Sometimes you just have to write…
Don’t worry, this post will be G rated! And it’ll be short. I just want to mention something about underwear, of all things. Every time I come here to the US, which isn’t often, I buy myself a supply of underpants: knickers, for you Brits.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t have underpants in the Netherlands; they do. But I never seem to find any that fit me properly. They’re too small or too big or ride up uncomfortably or rub along the stitches or have waistbands that cut into me irritatingly. And the ones that I’ve tried were tremendously expensive. You can’t try on underpants before you buy, can you? So you make your best guess and hope.
Does this mean that I’m just shaped differently than any Dutch person? Is there an American shape? Even from this distance I can hear any Europeans reading this chuckle patronizingly as you answer “Obese.” But I’m not obese anymore. Overweight? Yes. But not terribly so.
And you can’t say there’s any typically American shape anyway. The US is a remarkably diverse place, with people from every other country on earth, as well as many who are descendants of more than one country in an array of mixes. They’re tall, short, fat, skinny, stocky, lanky, and every shade and shape in between.
There is, however, a typical Dutch shape: tall. In Holland, at about 5’7”, I’m average at best. However, the Dutch, like the Americans, come in various shapes and sizes, from thin to obese. And there is a lot of mixing in Holland as well, though not nearly as much as in the US.
So for whatever reason, I can’t find underpants that fit me right in the Netherlands. On the contrary, thanks to the American penchant for commerce and competition, I can buy multi-packs of underwear that fits my requirements exactly for far cheaper than in the Netherlands, where they’re priced per pair.
So I hoard. I buy dozens, to last me for years. And wearing comfortable underpants for the next four years until I visit the US again is, for me, one of the joys of US travel.