I think that my dog might fancy me. Certainly if past experiences of everyone who take bites out of my underwear is anything to go by. At last count Mister, the dog, has nibbled his way through at least fifteen pairs of my knickers, left significant bite marks in two bras and holes in various other garments.
Aside from being sort of carnally disturbing, it is increasingly embarrassing. In particular I recall the time he dropped a gnarled pant at the feet of the boiler maintenance man, trying to engage in him some kind of throw and fetch activity.
Undoubtedly it would make for a more visually appealing story if I conjured up the image of a bikini-style item of lingerie but, in truth, the one thing that my smalls are not is small. This was a giant, comfortable, black pant, one of a multipack that I believe the retailer describes as control-panel-full-briefs. (Sounds like something civil servants in Brussels should be preparing in advance of Brexit).
Anyway in what I suppose was a fortunate development, albeit one rather crushing to feelings of allure, Boiler Man took one look at the girth of the fabric and assumed that the garment was a T-shirt. “The hairy varmint is always making off with my son’s football shirts,” I confirmed.
What has become clear is that the hairy beast likes the cut of all my pants. High, low, with a visible panty line or not, he’ll scoff the lot. If nothing else the financial implications of this are becoming increasingly untenable. I took advice from the SAS guidebook that I once found nestling in a random toilet: SAS Urban Survival Handbook: How to Protect Yourself Against Terrorism, Natural Disasters, Fires, Home Invasions, and Everyday Health and Safety Hazards.
Although missing a chapter dedicated to “brief disasters’ I did garner sufficient advice to keep my undies in what I now call lockdown mode.
Unfortunately it remains a work in progress. Making my way back from school drop-off I fell into chatting with my neighbour, a fellow mum but not someone I knew particularly well. I said that I was dropping my dogs back home because I had remembered a school meeting that I had to go to.
Attempting a bit of bonding banter I said that I was going to look a little strange at this parent/teacher gathering because, despite the day’s clement outlook, I was going to have to keep wearing my raincoat. “My top is so small it makes my boobs look like they are making an aggressive bid for freedom,” I told my enchanted neighbour. “But I was just sort of expecting to be dog walking in the rain so I didn’t think that it would matter,” I explained.
My neighbour pointed out that now I was actually standing outside my home I could use the opportunity to change my top and rid myself of the necessity of wearing my rain mac inside.
“Genius,” I said in something I latterly accept was an overstatement.
I then spent five minutes at home in my laundry room and discovered things.
Some things that I thought it would be fun to share in a casual, getting-to-know-you, let’s develop this relationship a little better, sort of way. And this is why, like some kind of deranged performing seal with a medial personality disorder, I skipped through her gate and rang her doorbell to impart my news.
Almost immediately I realised that mentioning my unmentionables really equated to social suicide. My head screamed “Abort, Abort,” and I made a dash to their garden gate. But then I couldn’t decide what was more damaging: Being seen to ring the doorbell and scarper? Or saying what I’d come to say? At this point my neighbour’s quite serious husband answered the door and caught sight, of what I can only imagine, must have looked like me indecisively dry humping his gate.
“Hello,” I said in a querulously high-pitched voice, “I was sort of going to say a quick something to your wife but actually, you know, I think I’m in a bit of a rush,” I twittered frenetically.
At that moment his wife came into view and I realised that it was time to put up or shut up. Or talk about controlled parking zones. But I didn’t. Like a slow moving car crash my mouth started to open and form shapes. “I just wanted to let you know that I did go home and change my top,” I informed my rapt audience.
“That is good,” she said, not un-factually.
“Yes, yes, and then something happened, and well it made me laugh, and I just thought- ha- I’ll pop over, tell you and give you a quick laugh,” I said scanning exit points and wondering if I should move abroad.
“And so I took off my anorak to change my top and realised that I had a windy crotch,” I SAID OUT LOUD TO MY NEIGHBOUR WHO I DO NOT KNOW VERY WELL.
“It’s because the dog had decided that he likes eating my pants and trouser crotches,” I CONTINUED TO EXPLAIN OUT LOUD TO MY NEIGHBOUR WHO I DO NOT KNOW VERY WELL.
“I just thought that it was funny that I had been so worried about my top not fitting and keeping my anorak on when all the time I could have been sat there with a giant, gusty gusset,” I finished with onomatopoeic aplomb.
There was then a pause, a brief expression of departure by me, and a dim memory of looks exchanged that it still makes me hot to remember.
The solace I have gained from my over-sharing of dog-munching-undies related stories is the subsequent, unexpected sharing of similar anecdotes by sympathetic dog owners. I truly have enough to fill an, admittedly niche, album.
Of note one friend who was kind enough to tell me about her experience of the vet, herself and two practice nursing assistants, silently watching the re-emergence of her lacy thong from the gastrointestinal depths of her Cavapoo. “He then held them up to the light with tongs and asked me if I wanted them back,” she recalled. “Really I was just relieved that they weren’t my new tasselled pasties,” she said, necessitating an immediate and quite different discussion altogether.
This is dedicated to Steve C, who shall remain partially anonymous due to possible reservations about being publicly affiliated with my windy crotch. But thank you so much for your encouragement to keep writing. You are a literary giant, a superhero of a human-being and an official decent spud.