Several friends and family members have asked if I could anthologize my recent Victoria’s Secret “Panty Raid.”
(You see, I was in search of the perfect Mother’s Day gift – only I was not alone…)
###Gen, and I were talking last week, and I mentioned if she wanted anything for Mother’s Day?
“Well, I don’t want flowers, jewelry or stuffed animals, but oh! I would like some new undies.”
Beads of sweat popped out of my manly brow as my writer’s mind offered an instant vision:
Me and the three kids working our way past a row of colorful bras and other sexy lingerie things… then the stroller hits a display holding a mannequin-ette… which topples over… as I instinctively raise my hands, I find myself cupping a lace-covered, voluptuously made plastic bosom… just as an elderly woman walks by. She shakes her head, tsk tsks me and suggests we should rent a hotel room…
Shaking off this nightmare scenario, I turn to my wife with a hopeful look.
“Hang on, my love. How about I buy you one of those pajama combo things… the hoodie, footie things on TV, you know the ones that end in “ie?”
“It’s a Snuggie and, no, I just need a few pairs of undies from Victoria’s Secret – but while you’re there you can buy something for yourself, too.
Now we’re talking. (I love Mother’s DayJ)OK. I have five business days to arrange for my not-so-secret visit to Victoria’s Secret (VS.)
I'm a guy. I got this.
The first thing I do, (‘cos I’m as sharp as a stick) is to have Gen tell me what type of panties she wants – and as she does…I Write. It. Down.
With that precious info in hand, I now wait until Friday morning to prepare for the rest of the mission. VS is an awesome national brand, so there’s got to be a few around Oahu.
There’s only one – at least according to my manly GPS.
And it’s in downtown Waikiki.
Which meant, I imagined, horrible traffic, garage parking and me having to decipher a "directory" to help find my way around a huge, sprawling mall for this secret lingerie store.
OK, OK, no worries.
As long as I leave by 9:30 a.m. I can make it there in about twenty minutes, find parking; walk to the store; peruse the panties; purchase the panties; return to minivan and drive home by 11:30 a.m., which is when Gen comes home to feed our infant boy.
For anyone new, I’m a stay-at-home Dad to three boys (aged four, two and four months old.) I write a monthly series on parenting called “You Know You’re A Parent When...”
OK, so if we’re going downtown, that means we’re going on a TRIP.
And a TRIP means, in no particular order that the following must be onboard the minivan:
One Snack Bag.
Other miscellaneous equipment needed for the TRIP include:
For some reason… (YOU’RE GOING TO A LINGERIE STORE WITHOUT A FEMALE TO GUIDE YOU!!!)… I’m flustered, and instead of leaving at 9:30 a.m. it’s more like 10:15.
I place the Mother's Day card on the hood of the van while I arrange the boys.
Reversing out the driveway, I ask the buckled-in boys if they’re “Ready for an adventure?”
Little did I know…
I switched on GPS, and double checked the address via Droid.
Driving away, a small, plastic bag blew off the side of the windscreen.
Man, I hate litterers.
Freeway traffic was light, and I soon hit the final road leading to Victoria’s Secret.
Not knowing if it was on the left or right, I did as many males would – I cast away the physical address and looked for the physical attributes.
There must be a window-sized lingerie model somewhere around here… and there she is… On the left!
Like a lacy beacon in a busty, er busy street, the store entrance was at street level, which meant I wouldn’t have to waste time traversing any strange malls.
Oh, happy days, this is easy.
“We did it, boys, we did it,” I shouted to the kids, (as if we’d travelled nonstop from Boston to Los Angeles.)
“Papa, can I have the snack bag, please,” said No. 1 Son.
“Let me just find parking.”
I made the next left. It was all loading and unloading only.
Then I saw a parking garage offering two options: the flat $9 rate, or $2 per thirty minutes.
“Boys… look sharp… if we rush, we can get there, and be back here in thirty minutes, right?”
“Papa, can I have the snack bag, please?”
“Sure, sure, let me just park.”
I told the lady we were here for the $2 special. She smiled and warned not to park in levels one to four, “‘cos you’ll get a ticket.”
It’s 10 a.m. on a Friday, there’ll be spots on level five. Surely.
At level three, we pass ROSS, (a clothing store.) Momentarily, I muse and wonder if they sell Victoria’s Secrets panties. They might be cheaper, too??
But then you won’t get the little pink bag thing…
By the time we reached level eight, the older boys were playing “what’s the next number!” game, and I was getting dizzy.
We parked (on eight) and Operation Buy Panties was a GO!
Stroller out – wheels locked. CHECK.
No. 3 Son in car seat – attached to stroller. CHECK
No. 2 Son unbuckled and removed from van. Placed next to left hip. CHECK.
Reach in cramped space for No. 1 Son’s shoes (he always removes them.)CHECK.
Continue searching for shoes like I’m bobbing for apples. OH, Check.
A just-before-leaving-the-house memory hits me with the force of a Wonderbra.
“In the new house. Papa. Can I have the snack bag, please?”
“Oh, yeah, Sure. Here, take this.”
Let me think, let me think.
OK, No. 1 Son can’t walk with no shoes…oh my gosh, he’ll cut himself… get an infection, and we’ll have to take him to the ER – probably on Mother’s Day. No, no, no, no.
But what to do?
Give in –let the panties win?
What would I tell my wife?
I looked at the kids… No. 1 Son was happy with his snack bag, No. 2 was playing with the front tire and waiting for further orders, while No. 3 son chilled out atop the stroller.
Atop the stroller.
Kids can sit on those.
Kids without shoes.
I had a great idea….
Releasing the car seat (with baby) I placed both next to the hood – where I now remember was where I’d left the Mother’s Day card… That was the “litter” blowing off the windscreen earlier...
Never mind the card, don’t forget the baby.
With No. 1 Son locked in stroller, I grabbed the baby harness my wife wears with ease.
Licensed by a car company, it was a bloody straitjacket… I couldn’t figure what was up or down – even when I held the logo out in front like a hood ornament.
I tried one hand here, unsnapping this and grabbing that…but whatever, dude… that thing wouldn’t hold air, let alone No. 3 Son.
Wiping sweat off my brow, I threw the harness back and said to heck with it.
I’ll carry baby, roll the stroller and No. 2 Son will follow my sharply given commands.
Off we go.
Ten steps later… after weaving stroller somewhat toward the elevator, I called halt, which three of us did (considering I was holding one and pushing the other.)
No. 2 Son however... he kept on trucking like he was freeeee.
“Catck me, Papa. Papa. Catck me…”
Stroller wheels locked, baby bouncing, I catch up with the Runaway Son as he turns for level seven...
Bloody Nora, this ain’t gonna work.
Baby in stroller – pull straps TIGHT.
(Remember to scootch him back to center as needed.)
Hold No. 2 Son in manly arms; hunker down for serious eye contact moment with No. 1 Son, (who looks at me in awe for arranging such a great adventure.)
“OK, you’re walking to the store without any shoe–”
“COOL!”“Watch for glass or rocks. If the ground is too hot, let me know.”
He gets my most serious glare.
“And, whatever happens, don’t. Tell. Your. Mother!”
“Mama will find out when she reads this…”
“She already knows… plus you didn’t really say the last few lines – I’m using ‘artistic license.’”
Stopping by the elevator, I lower No. 2 Son, and catching my breath, I relax.
Nothing could go wrong…
I looked to my right as No. 1 Son pressed NINE and TEN.
“No, no. ‘G’, we need ‘G.”
I turned to see what No. 2 was doing as our unlucky companion pressed into a corner.
OK, good. This elevator has only one bank of buttons. Nothing for No. 2 to press…
Except the emergency call button…
“Light. Papa. Light. On.”
“Hello, Emergency Services. Is there an emergency,” said A Stern Voice from the speaker, set about eighteen inches off the ground.
Great job, Papa…
OK, fine. Be like that.
I threw him a “sorry” as I regrouped the troops.
I moved No. 2 son to the lesser of my two burning arms, unlocked the stroller and we lumbered off into the heart of Honolulu.
Next stop: Victoria’s Secret.
The streets of Honolulu were hot and humid as I walked along the upscale
of course it was
district leading to Victoria’s Secret.
Stores like PRADA and COACH were here and I passed Armani Exchange and its sandwich board advertising a special: Men’s Shorts: two for $88.
Holding No. 2 son, while pushing baby, I kept a low profile so Hawaii 5-0 wouldn’t arrest me for neglecting my shoeless son…
Bad parent! Bad parent!
And then, there she was.
Victoria, and all her secrets.
I’ve never been so happy to see a half-naked, sexy woman in a window – even after living in Amsterdam for three years.
I walked into the blessed relief of air conditioned bras.
I looked around.
Good grief, where do I begin?
A lady in black caught my terror-struck eyes and immediately asked if I needed any help?
“Look, Papa, it’s a construction hat…”
“Oh, yes, please can you help... Son, get your bloody head out of that bra…”
Curtailing the able-bodied boys, I fished out my wife’s wish list.
“Do you have these… please?” I blubbered.
“Ah yes, sure, follow me upstairs.”
“There’s a second floor… There’s more bras and panties?”
(I own eight pairs of boxers – the extra one is for emergencies… I’m not getting any younger, you see.)
“Yes, sir. And, the elevator is right over here…”
No! Please not that…
“I can carry the stroller up the stairs, if you like?” I asked hopefully.
She shook her head, and we gathered outside the steel door.
It opened. The boys ran in and No. 2 Son looked for “Light! Light!
I stood guard over the few buttons and smiled at my guardian angel (who must have left those big wing things at home.)
Exiting, she brought me to one corner, where hundreds and hundreds of panties lay on display.
Rows and rows... it was like a rainbow of panties...
Finally, I caught a break. The boys found a huge loveseat (of course) and were busy beating each other to a bloody pulp.
My sweet, well-behaved (semi-shoeless) boys.
And, then she bent to pull on a drawer.
My eyes bugged, I mean literally, they nearly popped out.
I looked down, across… and then behind me.
There were dozens of drawers, all full of drawers.
I stared at this one drawer though – my holy grail of panties.
Imagining a white light (and some Gregorian chanting) emanating from the back of the drawer, I looked up at my Angel.
“Is this it? Is this what I came for?”
Thanking her so very much for her wonderful help, I mustered the troops.
“Guys, come here, quick!”
As I made our way to the cashier, a “buy something for yourself, too…” memory hit me, but my internal battery was down to one flashing red bar.
I had a headache.
We paid – and after an uneventful walk of shame…
“Look Mama, that boy over there with the bald man, he has no shoes.”
“Shh, dahling, don’t talk about poor people like that – and besides, look at these two cheap pairs of shorts I bought your father.”
…we made it back to the van, drove home... and that’s the end.
NO WAY, dude that sucks… what really happened?
OK, OK…so there is a little more….
Suh-weet! Encore, encore!
Ahh, thanks, I’ve never had a writer’s encore before…
Fast Forward to Mother’s Day. My wife is enjoying breakfast in bed as I share the adventure of the previous Friday…
No. 1 Son decides it’s good to share.
“I had no shoes, Mama, I walked with no shoes!”Thank. You. Son.
“You’re Welcome, Papa!”
Anyway, it is with immense pride that I watched my beloved remove her five new undies – the spoils of my now infamous panty raid.
Three of the five panties were the wrong style.
Two of the five were the wrong size.
###Gentlemen, the moral of the story is…
Don’t let this happen to you.
And, always have flowers in your back up plan :)