Presented in partnership with Icon.
I remember the first time it happened.
I was fifteen years old, and hanging out at my friend’s place for a sleepover. There were a few girls there, and I was anxious to make the best impression on them. We were supposed to go to sleep hours ago, but you know how those things go – quiet laughter and whispers until her parents went to bed. We were sharing hilarious stories, and suddenly she hit me with an especially good one – and I couldn’t stop laughing.
In between the snorts and attempts at muffling my laughter that only caused me to laugh harder, I felt something warm slide the slightest bit down my thigh. Heat rushed to my face, but I got up before anyone could notice.
Making up some excuse or another, I ran to the bathroom, anxiously flicking on the light and checking to see what had happened. There it was – the slightest stream of pee. It looked so harmless, but shame overwhelmed me as I dabbed at it with toilet paper then quietly, quickly washed my leg. I scrubbed at the spot where the pee had touched furiously, angry with myself. How could I have let this happen?
I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t tell any of the other girls there. The night dogged me through the next few years, as I found myself facing similar situations, struggling to maintain some sense of normalcy and keep things under lock and key. It felt like I was the only one out there struggling with this – thing.
I felt betrayed by my body every time it happened, every time my joy echoed loudly through the room – joy that would soon translate into a quick run to the closest bathroom to check on the damage. I didn’t feel connected to my body, so frustrated was I by the reality that I needed protection to be able to keep things semi-normal. I was so embarrassed by it, so convinced was I that I was the only one going through it. It left me always on edge. I used pantiliners, but they only worked for so long, and it was a mess dealing with them daily.
So imagine my surprise as I sat one day near some young moms at the mosque, eating my dinner between prayers in Ramadan, and heard them laughing over the very same issue I had been hiding inside for so long. I couldn’t help it, I turned towards them, inched the slightest bit further to catch what they were saying about it.
“Honestly, I’ve been dealing with it ever since Sufyan was born,” the first one said to the other in between bites of biryani and yogurt, “It’s just something I have to cope with, you know? The perils of having kids!” She laughed.
In an almost-hushed tone, one that was low enough for me to lean over, the other mom said, “I have the same exact issue. But it’s been happening since I was younger. Sneezing was always the worst. Have you heard of that underwear that soak up the problem?”
The first mom shook her head, and I bent in just the slightest bit. Underwear that could fix the entire issue? What? The second mom pulled out her phone, typed something in it – and showed the first mom, who scrolled through the page. “Wow. These look amazing.”
I couldn’t help myself – I jumped into the conversation. “I’m so sorry, I heard you talking about – the pee thing – it’s something I deal with, too. What are you using for it?” The second mom smiled at me and nudged the first mom, who handed me the phone.
Icon: Pee-Proof Underwear. The words jumped out at me, and I read further until finally looking up – “Do these actually work?” What if they weren’t worth it? The price – $30 per pair – was a bit much for a college student, but I was desperate.
The second mom nodded, “Honestly, I was worried too, but you don’t feel or smell anything at all. It’s weird. Plus you can always return them if they don’t work in the first month, but I’ve actually ended up buying a few pairs.” I couldn’t believe it, handing the phone back to her. Thanking them for the information, I went home that night and looked up the underwear.
Yeah, I was skeptical, but hell, there was nothing else I knew could do the same thing. Remembering what the mom told me about her experiences using the underwear, I clicked purchase and waited for the underwear to arrive. The day after they came, there was a big hangout I was invited to, and I needed to make sure everything was perfect.
So I carefully pulled the underwear on. They felt like normal underwear with the slightest bit of extra padding. I checked myself out in the mirror – I looked good, and the underwear hugged me perfectly. Anxiety went through me for a second, but I finished getting ready and headed out.
The night was a blur, full of friends and food and more food, but towards the end, I burst out laughing – and, the force of habit prevailed: I ran to the bathroom, terrified of what I’d find. Nothing. I found nothing.
The underwear had worked. They’d soaked in whatever had happened, and there was no scent or physical evidence that might ruin my evening.
I felt like crying, the years of anxiety, secrecy and underwear changes finally gone. In the weeks that followed, the experience of feeling protected, no matter what, pushed me to finally relax and appreciate life for exactly what it was: amazing.
My confidence and full laughter came back – and it was all thanks to a pair of incredible underwear I’d taken a chance on.