What Every Traveler Should Know About Disposable Underwear
Speaker's Corner: Kelsey Timmerman tells all
12.17.08 | 10:02 AM ET
The day I realized archaeology wasn’t for me was the day my classmates and I, while on a dig in Ohio, found it. It was the most exciting thing we found all summer: a shaft straightener.
For those considering a career in archaeology: if you can say “shaft straightener” with a straight face, you may have found your calling.
We, on the other hand, giggled a lot.
My passion for archaeology died with our laughter.
The presence of a shaft straightener told us that the Native Americans in our area hunted their food with arrows. Not exactly groundbreaking, but that dig and archaeology in general taught me an important lesson: Our stuff says a lot about us.
Armed with this lesson, I’ve found few places more fascinating than a mid-level hotel I stayed at in China.
- Two fire extinguishers in the room and eight just outside the door, from which I inferred that fires in mid-level Chinese hotels were common.
- Two fire masks, from which I inferred, that once all 10 extinguishers had been exhausted, death by inferno was quite possible.
- One bottle of “man lotion” with a detailed label: “Use it to wash the private parts ... romantic tender feeling ... make you have peace of mind to have no worry.” I inferred that mid-level Chinese hotels are places of romance.
- One package of disposable underwear, from which I inferred ... ?
Disposable underwear? I was stumped.
At the time I thought disposable underwear was purely a Chinese phenomenon. But after I returned from China, I stumbled upon an ad for OneDerWear disposable underwear sold in the United States.
This got me thinking: What does disposable underwear say about us?
There was only one way to find out. I dropped $13.79 on a five-pack, and then I browsed the OneDerWear website:
OneDerWear is an ultra-light disposable underwear created for traveling ... Each package ... can fit in the palm of your hand. With OneDerWear, you simply wear and toss! By the end of your trip, you’ll be surprised to find plenty of luggage space for gifts and souvenirs.
There are many qualities that I look for in underwear, but, I must admit, the ability for a pair to fit in the palm of my hand has never been among them.
The package of OneDerWear I received a few days later played up the wonderful qualities of the product: “It’s not paper!” and “100% cotton is biodegradable!” Absent from the packaging was any warning that you shouldn’t drive after putting on a pair of OneDerWear. I learned this the hard way.
The first day I wore OneDerWear, I ran a red light. I was distracted by the itching.
I bet that’s one the cops haven’t heard before.
Luckily, I passed through the intersection unnoticed.
I wore OneDerWear for an entire week. One day I went jogging in them. I’m pretty sure they were half-way biodegraded by the time I was done.
Before bed, it’s not rare to find me walking around my home in my underwear. The first and only time I did this in OneDerWear, my wife, Annie, nearly died laughing. OneDerWear, although not made out of paper, are paper thin and basically see-through. They don’t really look like underwear at all, but more closely resemble “bloomers,” something that Charles Ingalls would wear if he were a cross-dresser.
A fresh pair of OneDerWear tends to fill the room with a smell of glue and formaldehyde. Trust me, if you’re looking for a few nights of chastity, a five-pack of OneDerWear should do the trick.
The way I see it, underwear have two functions: protect your clothes from you and protect you from your clothes. OneDerWear does neither. But the folks who sell OneDerWear claim they serve many other useful functions.
On the trail:
“... you don’t have to use limited backpack space with re-packing dirty underwear (peeeewww!) ... you can just Wear and Toss! Also, OneDerWear is friendly to the environment.”
How in the world is wearing a pair of underwear once and then tossing them into the woods environmentally friendly? The saying goes, “Take only pictures, leave only footprints,” not, “... leave only footprints and disposable underwear.”
“With the busy schedule of college students, who has time to wash clothes?”
Personally, I never had more free time than when I was in college. Plus, four years of wearing disposable underwear would cost roughly $3,000, which would put quite a strain on a college student’s budget.
“OneDerWear is also great for troops whose military stays require them to reside in areas where access to washing facilities may be inconvenient or impossible ... Just Wear and Toss!”
Allow me to set the scene: Our brave OneDerWear-wearing troops are in hostile territory trying to hide from the enemy.
“Sir, we’re under attack!”
“How did they ever find us, private?”
“Sir, I think they may have followed our trail of OneDerWear.”
“Aggghhhhh! I’m hit private. OneDerWEARRRRR! “
Let’s imagine we are archaeology students 2,000 years in the future, and we’ve come across a pair of OneDerWear, still in their palm-sized packaging. Our professor asks us what we can infer from our findings.
Our answer would be something like this:
“Given the smell, the underwear would have had negative effects on reproduction, thus leading to a negative birth rate.
“Due to the number of these products found around centers of learning, we infer that epidemic levels of laziness permeated the culture. The expense of one-time-use undergarments likely made higher learning unaffordable and led to a general dumbing-down of society.
“The work of other archaeologists shows that disposable underwear, first found in what was once known as Asia, led to increased fatalities of motorists and a gradual weakening of the society’s military.
“In closing, we believe that OneDerWear led to the extinction of this once great society.”
We would say something like that, or we would just giggle and abandon our education as archaeologists.