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Friday, January 20, 2006

your magic underwear

Last Thursday afternoon, my brother and I boarded a plane to (ultimately) Jamestown, New York. Ever been there? The reason for our trip was to attend the funeral of our dad's girlfriend of a litttle over a decade. So many interesting things happened during this long weekend that several screenplays could be written about them - quite a few about the ward alone (ever been there?). I've thought about whether or not I should write about certain aspects of the trip and I've decided to leave much of it alone, but here's a little taste.

The funeral/memorial service consisted of viewing hours on Friday from 2-4, and 6-8, with a service at 8:pm. Between services, we all went to eat dinner. By "we all" I mean my dad, my brother, my sister, myself, Debbie's kids (Jeff & his wife Cecilia, Kyle, & Zac) and their dad Kevin plus his family, and Debbie's siblings and nieces and nephews, and Debbie's mom, etc.. You get the picture. Big party of people. We went to a nice Eye-talian restaurant and I have to say it was more than a tad surreal to be sitting right next to my dad as he was sitting across the table from, and having a civil conversation with, Debbie's ex-husband, Kevin. My sister sat to my right, and across from me was Kevin's step-daughter, whose friend was sitting next to her (across from Brandy). Both of those girls are seniors in high school.

(Bear with me during all these technicalities - I'm trying to create a mood here, and I don't know the names of everyone that was there.)

As we ate our salads, another woman came in and sat down next to the friend and lamented having to order quickly. As we spoke, I figured out that she is Kevin's sister. My living in Utah came up and she mentioned that she works in the textile industry and had met a few women who worked for Beehive Clothing, have I ever heard of it? Yes, I tell her, I've heard of it. She tells me that she met these women at a convention in Dallas and it was the first she had ever heard of that special underwear they have to make for all the people in the religion out there; do I know what she's talking about?

"Yes, I do."

"Well, I'll tell you, I had no IDEA that they had to wear different underwear. I mean, I learned a LOT about that religion from those women. They answered every single one of my questions, but they weren't pushy about it or anything. As they were talking, I came up with more questions, many of which they answered before I could even ask them. But I learned a lot."

"Well, good. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about it, but it's not really all that weird..."

"Yes it is! I mean, I had no idea. In all my years, I had never heard about it. And special underwear? I mean, what's the point?! Look, I don't know if you're involved in any of this..."

"I am."
at the same time Brandy says, "She is."

"You wear it?"

"Yes I do."

"Special underwear?"

"It's no big deal..."

At this point, my brother, who is sitting on the other side of my dad, breaks in to the conversation; he had overheard her ask if I was involed and thought we were talking about Mary Kay, until the underwear questions became loud and uncomfortable. He says, "What are you talking about?"

"Magic underwear."

"Did you tell them what it is?"

"No, we're still covering what it's not."

James then gives a comparison to a Priest's collar, etc., but it's still mostly lost on our new friends - you know, the ones we're having a funeral meal with - who can't get over the underwear aspect.

"Wait - what kind of underwear do you wear?"

"Are you wearing it right now?"

"Why do you have to wear it?"

"The religion makes you wear it, right?"

"What does it look like?"

"It's as if I were wearing an extra t-shirt..."

looking at me and my boatneck-ish sweater, "You're wearing a t-shirt?"

"No, what she's wearing looks kind of like a tank top. And really long bottoms."

"Do you have to zip it up?"

"How do you go to the bathroom?"

"No zip, it's not one piece, it's two pieces."

"Long bottoms?"

"Like bike shorts."

This kind of thing went on for a while, and I hardly said anything else about it. We finally ended our meal so that we could get back to the funeral home by 6:pm. As James and I walked out the front door, we had to maneuver ourselves around three women who were outside for a cigarette. As we walked away from them, I heard Kevin's sister say to Brandy, "...but, truth be told, those Mormon kids really stand out because they're just so good..."


Carina said...

Muhahaha, if she only knew.

Lorien said...

some things are just hard to explain, no?

Anonymous said...

my favorite was when we were referred to as jerry's kids

QueenScarlett said...

This was funny... but then again... I remember having a hard time with the magic underwear when I first had them too... heck...I still have problems with them shifting. People think thongs are bad wedgies... imagine magic underwear wedgie. ;-)

Anonymous said...

You should've told them aobut the horns. You have horns right?

Anonymous said...

That was me about the horns. I can't click the correct button.

Guileless Mom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Guileless Mom said...

ohhhh i just love that. my favorite was when a friend of mine tried to relate my "magic undies" to her Catholic scapula (sp?) uhhh.. not quite... but if it makes you feel like you can relate, whatever.

Another good one was when a neighbor of ours actually FELT my mom's head for horns!!! I kid you not. He FELT her head. Everyone was giving hugs goodbye and he reaches up and feels her head!! ?!?!??!?!?!?!?!??!

My favorite "morminisms" I've had to refute over the years:
* We can't eat pizza
* We can't drive cars (we can only walk or ride bikes)
*We sacrifice our kids in the temples (that's why we have so many... so you won't notice if one's missing. ?!?!?!?!? I still remember my mom telling a neighbor who'd lived by us for years: "We've lived by you for years!! Our kids play together every day!!!! We talk every week!!! Do YOU think i sacrifice my kids in the temple???? Have you happened to notice anyone MISSING??????")

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." -Albert Einstein

Guileless Mom said...

P.S. one time I was really sick of the whole convo and finally ended with: "You know what? I didn't grow up in your church, and I think all the robes and weird hats you guys wear are WEIRD! I can't believe they make them wear that!!! And those bizarre symbols you make on your body to pray? Weird!"

She got the point. Luckily we're good enough friends that we're still cool. hehe

More Caffiene, Please said...

That is too funny. When I lived in Washington D.C. I too had a lady ask about my horns. My friend told her we only grow them in the Spring.

Anonymous said...

amy, a scapula is your shoulder blade

Lisa said...

Classic funeral talk, too. People, seriously?! A time and a place, a time and a place. . .

I had a very similar conversation with one of my friends at my Wedding Reception in Lincoln, Nebraska: "Are you wearing them NOW?" "What do they look like?", etc etc--I just wanted her to wish me well and be on her way!

I'm sorry you had to endure an awkward conversation at such a vulnerable time.

Guileless Mom said...

beans, is it scapular???

~j. said...

Do you know I had never heard the horn thing until I moved to Utah?

Amy - yes, it IS Scapular. And in tenth grade, a girl asked me if I was allowed to chew gum. "Of course!" I told her. She then pointed to the package that read "Not non-caloric." "Nicole," I said, "that means calories, not caffeine."

Lisa - at YOUR wedding reception?! Are you kidding? (I know you're not...) This talk at the dinner doesn't even COMPARE to the talk at the funeral home...I'll have to tell you about it next time I see you.

Anonymous said...

Hm...perhaps it's time for a Magic Underwear Show and Tell curch sign...

Anonymous said...

so what does this magic underwear do besides give you wedgies?

~j. said...

It enables us to fly. That's the only other thing it does.

wendysue said...

Lisa, I remember that fabulous wedding reception moment. . ."
just give me the crock-pot and be on your way. . ."

I remember a friend of ours here saying he was at work, and his "g's
" were showing at the bottom of his shorts and another guy said, "Those are the longest boxers I've ever seen!"

Bek said...

I was once filming a commercial for THE CHURCH. I was clearly the only member because I was getting all kinds of questions from the other actors. It started when one girl freaked out when makeup came over to do a touch up on me.

"Are you allowed to wear makeup?"

"I heard you are not allowed to swim? Is that true?"

"Are you guys allowed to dance?"

"Do you have arranged marriages?"

I realized after the no makeup, no swimming, no dancing questions that they must have met missionaries at some point (and yes, I was a sister missionary and no, I didn't wear as much make up as I normally would have).
I guess they didn't care what they were endorsing.

I have never been asked about horns, etc. I am sorry that you had to have this awkward conversation at a funeral, but hearing the story made my day...

People are dumb.....

Anonymous said...

I want to know what was said at the funeral home.

La Yen said...

My favorite was when a friend was taking the discussions at my home and brought A BOX of anti literature to my house and began to read aloud from it. After about 30 nano-seconds, I asked if we would be going to his home next to insult his mother and kick him in the nuts. He got the message.

Anonymous said...

mom, i told you ... we were called jerry's kids at the funeral home.

dalene said...

I never heard the horn thing till I moved to Utah either. In fact the only thing my friends thought was weird about me was that I didn't drink or smoke, but they kind of liked having a designated driver (of course way back then it was still normal to be chaste). I will admit I find us a bit weird, but every now and then I take a look at the teenagers and the young adults around me and I realize how amazing it is that they are such good kids--not perfect by any means, but really good kids. It's not exclusive to Mormons--any faith-based community will embrace those same values--but it's not till you see them juxtaposed against some of the realities portrayed incessantly in the media that you begin to grasp how truly amazing they are.

~j. said...

Yes, I played the dd role for quite some time... And I agree: the embracing of good (family, values, etc.) is not unique to Mormons.

As far as "kids these days"...I've been tossing around a blog in my head about how profoundly affected I am lately by the things (my) kids say. We'll see if said thoughts form into anything solid.

Anonymous said...

is that so. haha