Here's something nobody tells you:

Someday, your panties will be too small.

I can't say when this will happen for you.

But I can tell you when this happened for me.

The way Hemingway said it would happen.

One of his characters in The Sun Also Rises is asked how he went bankrupt, to which he answers, "Gradually, then suddenly."

He must have been talking about me and my Hanes.

Cotton undies, that is, which I buy in a six-pack. It's the only six-pack in the vicinity of my abdomen.

And they're white, of course. Why bother with color? Who needs more decisions to make in a day?

The gradual part is that for about two weeks, I had been noticing my undies feeling tighter. I thought it was my imagination, or maybe I was picking out newer pairs of undies.

I used to like getting new undies.

Every baby likes a fresh diaper, even me.

I'd put them on and feel ready to take on the world.

Now I curse the new undies.

By the way, with me, "new" is a relative term. I keep undies for 20 years, or until the dogs get them, whichever comes first.

I know some people actually buy toys for their dogs. I let my dogs dig in my hamper.

Or, really, my bathroom floor.

Who am I kidding, with a hamper? I don't own a hamper. I just put my dirty clothes in the washing machine, where it cools its heels until I wash it. I do laundry more often in winter, because if I don't, the pipes in my laundry room freeze. So I'm generally cleaner in winter, and if you see me in December through February, give me a hug.

Otherwise, you're taking your chances.

To return to the point, when my undies started feeling tight, I began bypassing the newer undies in favor of the old ones, which had that nice, loose-goosey, worn-in feel.

I love old undies, with elastic that reaches from here to Jersey.

Aged to perfection.

Here's when my undies are truly their best: When they become a flag. The white flag of surrender.

Not that it's symbolic.

But anyway, after about two weeks, all of a sudden, whether old or new, my undies had gotten too tight.

And this happened during the holidays.

I was so uncomfortable that right after Christmas dinner, I went in the pantry when no one was looking, got scissors out of the drawer, and cut my underwear at the waistband.

And on each leg.

I went back in the kitchen and nobody was the wiser, until now.

And I still wear my cut-flag undies, because they're the only ones that fit. But what caused this?

The conclusion is inescapable, and I have to face the facts:

Something's wrong with my dryer.

That's the only logical conclusion, right?

It probably has to do with whatever's going on in my laundry room. Maybe the pipes or something. Like, because it's an unheated room, it messes up the mechanics of the dryer and shrinks my undies.

So, mystery solved.

I know, you're thinking that that's not the reason. You're probably thinking that I gained weight.

But I got on the scale and I haven't gained any more than I gained before.

Plus, I mentioned this to my friend, and she said the same thing had happened to her, and she hadn't gained any weight.

Also there's another factor you have to consider.

My shoes got tighter, too.

Again, gradually and then suddenly, none of my shoes fit.

I've always been a size 8, but they feel too narrow now.

And my friend told me the same thing happened to her!

Gravity is rearranging me, and I suspect this has to do with aging.  If so, it's something nobody tells you.

Still, it's not that bad.

You can buy new Hanes.

And if your feet get wider, you're harder to knock over.

Despite my white-flag undies, I'm not surrendering.

I'm merely broadening my base.

Like a Hershey's Kiss.


Look for Lisa and Francesca's new humor collection, "I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But the Pool," and Lisa's new Rosato & DiNunzio novel, "Exposed," in stores now. Also look for Lisa's new domestic thriller, "After Anna" coming April 10.