Little girl asks 'Pilgrim' woman about hosiery on school field trip to Plimouth Patuxet: 'Don't you wear pantyhose?'

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

Plimouth Plantation was a popular field trip destination when I was a kid. It still is, I imagine, but now it's called Plimouth Patuxet, the "Plantation" having been removed due to negative connotations associated with the word.

I'll refer to it as Plimouth Patuxet throughout the remainder of this story even though it wouldn't receive its current name until decades after I visited on a field trip back when I was a child.

When my elementary school classmates and I took a big yellow school bus to Plimouth Patuxet, a good number of us were wearing pantyhose. Do little girls still wear pantyhose? I doubt it. These days, I'd venture to guess most adults aren't wearing pantyhose either judging by the scarcity of the product on shelves in grocery stores, pharmacies, and department stores.

Believe it or not, back when I was a kid, the pantyhose aisle in most stores was huge. I'm not talking about tights or stockings although we had those, too, these were sheer or opaque pantyhose with or without a control top panel that made dressing for work, school, or a night out feel like squeezing yourself into a too-small sausage casing.

Control top pantyhose rolled down. Regular pantyhose slid down. Neither stayed up or felt comfortable. Both were equally susceptible to runs. If you wore pantyhose on a daily basis, you either spent a small fortune on replacing them or you wore pantyhose with runs in them by dabbing existing runs with clear nailpolish in an attempt to stop the runs from growing.

Pantyhose caused chafing, sweating, rashes, and overall discomfort, and everybody wore them, which brings us back to Plimouth Patuxet. When one of my classmates saw a flash of bare ankle beneath one of the Pilgrim's skirts, she was shocked.

"Excuse me," my classmate called out. "Don't you wear pantyhose?"

"Pantyhose?" the woman replied, never breaking character. "What is pantyhose? I have never heard of it."

"You've never heard of pantyhose?" My classmate sounded outright alarmed.

"No," the woman confirmed. "What is this pantyhose of which you speak?"

I don't know why that memory stays with me. Perhaps it's because I've never enjoyed wearing pantyhose, and yes, I was wearing pantyhose on that day.

But I do know what awakened the memory recently. I was listening to a podcast, and the hosts were talking about pantyhose when one of them, the younger one, expressed shock and disbelief at the idea of teenagers wearing pantyhose.

For podcast aficionados, I'm referring to Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. If you know, you know.

I understood Hardstark's incredulity even if I was one of those pantyhose-wearing teens years ago. Why would teenagers wear pantyhose?

What do you think about people still wearing pantyhose in 2022? Is it a product that has passed its prime? I think so. Comments are welcome.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

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