonged to.
Exhibit A: the star of my first TMI Thursday
Neon bright red in the face and trying to duck under my hands like I was hiding from the paparazzi, I slinked out towards the undergarment.
Did I mention these were granny panty-esque? Oh yeah.
I picked up the
sexy "full coverage" panties that looked like they belonged to my mom and miserably sat down back at the table. I think I was a mixture of bewildered and humiliated, thinking “how the eff did those things get into my lunch bag?” And “how am I ever going to recover from this?” The laughter didn’t die down with my tablemates until the lunch-ending bell rang. HORRIBLE. As if being an awkward 16-year-old isn’t bad enough.
My thoughts flashed back to that morning. I packed my lunch as my mom was doing laundry. Perhaps one of my much younger siblings threw the underthings into my lunch bag, not knowing the consequences. Perhaps it was done on purpose by a sibling closer in age to me. Maybe we’ll never know.
But what I do know is that for months, the halls of EHS were filled with questions:
· Why wasn’t Katy wearing underwear? (I was, btw)
· Was the pair of Fruit of the Looms roaming the cafeteria floor dirty or clean?
· Why did Jeremy Carroll have Katy’s underwear?
· Are Katy and Jeremy “an item?” (followed by oo-lah-lahs)
· Why would a 16-year-old have her name written in her panties?
Having people discuss my possible commando-ness or underwear swappage was mortifying … especially considering the most scandalous thing I’d done with a boy by that point was hold hands.