This morning I found parity while looking, scrambling really, for socks and I found Drunk Hercules instead. Herc is a key chain fob that broke years ago, a tiny reproduction of a statue of Hercules, loaded to incoherence and leaning back with his johnson in his hand to have a slash. At some point years ago Herc shifted his drunkenness out of my handbag into my top drawer where the undies and socks reside, to live near the frills of my last vestiges of youthful lingerie. I discovered him after pulling out seven socks with no mates and digging deep into the unknown wastes of underwear I haven’t seen for years, where he was wrapped up in a garter belt. And looking at both Herc, of whom I’m so fond, and the utterly impractical garter belt, I realized that Herc would live on down there in my drawer but the garter belt had reached its expiration date.

Over the years I’ve peeled away the sexy detritus of youth as I settle deeper and deeper into being a fabulously premature retiree. My world reaches as far as the chicken coop and my son’s school and I have little need of a garter belt in either of those places. I never did, really, since I always found the conceit of garter belts a little too Frederick’s of Hollywood. But when I was younger, I wore them under army fatigues and utility boots, so they became a different sort of message. I’m not sure what the message was, even after all these years.

But the inaugural blow against sexy underthings was becoming happily married. That happened almost 15 years ago for me, and sexy undies have been in slow decline ever since. The first items on the block were the really ridiculous ones, lingerie I don’t think I ever actually wore: slips that I bought from consignment stores, sets that were cute only on mannequins and Kate Moss, absurd gifts from people that knew in some corner of their mind that I would never, ever be caught dead in anything that looked as silly as a mesh bodysuit.

The next to go were the regular work-a-day bras. Once I got pregnant, my tiny demure chest became vava-voom-tastic, and I needed some weird architectural wonders which were followed by the least sexy of all lingerie: the nursing bra. By the time I caught my reflection in a mirror after a year of wearing that most utilitarian of lingerie, I resolved not to wear them at all. Once my chest deflated I bought tank tops and camisoles, freeing myself from hooks and straps forever.

I used to keep one nice pair of undies and one nice bra for special events, the ones where I was required to look less like a scrappy boy and more like an adult female. That happens less and less, which is my choice really, but it’s a little sad to realize that if I was expected to show up at the Grammy’s I would be hard-pressed to find proper underwear for whatever outfit I decided on. More alarming, I would be more inclined toward Spanx (girdles, for those baffled by modern parlance) than some slightly sassy lingerie set.

I visited thongs (a.k.a. Butt Floss) only briefly in my twenties; they had been replaced by bikinis almost immediately. And then came the marketing coup called “boy-shorts” and I thought I had won the lingerie lottery. My undies have been reverting to an almost completely androgynous identity over the years, unnoticed by me until finding Hercules wrapped in my 40-year-old garter belt (it belonged to my mother before it belonged to me, passed hand to hand through the generations, a provocative idealistic hope unrealized through four decades).

So I can’t decide. What to do with the garter belt? Leave it as a symbol of the past, a saucy, ridiculous paean to youth? Abandon Herc to my sexless socks and boy shorts? I mean, he’s pretty loaded; I’m sure he’s got the beer goggles of millennia going for him. Maybe he wouldn’t notice that he was down there with completely sexless underthings. But he’s a Roman, after all, and Romans were a randy bunch, always looking for a good time in any way possible. Maybe it would be an insult to strip his home of all sexual frivolity despite the fact it will never be used again in my life.

Maybe when I die, hopefully at some ridiculously ripe old age, both Hercules and that garter belt will live on in my drawer, a little testament to fun and friskiness. My son, then grown with a family of his own, will find them there while breaking up housekeeping, and face a little mystery about the person he knew as “Mom.”

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QUENBY MOONE used to be a graphic designer who wrote once in a while. After her father came down with a touch of Stage IV prostate cancer, she became a writer who did graphic design once in a while.

She's written a book called Living in Twilight (no relation to vampires - unless dying of cancer is a part of Edward's story) in which her design skills came in handy, and includes some of her stories featured on The Nervous Breakdown.

58 responses to “The Small Naked Drunk Man in the Bottom of My Drawer”

  1. Matt says:

    I say: keep it! Garter belts are sexy as hell. And who knows, once your son is a little older and you and your husband get some more alone time….you just might have need for it once again.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Hahaha! I don’t think so. The garter belt may remain alluring, but my butt won’t. At a certain point sexy undies becomes a case of diminishing returns. Or expanding returns. Whatever.

      Either way, my garter belt will just have to live it up with a profoundly loaded Roman. It could certainly be worse!

  2. Ducky Wilson says:

    Go commando. Ditch it all and liberate yourself.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Wow. I hadn’t even considered that as an option! Of course, both my husband and I met without undies on, so we would be turning back time and recapturing the magic. Except I don’t look nearly as cute without undies on anymore.

  3. Ben Loory says:

    personally, i’ve been pondering a switch to the dennis-the-menace underwear-pantsuit-with-the-buttflap-trapdoor thing…

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Perfect for both day wear and evening wear! Dress it down or up, add a bow tie, a cowlick, and a sling shot and you’ve got the perfect outfit.

      You’ll never want for dates, that’s for sure!

  4. Anon says:

    My vote is for keeping it, if for no reason other than to give your kids a complete “EEEEEWWWWW!!!” moment when they reach the Age of Nosiness and can’t resist the lure of whatever mysteries may lie in Mommy’s dresser. Like a buckled, elastic Cerberus guarding your undergarments. Same reason I have that last strip of condoms in mine, even though I’ve gotten a vasectomy.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      I have been banking on that moment for years. I’m intrigued at the possibilities for a wide array of emotions to pass over his face: curiosity, confusion, shock, horror, all in quick succession. That’s one to install the secret camera for.

  5. Irene Zion says:

    Okay, Quenby,

    I know perfectly well what a “johnson” is but I have no idea what a “slash” is. Is there some way of letting me know that without breaking some kind of rule?

    Do NOT throw that stuff away. It is hardly taking up any room and seriously, one day, Anon is right, that “EEEEEWWWWW!!!” moment for your son will be so incredibly satisfying. You don’t understand that now, cause he’s all adorable and little, but, trust me on this. I’m hiding all sorts of horribly embarrassing things around my house for my kids to come across when I die. I’m in the market for stuff like that. I don’t even have to know what it is. Just that it will embarrass them.

    • Anon says:

      I’m picturing the scene: “Mommy, why doesn’t this bumpy flashlight have a bulb…?” 😀

      • Quenby Moone says:

        D00d. You have no idea. I can’t wait for that particular horror/humor. That will be all about the psychotherapy for years–for both of us!

        Or maybe one really long essay on TNB.

        • Anon says:

          I had a sneak preview last week when our four-year-old asked if there was a hockey game on (my wife’s a fan and is getting her hooked as well) after she went to bed the night before because she “woke up and heard Mommy yelling, ‘Yes! Again!’ from downstairs and thought we were scoring alot.”

          Um. No game, sweetie, but we kinda were. I’ll wait until she’s about to go out on her first real date to bring it up and explain. In graphic detail. “Have fun, now, kids!”

      • Irene Zion says:

        No, no no, Anon,

        It’s not for now. When they’re little you can make up any shit, just pull it right out of the air, and they’ll believe you. You don’t want them to get upset when they’re little. You’d need to move the stuff somewhere he can’t find it while he’s little.
        It’s for when they are all grown up and you are an old fart who just died and they have to go through your stuff. That way you can get a good laugh in absentia.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Slash=whiz=leak. British slang. I aspire to Brittania, though I’m from Colorado. Plus, it makes me sound mysterious, right?



      Anyway, I can’t wait to stress our son out with our slightly off-putting detritus. I know my father has been saving up special for my brother and I; it’s the least I could do to pass on the tradition!

      And let me say that I cherish your comments. They are the quirkiest, sweetest, funniest comments, and I love them dearly. I consider you a special weird webby soul-sister.

      • As a genuine British person I can confirm that ‘to take/go for/have a slash’ means ‘to urinate.’

        That is why Slash’s name is quite amusing.

        Especially given the fact that he’s British…

        • Quenby Moone says:

          I’m so glad I didn’t bone that one! What if I had said that “slash” meant “weak-kneed” or “slightly off-putting?”

          If I could alter my geography and become English I would, if only because you guys have the best fucking slang ever. Seriously, does it come from a long history? Do we have to wait 2000 years to have excellent slang? I don’t care about much, but I care vividly about the ability to curse in exceptionally florid ways. I do my best, but I do not have the arsenal at my disposal.

          Slash has risen a bit in my estimation of him, I have to say!

        • Pretty much all of our slang has evolved through a long history and the fact that we did invent the English language…

        • Who’s this “We”, James? Oh yeah, us innit. I just got a new Flickr contact who liked my observation that “Some tosser had just had a jimmy in the lift.”

          I like to play up my Englishness online and I pilfer slang from all over. Wodehouse, Irvine Welsh, Viz Profanisaurus…

        • I much more English online than in ‘real life.’

          ‘Tosser’ is a good word.

        • Quenby Moone says:

          Tosser is an excellent word! I can’t quite get it to roll with proper lilt, but I embrace the notion of tosser even if I don’t have the right gravitas for it.

          I’ll give you the whole “invented the English language” point, but only on a technicality. I like to think the English ability to curse like sailors is something more…bizarre. Like still having a queen or something. Or maybe France.

      • Irene Zion says:


        Who told you about my webbed fingers and toes? That was a total secret and not for public consumption. Well, if it were Lenore, she’s inherited them too. (HA! Lenore! You thought you could slip under the wire here, didn’t you?)

  6. Mary says:

    Quenby, you are rapidly becoming one of my favorite people to read online. Have I said that already? Anyway, this one cracks me up. What is UP with the stuff people give you when you first get married? For my bachelorette party, my girlfriends seriously went out and bought the most outrageous lingerie they could find. Of course, it was tons of fun to open while seated around a table at a restaurant. Lots of squealing involved there… Keep the crazy old lingerie. You just never know when you’ll want to audition for a burlesque show.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Crap! That is the nicest compliment ever! Thank you so much!

      I never know if what I think is funny is funny, you know? So that you think this is funny makes me feel funny inside. Which is funny ha-ha, not funny smell.

      Well. That was awkward.

      Thank you so much. It’s very appreciated! Now I’m going to blush over here where no one can see me!

  7. Another great post! You’re becoming one of my favourite writers.

    I must that I’m glad the demand never came along (yet, during my life) for sexy underwear for men. I don’t think I could handle that. I wore briefs as a kid, boxers as an adult, and I’ll probably just go pantsless altogether as an old man.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      If you guys had to perform in scanty panties, they would be banned within six months. There would be an international movement of men’s coalition building, all centered around getting the lacy underthings out of their lives.

      I’m intrigued by the pantless concept. Is that with or without anything else on?

      • Men aren’t really very good at rallying together and achieving stuff like that. We’d more likely just form dozens of different factions, fighting and arguing over WHY we don’t want to wear these things…

        And I meant just naked from that waist down.

  8. Your use of “slash” is impeccable. I believe American Apparel’s colourful y-fronts are popular with women: http://store.americanapparel.net/4415.html?cid=176 (That is, worn by women)

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Pantytime. That’s what it says. I can’t believe I just read the words “panty time” at eight a.m.

      What I like about American Apparel is they make all their models, regardless of gender, seem like pieces of meat. It’s very egalitarian.

      And I’m glad I didn’t screw up the “slash.” I’ll reach a little further next time I have a stint of Anglophilia, though I’ll have to ask my British fact-checkers to correct usage problems before I post here, clearly!

  9. QM – I must concur with your colleagues – with you around I cannot ever leave TNB in the dust
    like I’m always threatening to totally killer greg (no offense TNB – I have alot of homework I am not doing).

    I say keep you garter and your Herc. If not just as a reminder of how we got from point A to point B, right? Like we can’t have, say, Lady Gaga without Madonna – it’s like a history lesson.
    I have all sorts of stuff like that still waiting for me – but my maternity underwear (the kind that can reach to your neck) still unfortunately make the rounds (hey they’re functional on certain days).
    But, I feel bad for Greg when he’s folding the laundry and he runs across one of those. Sometimes, I throw one of my old dainty sexy ones in the laundry just so he thinks that I do actually wear it sometimes.

    • Greg Olear says:

      And here I thought the sexy dainty ones were mine…

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Stephanie, thanks, but the homework must be done! You must ignore Herc and my garter belt and save them for dessert! Herc would appreciate being the icing, anyway.

      Herc will always drift in and out of my life–the garter belt has been immortalized in an essay, so I expect it has survived this round to see another day. And I’m glad that you dress up your laundry in sexy underthings. Undies need a little fresh air once in a while, so it’s kindly of you!

  10. Greg Olear says:

    Fantastic post, QB. Funny funny funny.

    I agree — leave Herc his garter belt. It’s always amusing when stuff falls together randomly in drawers. The condom next to the pacifier in my nightstand drawer (beneath the tarot deck and the CD of Jonathan Colton my friend gave me two years ago that I have yet to listen to) could almost be a poster for sex ed.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Seriously, if we all documented the contents of the “top drawer,” we could provide sociologists work for years. Also, mentally scouring would become necessity. But the emotional fodder would provide TNB with essays for years!

  11. Richard Cox says:

    This is brutally honest. And great piece of writing. I particularly enjoyed “…to live near the frills of my last vestiges of youthful lingerie.”

    • Quenby Moone says:

      I, um, well.

      This is awkward.

      I think perhaps the greatest compliment is the one “brutally honest.” One aspires to brutal honesty in writing, but it often doesn’t ring that way even if it’s trying really hard. So if you call it brutally honest, I’ll take it with no small amount of blushing pride.

      Thanks! My underwear thanks you too.

      Not that way, silly.

  12. Simon Smithson says:

    Speaking of Englishisms: I don’t know what it is, but the word ‘knickers’ just puts my back up. It’s like hearing fingers down a blackboard for me; I’m fine with terms such as lingerie, underwear, panties, whatever – I don’t know what the whole ‘knickers’ thing is about. Maybe I’ll have to seek therapy for it someday, I’m not sure.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Knickers. I don’t know about this one. I’m pretty sure it recalls bloomers and lots of scalloping lace to me. I definitely don’t need to think about that. I’m trying to rid myself of lace not get more, even in my head where it still itches, just like a phantom limb.

      Therapy is good for many things–even underwear concerns. Apparently I should seek it out myself, what with the phantom lace panties making me itch.

  13. Lenore says:

    i wish there was a word for underwear that wasn’t panties or knickers or undergarments. none of those words are good. and also, underwear/panties are hot when the person wearing them is hot. that’s the only way it works.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      I think “undies” is about it for me. Underoos, if feeling jaunty. Panties is just downright creepy, I don’t know why.

      But hotness often indicates that the underoos will be coming off, not staying on. So what’s the point? I say embrace the nekkid. Or maybe I’m fostering discontent among Victoria’s Secret lovers.

      • Zara Potts says:

        Panties is the worst word in the world! So pervy. So glad you used undies. I use knickers.
        I really enjoyed this post so much, Quenby.

  14. Don Mitchell says:

    You have to keep that garter belt so you can show it to your kids later. Depending on how old they are, you can have fun explaining how they are at once utilitarian and sexy and weird, depending on why it’s worn, and when (in history).

    I mean, I’m old enough to remember how it was routine for girls to wear garter belts whenever they had to wear hose. It was what they did. I remember a girlfriend saying, “Here, look at these. They are called pantyhose, and they’re the latest thing. No more garter belt.”

    So keep it.

    I’m not a collector of underwear, but if I had, say, a fifties pointy bra around the house I’d be pleased, and for the same reason — the clash between normal style, and what that normal style turns into later. I can imagine a kid saying, “Oh, a Madonna bra.” Nope. Older than that, and your grandmother wore one like it.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      I like the perspective: sociology and history rolled together with sauciness. Had my own history teacher held such a view, history would have been a more thoroughly explored subject. Ah, that I waited so long to discover just how saucy and rambunctious history REALLY is!

      Or horrific. It’s got that too.

      But anyway. I’ll keep the garter belt–it already has an interesting provenance due to it being an original FROM MY MOM, which is weird in itself. I believe at one time she gave me all the stockings that went with them, but my punk rock days made short work of them. Too bad, they were masterpieces of bizarre Sixties pop designs.

  15. Erika Rae says:

    I love this, Quenby! I have crazy things in my drawers, too. I’ve always shuddered to imagine somebody rifling through them and finding them – but now I say, bring it! My grown-up kids are going to be SO revolted. Ha!

    • Quenby Moone says:

      It’s like your stockpiling adventure for them! Saving up for future mind-elasticity! I say, leave the weird…it’s like a savings account for their own nutty essays in the future!

  16. D.R. Haney says:

    You’ll always be bad-ass, QB, regardless of your choice in undergarments. I’m sure Herc thinks the same, and so does, and will, your son.

  17. Quenby Moone says:

    Was that “have a bad-ass?” Because as I’ve mentioned, garter belts are certainly alluring, but asses…at some point not so much!

    Thank you, though. Herc thanks you too. Don’t mind the little spot of pee on your shoe, he can’t aim very well.

  18. Joe Daly says:

    Fantastic! My vote is to keep the hope alive and hang onto those as long as you can.

    Thanks for the morning chuckle!

  19. Cradle Herc in the delicate vestiges of the forty year old garter belt and place him back in the drawer. He deserves it.

    • Quenby Moone says:

      Herc is happy there, though cross-eyed with hooch. They take up little real estate, and provide endless entertainment for me…and, curiously, now others!

  20. Judy Prince says:

    Finally got time to read this, Quenby—-a *TOTAL HOOTFUL* from top to um bottom!

    Glad to know you’re resisting the pull (so to speak) of James and Steve’s “knickers”. Your coinage, “underoos”, feels right and for the right reason.

    Then there’s that Man Who Can’t Pronounce His Name, o Lear: “the condom next to the pacifier”–MEEP whooey!

    Last, and pleading: Oh David do not go pantsless. But, then, it really depends……

  21. […] Despite her ultimate privacy settings, we know the contents of her underwear drawer. […]

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