“Mmmm, your pussy smells good,” the man in the faded-red Commodore whispers, a nauseatingly pleased tone in his voice. The sound is muffled by the presence of a worn pair of my underwear in front of his face. He is holding them up with both his hands, and his fingers are curled. He takes another sniff, slowly, and pulls the knickers away from his face, wiggling his moustache. He places them in the lap of his too-faded-to-be-fashionable blue jeans. The jeans are belted and tucked into a navy and red striped polo shirt, and his stomach hangs like a floppy pancake over his belt.
I grasp the plastic handle to my left, open the door, and step from the car. I pull my skirt down as I step out, careful not to give him more than what he paid for.
“Have a nice day,” I call behind me, and walk away, without glancing back at the car. I slip my hands into my pockets, transferring the cash he gave me into my skirt, and act as though I had never gotten into the vehicle in the first place.
I had just returned from a trip around Europe after quitting my job at a hospital, and was commencing the much-dreaded and willingly half-hearted job search that I knew was inevitable. All I wanted to do was pay my rent, and pay my rent in the most effortless way possible. And I managed to do so – by selling worn pairs of my underwear. At the very beginning it was terrifying – what was I supposed to do? Execute the exchange like a drug deal? Hand the panties over like a present? The first time I traded, I stood in the parking lot of the park down the road from my house, shaking from fear. But when the car pulled up beside me, I soon learned the etiquette – I simply had to hop into the car, take the money, hand over the panties in a plastic bag, and get out. I knew that entering a stranger’s car was inherently dangerous, especially given the situation and my inexperience, but it was less suspicious than just handing the panties through an open car window, since we organised to meet in such a public space, and in a suburb where I knew a lot of people. It felt less clinical too, and I knew if the latter had occurred I’d just feel as though I was working at McDonald’s again, handing over slimy produce to an anonymous customer.
To make sure I felt somewhat safe, I advised a weary friend of my actions, sending a message containing the car’s number plate and my whereabouts, along with time I would be returning home. And I did return, with a strangely accomplished smile on my face and crisp cash in my pocket.
From then onwards, I would hop into countless cars, from BMW’s to Nissan Skylines. My fear quickly subsided when I met up with a man who was so shy he could hardly speak, stuttering, “Sorry… I just… have a… panty… fetish,” and then purchased the two panties he’d asked for and the ones that I was wearing for an extra $50. It was then that I realised that I was the one with the power. After all, they were paying for a piece of fabric that had done nothing but rub against my vag. Mostly I just sold the pairs of underwear that I had been too lazy to throw out, or ones which were ugly or uncomfortable to wear. Once I had used all of these up, I bought the cheapest department store underwear I could find, and made fifty times the profit simply because they smelled like my genitals. Sometimes I’d even just spit on the fabric so that it looked wet. After I passed them the panties, they would say “Thanks darling,” the same way they probably did when their daughter passed the salt at the dinner table. I imagined them keeping the panties in the pockets of their jeans and sniffing them while they were on the toilet, or their wives finding them in the bottom of their wardrobes years later.
The strangest event of all occurred when I travelled to a train station and hopped into a car waiting in the car park. A serious-looking man was sitting in the driver’s seat. He handed me the money and I handed him the bag like I normally did. Just when I was about to leave, he asked if I liked to get involved in role-play. I hesitated and, ignoring my obvious reluctance, he told me that he had a baby-sitting fantasy. I nodded and waited for him to continue, thinking that the fantasy he was alluding to was just one of those naughty babysitter fantasies. But suddenly he pulled out a shopping bag filled with nappies, and sat it on my lap. He looked at me and said, “I want you to babysit me. These are the nappies I like to wear.” I got out of the car as quickly as I could. Later that day he sent me a text: “Put me in a nappy. Breast feed me. Show me how you masturbate. Sit on my face. Spank me. Inspect my nappy. Change me if I have wet.” I showed the message to my friends and the thought of me role-playing someone able to look after a child when I cannot even make toasties without burning them made my friends spit out their Passion Pop like a squirting adult star.
Not long after, I decided to take up stripping and put my soiled underwear days behind me. I enjoyed the strange occupation for what it was worth, even though it was only brief.
Carly Smith is a proud writer, stripper and feminist currently located in Melbourne, until her transient nature decides otherwise.