In Which I Have Just One of the Many Hugely Embarrassing Moments of My Life
I was sixteen that summer in 1970. I had one more year of high school. I was very unhappy at home, and the best teacher I’d ever had convinced my parents to send me on a trip to Colombia, South America, where I’d take a six-week course in Spanish. The trip changed my life. But this post isn’t about the trip. It’s about my first time through the Miami airport.
My flight from Sarasota was uneventful but exciting to this first-time flyer. Back then, flying was an occasion to dress nicely. And back then, dresses were short. Really short. Don’t-bend-over-if-you-drop-something short. That will be very important later in the story.
To complete my dressy look, I wore pantyhose. This was a big deal. Pantyhose had recently been invented, and this was the first pair I’d ever worn. Up until now, it was an excruciating ordeal to put on hose: messing with those garters, getting the things to stay right. No wonder pantyhose caught on. But what was the proper way to wear them?
You see, pantyhose come with a cotton panel in the crotch. Was I supposed to wear underwear with these things? Nothing on the instructions said anything about it. But don’t you ALWAYS wear underwear? (Remember, I was sixteen.) Well, I couldn’t ask my mother; what did she know? She was what, almost fifty? And I couldn’t ask my friends; they might laugh at me for not knowing. So I had to decide on my own. And I decided yes.
Now the question was: do you wear them inside or outside? Stay with me here; I really thought about this. I decided that, since the pantyhose had that cotton crotch thingy, I should wear my underwear outside the hose. Quit laughing. I’m not done yet.
I wore nylon hiphugger bikinis. They were slippery things, but whatever. I was doing fine until I got off the plane in Miami. Apparently sitting on the plane loosened up my bikinis. As I deplaned, I realized that my underwear was sliding down the slick surface of my pantyhose. Since the hem of my dress came only just below my hips, my underwear did not have far to go to be seen. And every step I took sent those bikinis a little further south.
I locked my thighs and knees together as I walked from the gate, desperately looking for a restroom. I pressed my one free hand tightly to my hip to prevent my underwear from sliding to my feet. I was taking itty-bitty steps, clicking along in my pumps as fast as I could in my panic to find the damn bathroom. There it is! Thank you, God.
I slipped into a stall, let my underwear drop, and stepped out of them. I felt naked. So I took off my pantyhose, put my underwear on, and put the pantyhose back on. I’m sure you can appreciate the gymnastics involved in doing this in an airport toilet stall. No cracks about tapping feet, please.
More or less correctly attired, I made my exit and found the gate for the flight that would take me to Colombia. Whew.
Next: Miami Airport, Part Two: Inbound.