The Pink Damper

June 4, 2020
Spring 2002
a picture of briefs hanging outside on a mostly sunny day by Patrick Kool, courtesy Unsplash Earlier in my life, I had a superiority complex. It cost me a number of social opportunities and played a role in straining the relationship between me and [#a6l10m]. You could say it played a role in her throwing me out on [#a8p44e]'s doorstep by Summer 2001. I missed out on learning some important life skills, and this story will focus on the category of personal upkeep, which includes cleaning myself and my laundry properly.
When I moved into a dorm with fifteen other people, I didn't initially think we'd have to share certain resources. I remained in a single bedroom for the entire time I was in Bradish Cottage. Up to this point, I still wore briefs. I also didn't know the implications of separating clothes by their type or following the care instructions on the tag. I usually removed the tag because it itched and didn't give it a second thought.
One day, shortly after they had me shop for new clothes at Cross County, it was my turn to use the washing machine. I made the mistake of mixing my clothes together without regard to their type, and I put my brand new red shirt in the mix with my boxer briefs. That's when the trouble began. As I was unloading my clothes from the dryer, one of my peers, [#p0e90c], spotting the tinged briefs, said, "Oh, my god, Eric, you wear panties!"
Soon enough, others chimed in, and people didn't let me forget about it for a week. I didn't have a lot of support from the staff (after all, they had little patience for me), who asked me to throw them all away. "First of all, they're not panties. The frills are missing and they're not made of silk. And, how about we get me some new underwear first before you ask me to parade around campus without any?"
My personal hygiene was atrocious back then, in spite of my present efforts. I didn't pay attention to my feet, and I picked shoe sizes that exacerbated certain conditions. I learned that dress socks make me prone to Athlete's Foot, which is why I don't use them now. I also have wider feet, so I had to look for shoes that accommodated that. When and if I did not, I would develop hardened skin on my pinkie toes, which was very uncomfortable.
Of course, my homelessness complicated my ability to be mindful of the health of my feet. It ultimately cost me a toenail by 2019, which was ingrown and I feared I'd get gangrene. I know I look better now, but once upon a time, that was not the case. Please take care of yourselves. It's a huge component of your self esteem.
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