The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

July 29, 2012

A girls’ guide to safe thong-wearing

By Kelly Kazek
kelly@athensnews-courier.com

— Editor’s Note: Because Kelly Kazek was at a high school reunion – she graduated in whichever year adds up to her being 35 – and stayed out until almost 10 p.m. for the first time in a decade, she did not get a column written this week. Below is a classic column published in 2008 that she happens to think is still filled with relevant information.

I feel I must apologize to my coworker, Jean “Safety Hazard” Cole, who was the subject of a recent column.

We in the newsroom thought Lean Jean the Eye-Injuring Machine, as we call her for short, was an anomaly, the only person in the world who could “shoot her eye out” with seemingly innocent objects such as a Big Texas Cinnamon Roll from the vending machine or a Rose of Sharon bush with a Clint Eastwood complex (“Do ya feel lucky, punk? Well do ya?”)

I admit it. I was wrong.

On Monday, a Los Angeles woman filed a lawsuit claiming she has suffered a life-altering eye injury from — I hate to say it for fear of creating a nationwide underwear panic — a thong.

Yes, a pair of panties, which in my experience have always been non-violent, has joined the list of items mamas must warn children about: “You are not old enough for your own thong. You could put your eye out.” Or in an argument with a teen daughter: “I don’t care what your friends are doing. I’d rather see you with visible panty lines than lying in an emergency room somewhere.”

And this does make a good cautionary tale for mothers of teen boys who can warn their sons of the dangers of getting anywhere near girls’ underwear.

The injured woman, 52-year-old Macrida Patterson, is suing Victoria’s Secret, claiming a pair of its Sexy Little Thing low-rise v-strings is defective.

Patterson claims a “decorative metallic piece” flew off the undies, striking her in the eye and damaging her cornea. The injury cost her a few days’ missed work and will be “affecting her the rest of her life,” according to thesmokinggun.com. No monetary amount was listed for damages, other than a check in the box for “Action is an unlimited civil case (amount exceeds $25,000)”, which in lawyer speak means “the amount a large company is willing to give to make the problem disappear.”

You, like me, may be envisioning Patterson stretching the underwear, slingshot-like, between her left forefinger and right thumb, readying it for a shot at the head of her significant other who likely given the wrong answer to “Does this make my butt look big?” Suddenly, the thong goes awry, as thongs are wont to do, and life as she knows it is over.

But, alas, that is not what occurred. Patterson, it seems, can take no part of the blame for the errant thong. Her suit states that at the time of the injury the product was “being used in the manner intended” and “in a manner that was readily foreseeable by defendants as involving a substantial danger not readily apparent. Adequate warnings of danger were not given.”

Hmmm. If I read the legal-eze correctly, the suit is saying Victoria’s Secret should have been aware the thong had mayhem on its mind, even though it gave no signs, and should have put a warning on the label.

Perhaps Sexy Little Things should come with instructions for safe use:

“Upon stepping from shower, follow these steps:

1. Don safety goggles and helmet. Steel-toed boots are not required but are recommended.

2. Grasp v-string with left thumb at Point A and right thumb at Point B, as shown in diagram. Hold thumbs apart, spreading elasticized strings of garment to approximate width of user’s hips.

3. Gingerly place Foot 1, the right, into Space C. Once it is firmly on the floor, repeat process with Foot 2, the left, and Space D.

4. Carefully tug garment at Points E and F until it comes to rest securely on Pelvis, marked P.

Note: DO NOT remove safety equipment until garment has been safely covered by outer garment such as a skirt, jeans or other form of slacks. In fact, skirts should be avoided because, while user’s eyes are now safe, others could be struck by flying decorative metallic objects if user abruptly crosses her legs or walks across a subway grate.”

I asked Jean, who is familiar with corneal injuries, her thoughts on the subject.

She thinks this is one eye injury she could have avoided.

“If I was a 52-year-old woman and I was putting on a thong, I would’ve had my eyes closed,” she said.

Now there’s some good safety advice.

Kelly Kazek can be reached at kelly@athensnews-courier.com or visit http://www.amazon.com/Kelly-Kazek/e/B0042SRORI.