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Panty police: Florida lawmaker wants to regulate intimate apparel try-ons

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Most women don’t try on underwear. For obvious reasons, it’s just icky. And stores who sell intimate apparel -– stuff that touches your hoo-ha -– have policies forbidding underwear try-ons and signage reminding women to leave their own undergarments on when trying on bathing suits or other nether-region covering garments.

And there are those nifty little hygienic stickers in the crotch as an added barrier against multiple vagina contact.

But, if all of those precautions are ignored by, let’s just face it, a rude and nasty shopper, there’s nothing stopping retailers from putting those garments back on the shelf.

State Sen. Geraldine Thompson, a Democrat representing voters in Orlando, is trying to change that. She’s renewing a push preventing retailers from allowing customers to try on undergarments like panties and swimsuit bottoms unless the items are tried on over clothing or if disposable shields are used.

As an added layer of vaginal contamination measurers, retailers would be forced to throw away garments thought to have violated the no-touching rule.

There’s no word on how Thompson proposes retailers to know whether a customer complied with the rule or not. Perhaps there is a jobs opportunity in here as retailers scramble to hire panty-monitors.

Trying on a bathing suit? This is Susan; she’ll be your panty police today to ensure your private parts are safely tucked away from touching unpurchased garments.

The state has a heap of problems. Medicaid expansion still hasn’t been addressed. Indigent care costs in the state are expected to be an ongoing problem without it. Climate change threatens drowning South Florida a hell of a lot sooner than anyone thought. The political right and left continue to wage war against one another, leading to costly special sessions to hash out budget deals.

But Thompson is just really worried about third-party vagina contact.

Here’s the thing about trying on what her bill describes as intimate apparel. Any woman venturing into a fitting room to figure out whether a medium is big enough or if those stripes make her butt too big has a personal responsibility to maintain her own vaginal independence.

Put simply, women don’t keep their own panties in place while trying on swimsuit bottoms because it’s a rule; they do so because they have no earthly way of knowing whether the last person to try it on had done the same.

And for those women who select a new pair of panties or the perfect summer suit, if there is any question of cleanliness once the item has been purchased, guess what, there are washing machines for that.

The fact that this is on anyone’s legislative agenda is not only embarrassing for the state, as per usual, it’s absolutely mind-boggling because it’s not the first time.

What had to have happened to this woman in the fitting room to make her wake up one day and think, “shucks, I’m going to use my legislative privilege and resources to regulate fitting rooms and undies”?

I imagine a scene at the Thompson residence where she’s carefully inspecting the crotch of all of her new panties from Target with a black light finding traces of bodily fluids. Rather than throwing them in the washing machine or, I don’t know, taking them back to the store for a refund, Thompson cooks up the worst idea that has ever existed.

It’s funny she’s a Democrat because apparently Thompson is just as afraid of vaginas as her GOP rivals.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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