Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

I hate thongs, but do people actually care about panty lines?

Stock photo | Thinkstock/Stock photo | Thinkstock

The question

How concerned do I need to be about panty lines? I can't bring myself to wear a thong any more (wedgie!) and while my pants aren't skin tight, they aren't Hammer pants either.

The answer

Story continues below advertisement

As a character observes at a Hollywood party in Annie Hall, the VPL (visible panty line) is certainly noticeable, indeed titillating. For leering men at least.

VPL has become its own category of voyeuristic YouTube video. Any consciousness of your undergarments is going to distract us. You may well enjoy causing some excitement, but if you don't want that particular kind of attention, it's best to wear one of those seamless Spanx-type undergarments or a thong.

This brings us to the curious part of your question: You say you don't wear thongs "any more," as if small underwear is a youthful folly. Are they more uncomfortable now than they were when you were naive and looks-obsessed, or are you simply less tolerant of discomfort now? Could it be that you have undergone some sort of ideological, not physical, change? Perhaps you're just no longer worried about how fashionable women or leering men will react to your appearance.

That's great. But if so, why pose the question or read the answer? At any rate, I can promise you that, regardless of your age, men are still always trying to make out as much of your underwear as they can. Up to you if you want to indulge us or not.

Russell Smith is a novelist. His recent memoir, Blindsided , is available as a Kobo e-book.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to