You have no items in your cart. Want to get some nice things?Go shopping
The one time a man asks for her knickers, he says panties. This is no American either. This is a man from Sunderland who, when he speaks, puts an e where the u is in curry. Not just any knickers, either, but he specifically wants them well-worn and it is crucial they are silvered with fluid. He doesn’t use the words snail trail, though, that’s far more her vernacular. She can’t say the word he does use because it is so repugnant it makes an involuntary muscle play door-man with her vagina.
The panties thing, he said, is just his kink. He uses the word kink and fun so frequently in their text communication that the meaning of kink and fun have become hard and misshapen like a mangled bike wheel.
It is a purple night in a bluntly cold winter when she takes him knickers and she couriers them by tram. In her faux fur coat pocket, left side, the knickers seem to fire against her hip. She feels as though the commuters might know. Make sure they’re worn, he’d said. So she did. Two days, she wore them for and she watched erotic films so that her insides melted out of her and left its journeys on the seat of them. She thinks about what he might do with them when he gets home, if he will even get that far.
She cannot fathom why a man would want the cloth that absorbs what drains out of her but then she has never really understood very much about people. Outside, the city winks back at her fast in a rust of car headlights and all the derelict shop windows are clouded with cataracts. She had considered ironing them, but then, she doesn’t suppose he’s the sort of man to appreciate steam if he gets his kicks from women’s knickers. On the front seat, the one for fragility, an elderly lady sits with shoulders which claim austerity. She points, says that her fur is simply darling. Reaches out a cobbled hand to stroke her sleeve, says, by god, I used to have one just like it. For cha-cha. She longs to take out the knickers then, to admire them, together.
They meet at a pub heavy on chintz. He is wearing a GEEK t shirt. He looks nothing like his profile photo on Tinder but she recognises his angular nose. A botanical tattoo on his right forearm and when he sees her looking says he knows it’s the pits and he sorely regrets it and he knows she isn’t the kind of woman who’d ever get a tattoo, and she nods her agreement, says she sees the lines on skin as memorial enough without any call for ink.
She asks him what he wants the knickers for if they aren’t on her body. Surely, she says, the body is preferable to the fabric that conceals it and merely debris, although she acknowledges that debris holds some trace of the body’s vibrations. He necks his beer quickly, already on the gold dregs of it when she has only taken two sips. She tells him she often wonders who finds her body debris and if it emits some trace of her, a glow of nebulae, or if it lies apathetic – cold. Think of all the places you’ve been, she says, where knickers have fallen down the sides to gather dust. The yawn of hotel beds, too, she says, where tissues glisten with thigh sap. And the rubbers hurled in pedal bins which leave flour trails on fingertips. All those knot-ties that retain a chilly man fat that was never meant to make it.
He tells her to shut the literary hell up and hand over the knickers, that he is very visual and will associate the style of the knickers with her, imagine what they look like on. He doesn’t mind what style knickers they are, he says, and she reminds him that if this is going to be done authentically, he has no choice in the sort of knickers, anyway. In her fur coat pocket, she thumbs at them with their knee-length Victorian legs, oxblood frills.
She is on the tram home when her mobile makes the plinky-plonk puddle noise of an incoming message: Are you having a fucking laugh? She thumbs back: Kinky, aren’t I.