Last month, I published a letter from "Concerned Dad in Virginia," a single dad who objected to his 14-year-old daughter wearing thong underwear. This dad was very conscious of his daughter's choices and was working hard to make sure that she didn't grow up too fast. His question was whether he should make a big deal over this, or perhaps "let it slide."
I suggested that, after talking to her about it, he should let it slide.
Readers had a lot to say on this topic, and a sampling of responses appears here. Though most agreed with my basic advice to this dad, I learned something from my female correspondents.
To wit: For women, thongs are not sexually provocative.
Women say they see thongs as a panty line-elimination device. And a visible panty line (or VPL, as we termed it when I was in high school) is, apparently, a fairly serious fashion malady.
I can't speak for the men.
Wisely, they have stayed silent on the scourge of VPL.
Your answer to the father who was concerned about his 14-year-old daughter wearing thongs was a little off base. His attitude seemed to be that wearing thongs is something slutty. He says she's a good girl and a good student, and that her mother explained that the thongs were worn to eliminate panty lines.
You should have explained to him that that's exactly what thongs are for. Most women and teenagers I know (including my daughter) wear them for that very reason, and none of them act or dress inappropriately.
Thongs are as appropriate with some outfits as strapless bras.
Would you wear a bra with straps under a strapless gown?
Please, I beg of you. Let's leave me out of this.
"Concerned Dad" should sit down and talk to his daughter about her thong underwear, but not "let it slide." I have worked in the public school system for 28 years, and if she is wearing her "shirts a bit high and her jeans a bit low," there's a good chance the thong will show when she bends over or sits down -- intentionally or unintentionally.
When my adult girls were younger, thongs were for showing no panty line, jeans came to the waist and shirts covered their hips or were tucked in.
Most of the children have no idea of the sexual implication this is sending, while savvy, older students know exactly the wave they are causing.
Been There, Seen It
I venture that when your adult girls were younger, wearing thongs was actually a MORE provocative act, as they were not as widely worn as they are today.
Curses, Monica Lewinsky!
I laughed when I read this "Concerned Dad's" question. He feels it's inappropriate for his eighth-grade daughter to wear thongs. I thought so too before my daughter enlightened me on how comfortable they are, if you purchase the right style. And no more panty lines!
At 48 years old, I refuse to wear anything else and have since educated my 85-year-old mother on the benefits of this particular undergarment. She wears them too!
Okay. I could live without that last detail, but thank you so much for writing in. As I said in my original answer to this question, underwear choices are best left to the individual.
Write to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.
(c)2005 by the Chicago Tribune
Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.