Aug. 5 2013 05:46 PM

When Decker's away, the righteous chicks will play

Aaryn Belfer

Poor Edwin Decker. I don't know which is worse. First, his column space gets co-opted by his better half, the wicked-smart Mizz W. (I've met her and can attest that Decker is playing up.) And now La Belfer has sneaked in to rearrange the furniture. Oh, the joy!

I had planned to start with the obvious light lifting: the garish centerpiece from Ed's last column on the George Zimmerman verdict—that whole the-system-is-as-close-to-perfect-as-possible business. Such a myopic argument can, of course, only come from a member of the group who creates—and stands to benefit from—the laws that comprise our nearly utopian justice system. White male privilege is so dang adorable, isn't it? What with the dimples and freckles and cowlick and all. I want to muss its hair, give it a cup of warm milk and tuck it into bed.

Naw. Never mind. Forget that. I want to punch it in the face.

But I want to leave things there because revisiting the many injustices that lead to the wholly unsurprising, but nevertheless devastating, verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder isn't helping me overcome my wish for Zimmerman to meet a frightful, lonely end at the hand of a vigilante.

Instead, I want to talk about panties, which have nothing to do with white male privilege, and everything to do with Bob Filner's suggestion that his former communications director work without hers. Or wait. That Filner has been unaccountable for years (decades?) for such despicable behavior is, in fact, a function of white male privilege. It's insidious, people.

And, by the way: "Panties"? Really? Grown-ass lawyers are going on television talking about panties? This city gets better by the day.

So there I was last week, trying to get ready for work amid the usual morning chaos that is my life—Eat your breakfast. Put your butt on that chair and eat your breakfast. Don't torment the dog, just sit down and eat your breakfast. Did you brush your teeth? Did you brush your teeth? Did you brush your teeth? Put your shoes on. Did you put your shoes on? For God's sake, put your shoes on already. Did you brush your teeth? In the clamor of all that, I couldn't find a clean pair of panties. So, I resigned myself to the power obviously greater than myself (i.e. my husband who does all the laundry) and slipped into my pantsuit sans panties. Who knew that such an innocuous act of exasperation could turn a plain ol' Diana Prince into a Wonder Woman? 

Freedom Fightin' Bob Filner, that's who. Because, reader: I kicked ass and took names that day.

I drove to work—and made every light—without panties. I placed my lunch box in the refrigerator without panties. I checked my email and voicemail without panties. By 10 a.m., I had faxed two documents, photo-copied another 28 (hole punching them all), handled a conference call during which I offered up several innovative solutions to previously unresolved challenges and had a spontaneous hallway meeting with my supervisor, all without panties. 

I handled a particularly infuriating computer problem so masterfully that I got props from the IT guy on the other end of the phone. "You did a bang-up job on that one, Aaryn," he said. Then he lowered his voice. "You're not wearing panties today, are you?" Personally, I found that question offensive. 

Throughout the day, I filed papers, took calls and did fancy things with numbers in Excel spreadsheets—without panties. Even my trips to the loo were more time- and energy-efficient thanks to the steps cut out by going without. 

After lunch, my boss stopped by to give me a key to my new corner office and a raise that made my pay equitable with others across the company in my position. OK, so this part didn't happen. But I'm convinced it could happen if I skip the panties from here on out. I want to be taken seriously. I want to climb that ladder of success (though not in a skirt. That's a tad too Sharon Stone, even for me). 

I was more focused and more productive that day than any day of my career, enabling me to start my weekend at 2 p.m. And it was only Tuesday. I met up with some girlfriends later that night and shared with them my disbelief that I'd wasted so many of my wage-earning years wearing panties.

They sat there, this group of phenomenally accomplished women, looking at me blank-faced. "Well, yeah," one of them finally said. "I've gone without panties since I entered the workforce. How did you think I got where I am?"

"Uh—I don't know," I said. "Hard work, respectful bosses and the institutionalized equality brought to us by the feminist movement of our mothers' generation?" 

Turns out, the only thing holding women back from all-out triumph are panties. Wearing them equates to self-sabotage. It's panties—not the white-male power structure—that stands between us and that glass ceiling. Panties undermine productivity and our ability to accomplish all we set out to do. I'm pretty sure Angela Corey would have put up a legitimate fight in prosecuting GZ had she skipped panties for the duration of that trial.

Alright, so this is just silly nonsense. We all know that wearing or not wearing panties has nothing to do with success, that the American judicial system is deeply flawed, and that Bob Filner needs to resign yesterday. Mostly, I just wanted to see how many times I could say the word "panties" all over Ed Decker's column space.

Edwin Decker's column will return in September. Write to


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