I went commando for a week, here's what I learned


Why do we wear panties all the time? Wouldn't we be better off without them? We put that theory to the test

A woman poses in her underwear.
A woman poses in her underwear.SHUTTERSTOCK

"Wherever you go, don't go commando" — that used to be my unspoken rule until not too long ago. Whether it was Spanx or a teeny-tiny thong, I had to have some sort of fabric between my cheeks... Sure, it serves a hygienic purpose (although, according to a recent study, that's not entirely clear, and apparently, we should be switching out our panties every six months), but its psychological significance shouldn't be downplayed. We've been wearing underwear since birth; going without feels like walking around with a part of your skin missing. Worse, it's like being without a shield that protects you from all sorts of unknown dangers, like giving birth unexpectedly and the baby falling onto the ground. Or, more realistically, someone suspecting you're not wearing panties, assuming you're promiscuous, and feeling compelled to act on that assumption (a lame excuse that many guys use to 'justify' sexual harassment).

'Goin' to the chapel, and we're... going without panties'

The week began with me going commando at a church. It was my nephew's wedding day and I had chosen to wear a silk dress by Roberto Verino that hugs every curve, hips and butt included, meaning that anything I wore underneath would show — Spanx, panties, thongs, dental floss, you name it. And trust me, your thong being visible under your dress is far worse than someone thinking you're not wearing one at all.

So, I attended the wedding sans panties. But man, was I anxious! What if I flashed somebody or my dress ripped while dancing at the reception? I had only one option: using a tampon. I know what you're thinking — that's a crazy idea, tampons are an absolute no-no when you're not menstruating... But it was just going to be for a day, right? So, I went for it.

I loved how I looked in the mirror wearing that dress, and with no VPL whatsoever. But getting used to the feeling of going pantyless wasn't easy. Without them, you feel naked, completely exposed to the world. And it's tough not to think about it. You're standing there, chatting with your uncle, pretending that everything is hunky-dory, yet you can't shake the thought that you're going commando. It's awkward as hell. You start talking to your nephew's friends, and you're pantyless — sometimes it's hilarious, other times it's just plain nerve-wracking. You talk to your mom and all you can think about is how she'd react if she knew. And, of course, you can't help but constantly think that everyone's thinking that you're naked down there.

After that mixed-bag of an 'initiation' to a panty-free lifestyle, I decided to challenge myself. Our 'addiction' to wearing underwear is cultural, I told myself, and I hate having addictions, that's why I stopped sucking my thumb as a kid and then quit smoking as an adult. So, I decided to have a lingerie 'detox' and spend an entire week without wearing panties, just to see how it goes. I read in an article inWell+Good magazine, quoting gynecologist Jessica Shepherd, that "there's nothing inherently wrong with choosing to go commando. Just ensure to be consistent with personal hygiene to avoid irritations like bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections". And, with me being as clean as I am, I thought, "infections, bring it on".

Jeans, public enemy number one

Trust me, never go commando in skinny jeans, no matter what people tell you. In fact, panties or no panties, skinny jeans should be avoided at all costs because they are guaranteed to cause irritation. Take it from me, the day after the wedding, feeling all grown up — and emulating Christina Aguilera in that 'not wearing underwear makes me feel more powerful, it gives me self-confidence' kind of way — I decided to go shopping with only jeans to cover my private parts. And man, walking to the store was a struggle. Not to mention the backache from shoving my hands in my pockets to push my jeans down as much as possible to avoid that dreaded camel toe.

In the end, not wearing panties cost me 32 bucks — that's what I spent at Zara to buy some loose-fitting, camel toe-free cargo pants. My private parts thanked me, especially by the time that I went to bed, when the burning sensation finally calmed down. I read in an article that sleeping commando is excellent for our health, which is making me feel a little bit better about this whole experiment.

Pantyless at the office

The next day, it's back to the office, but it's certainly not business as usual. I wear the new Zara pants again because the mere thought of wearing a skirt spikes my cortisol levels. Let's take it slow, I tell myself, no need to rush into things. After a few hours, having almost forgotten that I've gone commando, I get pulled into a meeting with various department heads. Thank goodness I'm wearing pants, I think to myself.

Wearing pants, even without panties, oddly pushes your bodily boundaries. Let me explain: there comes a point when you forget that you're pantyless. It's like when you start wearing thongs. Initially, have a piece of fabric between your butt cheeks is really uncomfortable, but, after a few days, you stop feeling it. You simply don't pay attention to it. Aren't our brains clever (and weird)? Long story short: the meeting went well because my brain took over and I was concentrating on the task at hand and not the absence of my underwear.

Feeling brave, two days later, I decided to take my underwear detox one step further and go to the office in a skirt. I won't lie, it was very modest, below the knee, and quite narrow, so I could avoid freaking out at the possibility of a gust of wind exposing my best-kept secret (well, let's be honest, I've got other secrets better kept than this one).

Mysterious air currents flying low

It was on this day that I made an interesting discovery. The office has these constant draughts that love snaking their way up your legs. And no, that's not a sexual innuendo. In fact, it's quite annoying because it reminds you of how cold it is down there. Solution? Cross your legs (even though experts don't recommend it).

But wait, there's more. The coffee machine breaks, and we have to go upstairs to use a different one. So, I start climbing the stairs, and halfway up, I realize that people are following me. But, so what? I've never had this concern before, about someone seeing my panties. Why am I suddenly worried someone might catch a glimpse of my private parts? Besides, it's impossible, unless those behind me decided to lay on the floor and stick their heads up my skirt like Putzie in Grease. But reality likes to sneak up on you, and I'm so lost in my thoughts that I trip, almost cracking my head open and flashing my crotch for all to see. Fortunately, nothing serious happened... this time.

Coming clean

The following days, I decide to return to the safety of my loose Zara pants because the fear of a repeat of stair-gate was just too much for my nerves to handle. And the fact that wearing a skirt made me feel stressed, uncomfortable, and occupied my mind far more than I'd have liked. Hell, I can't even stand it when a label is hanging out of my shirt. How will I survive bodily fluids running down my leg while I'm at work, for heaven's sake?

Thank god it's Friday. I met up with some friends for a drink at our usual bar of choice, and we were chatting about anything and everything when it came to mind that I was commando and no one knew. Naturally, I burst out laughing, but it just had to happen when we weren't talking about anything funny. I brush it off, but a few hours and several beers later, I decide to come clean: I've been going commando for almost a week.

This, of course, sparks a heated discussion about the virtues and evils of going commando, and suddenly everyone's acting like they're a director at Victoria's Secret or the head of OBGYN at Mayo. I didn't know that my friends were such panty experts. What I also notice is that a few of them are sneakily glancing at my butt. I'm not sure what they're expecting to find or if they think that they have X-ray vision...

When I get home, I decide that it's time to go back to wearing panties because the cost-benefit relationship of going without them doesn't convince me at all. Sure, if I really committed myself to the cause, I would probably get used to it, but... am I seriously going to dedicate even a second more to this experiment? No. Call me crazy, but cotton and lace empower me more than airing out my parts.