If You Walk Out of Your Panties…

Yesterday, I shared with you some sage advice about fools from my father’s side of the family.  Today, let’s turn to my mother’s side of the family.  I’d like to share a nugget of advice that my Grandmama Irene told me 30 years ago that I have never forgotten:

“If you ever walk out of your panties, just keep walking.”


“Come again?” you might ask, as you clutch your pearls and lean in across your chicken salad plate.  Honey, you heard me.  I don’t stutter and your ears don’t flap.  If you ever walk out of your panties, just keep walking.

Grandmama Irene is 94 and has amassed a wealth of great advice over her years.  I think of her whenever I make a big breakfast because she always said, “Breakfast is the hardest meal of the day to get everything hot at the right time.”  Or when I’m cooking a big meal–“Wash pots as you go along and you won’t have such a mess when you’re finished.”  If it’s too humid, I don’t make divinity candy because she taught me that candy just won’t set if there’s too much moisture in the air.  (Well, to be honest, I’ve never made divinity because it’s too damn hard, but I know to BLAME IT  on the humidity.)  On budgetary matters, I hear Grandmama saying, “Pay your bills THEN buy your groceries.”  She’s right–you can always eat beans if the power bill was high that month.

But no advice compares to the jewel in the crown:  If you ever walk out of your panties, just keep walking.  I think I love this piece of advice so much because it came out of the clear blue.  It’s not like I was walking along with Grandmama Irene when my panties tangled up around my feet and she saved the day with sage advice.  Nope.  We were just puttering around the kitchen, probably cleaning up after a holiday meal, when she grabbed my wrist and said with a great sense of urgency, “Oh!  Ashley!  If you ever walk out of your panties (finger pointing for emphasis), just.keep.walking.”

She was born in 1918, in an age when elastic was…less dependable.  Now, I’m not one to reveal specifics about how this life lesson was learned, but back in the 1940’s on a lovely summer day, a lady might have found herself walking in downtown Atlanta, right past Rich’s department store, when her elastic decided to head south.  Should one find oneself on a sidewalk in a metropolitan area when one detects a certain “breeziness” in her skirt, one must NOT attempt to retrieve said underthings.  LET THEM GO.  Keep walking.  To quote a more modern sage, Obi-wan Kenobi:  “Those are not the panties you are looking for.”  Once they head south, they are no longer your panties and you will compromise your dignity if you stoop to pick them up.  They are feral panties at that point and belong to the street.

Keep Moving!  Nothing to see here!

Keep Moving! Nothing to see here!

Why do I share this advice with you today?  Because as I was walking through the parking lot at work this morning, I see a bright pink pair of cotton panties lying right there on the asphalt.  

Someone’s mama has raised her right.  I bet you a dollar those panties are still there at 5pm today.  

If you’re thinking, “That’s good advice, but it’s never going to apply to me.”  Maybe not, but let’s take it from the specific panty-dropping probability and take a more metaphorical perspective.  Just think of the life situations where this applies!

  • Do you have a cheating husband?  Girl, he has walked out of your panties, so just keep walking.
  • Have you been eating right and exercising?  Hey!  You walked out of your panties!  Keep walking!
  • Are you breaking free of the bonds of appropriateness and embracing authenticity?  Sister, it’s time to walk out of those panties.
  • Is it time to leave the past behind?  Walk out of your panties and keeeeeeeep walking.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a Grandmama Irene, so PLEASE share this advice with everyone you know!  Keep it breezy!


gi and vivi

P.S.  Some of you have asked for a photo of Grandmama Irene herself.  Here she is at Vivi’s first birthday luau, talking about cake.  She has been famous for her homemade cakes for half a century!  

68 thoughts on “If You Walk Out of Your Panties…

  1. Cynthia @ Flotsam of the Mind

    This made my day. I’m going to remember this one (and share with my friends). I am a relatively new regular reader of your blog and really enjoy it.

  2. Irene

    Yes, it happened to me…somehow down the leg of bell-bottom jeans. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what happened to cause it, but I did just keep on walking. Your grandmamma is a sage of the highest order. All mine ever passed on to me was, “It’s so hot, even the cold water is hot.” I will take that with me to my grave. Please appreciate your gram and give her a hug from me, if possible.

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  4. Faith Hartley

    My senior year in high school I had a home economics teacher that actually had the elastic break in her panties. Found them around her ankles and she went running out of the class room. ( I think panties in hand too long ago to remember we all laughed until we cried and I’m sure my classmates all remember the situation.) 1967 as I recall and I am sure she is long gone by now. She was old when we were in school an old maid; who taught the class, who better. haha.

  5. Karon McCulloch

    My mother, also born in 1918, had just graduated high school in 1936. Her older sister had just bought her several pairs of panties that were the latest thing – they had buttons to hold them up. She’d gone to a county fair with several friends and the button on her panties popped off. Needless to say, her panties fell off. She was highly embarrassed, but just tried to nonchalantly step out of them and walk on. One of the young men in the group bent down, picked them up and tucked them in his pocket and returned them later, which really embarrassed her.

  6. Susan Nemetz

    Ashley, can’t believe this, but my grandmother gave me the same advice. Her “incident” occurred on Pennsylvania Ave. Washington, DC!! I will never forget her sharing this with me. Didn’t know how frequently this type of thing happens. Glad I was forewarned. Love, love, love your blog.

  7. Kathryn Sims

    Oh! My! Goodness gracious! This was wonderful, and much needed today! I cannot wait for my 13-year-old diva/goddess-in-training comes home from school so I can share your Grandmother’s wisdom. Thank you!!!

  8. karina

    I cannot help but laugh. I was about 5 years old. I just came in from playing and it was time to take a shower and get dressed up for some event. My mom was helping me undress to hurry me along and with surprise she said where are your panties. To this day it is a mystery to me, in my memory I put them on and now I know I walked right out of them…perhaps the elastic did break.

  9. Debra White

    I have walked out of my slip…(does anyone wear these anymore?)…I was strolling along in the Mall; and YES I walked right out of it, who wouldn’t? I toe tossed it up to my hand without missing a beat and tossed it in the next garbage can I passed. Never even blinked lest I give myself away.

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  11. Susie Byce

    Readers wno have never met “Miss” Eunice and “Miss” Irene just THINK they enjoy blogs where they’re mentioned! LOVED this one. Could just see and hear Miss Irene giving you this advice. 🙂 Keep writing!

  12. Penny DeVoss

    I have not walked out of my panties but I have walked out of my very decent half slip(remember those)?I failed your test! I picked it up twirled it to the theme song ,Let Me Entertain You and kept on walking.Obviously this was not covered at Miss Helen’s Charm School.Now I know better! Thanks for the heads up!

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  20. Vickie

    Best post ever! I wish my grandma Sarah could meet your grandmamma Irene – they would have so much in common to talk about!

  21. Carissa

    I am a teacher and just posted to my Facebook about an awkward running between classes moment when I was holding my laptop and the class’ papers with one hand because my other arm was tightly bound to my side trying to keep my underwear from falling. When I got to the class sat down right away because that was the fastest way I could think of preventing gravity from continuing the fight! Then I had the awkward “trying to pull the panties up while the students were taking a quick quiz without them noticing.” Let me tell you how much fun that was!

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  24. Deb

    Oh Lordie, I saw a girl walk out of her panties in the hallway at school one day. She just kept on goin’. My “moment” came at the bus stop with a big armful of books, senior year in high school 1964, when my pleated tartan skirt fell off in a puddle. I grabbed it with one hand and pulled it up, getting on the bus was a challenge, but I’m not scarred – too much. Another 30 years of therapy ought to do it. 😀

    1. WordPress.com Support

      hahahaha….I had a friend from college who lost her wrap-around skirt while she was arguing a case in front of a judge! She felt a little breezy, picked it up off the floor and put it back on…never missed a beat!

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  26. Tracy

    Maybe I should “give up” my panties for the new loyalty fund campaign! Lol. Good advice is good advice!

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