Buying Boys Underwear for My Daughter

(This article was reprinted by The Good Men Project and The Huffington Post)

I can’t imagine that any dad is entirely comfortable taking their daughter underwear shopping. Blogger Jim Higley did a great article back in April about taking his older daughter on shopping “dates” to Victoria’s Secret, and Higley really conveyed that wonderful, uncomfortable panic that can overcome a dad who’s forced to stand too long in the lingerie and unmentionables section.

While moms have their own unique on-the-job difficulties, I know way too many dads who are perpetually nervous about unwittingly coming across as a pervert or a pedophile, thanks to stupid societal prejudices about the perceived dangers of men interacting with children. And, though I disagree with all of those stereotypes, I will admit – when I linger in the girls’ underwear section at Target, my personal levels of social anxiety go off the charts.

Fortunately, unlike Higley, at the moment, I’m getting off fairly easily when it comes to taking my daughter underwear shopping. She’s only five years old, so I’m (hopefully) years away from flop-sweating and avoiding eye contact while I hold a purse next to the Victoria’s Secret changing rooms in the mall. Right now, we just go to Target or Kohl’s, she sees a six-pack of underwear with her favorite characters on it, I toss it in the cart, and we’re good to go. Character underwear makes undergarment shopping super-easy and predictable for the parents of young children.

Or so I thought.

Our underwear shopping system seemed to be going fine until my daughter discovered the existence of the BOYS’ underwear aisle.

“DAD! Come over here!”

I followed her voice and found my daughter standing, slack-jawed and indignant, looking at the much, much larger and more varied selection of character underwear in the boys’ aisle.

“They have Lego Star Wars underwear! And superheroes! OH! And Phineas and Ferb! Dad, can I get these? Do they have girl ones?”

And I had to stand and tell her that no, no, they didn’t make girl versions of these brands of character underwear and I didn’t really have a good explanation why.