There I was, on a rainy Tuesday, indulging in perfectly innocent garage loitering beneath my apartment block when I spotted the undergarment. It was quickly apparent to my sleuth-like mind that somebody had probably dropped the garment whilst carrying washing back from the laundry and that that someone was probably a female, what with the garment being a bra. Now I’m not really sure how much bras cost, but I assume they are not cheap as they are quite intricate and probably quite fiddly to make. Unlike a sock.
With this in mind I gathered up said garment and presented it to my condo’s security attendant positive he would know how best to reunite it with its owner. His reaction was astonishing. It was as if I’d opened my jacket to reveal a vest made from plastic explosive.
His look of complete horror that I’d approached him with an innocuous piece of material was particularly startling because, for me, getting my hands on a bra, consensually, often indicates my life is going really quite well. He, and a couple of equally flabbergasted cleaning ladies, gesticulated to a nearby bicycle indicating that I should deposit my discovery on the saddle as they wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.
I did not feel at all comfortable draping the bra over the saddle of a stranger’s bicycle. From the rather surprising reaction of the three people I’d tried to get to help me with my undergarment conundrum I was concerned that the owner of the bike, on discovering a wayward brassiere on his or her saddle, might suffer a cardiac episode and require resuscitation. I’m pretty certain CPR training is not a pre-requisite on the CV of someone applying for the position of condominium security-guard.
I also considered knocking on a few doors to see if the owner of the strangely offensive item was at home. Thoughts of how a boyfriend might react if confronted with a farang manhandling his better half’s personals quickly put me off the idea.
So there I left it — a bra on a bike — and retired to my room to ponder the startling situation. All I had done was hand in a piece of clothing and had caused staggering offence. I had obviously, once again, stumbled into the all too familiar realm of the culturally inappropriate.
Yet it’s not like I could be compared to that Udon Thani gentleman who spent a decade collecting more than 300 items of underwear from local boarding houses. In his defence he did have an overwhelming urge to do so after a few drinks and had managed to successfully keep his pants and bra hoarding secret from his wife for all those years. Or that teenager, also using Udon as the stamping ground for his egregious activities, who was arrested with a massive collection of women’s delicates he had obtained from washing machines in his neighbourhood. It must have come as quite a relief to the 100 or so women who came forward that a real person was behind the phenomena and it wasn’t just some demented sock fairy turning to the dark side. In his defence he did have a porn and glue habit to maintain, as well as a not-quite-right fondness for chickens. Or indeed that Bangkok motorbike taxi chauffer who was nabbed earlier this year accused of stealing in excess of 4,000 items of ladies unmentionables. Unfortunately the police found it difficult to prosecute because embarrassed victims seemed to think the loss of a few pairs of knickers not worth the fuss of a public trial. The taxi driver did however get an earlier comeuppance in 2010 when he was placed behind bars for three years after being caught with an astonishing 10,000 pants and bras he’d liberated from drying racks and clotheslines. Perhaps more disturbing than the above are the two gentlemen discovered by police cowering in a wood with their stolen stash who claimed they had been hired to commit a nefarious knickers and bra raid by a third party. Yes indeed, dear reader, there is at least one panty pilfering criminal kingpin trading used lady-delicates on the black market.
Although these are only a few examples of a very odd, but strangely not uncommon, peccadillo I don’t want to suggest that it is just Thailand that has a monopoly on illegal undergarment gathering. A couple of years ago a man from China was caught with enough ladies underwear to cover half a basketball court — displaying mountains of illicitly acquired underwear in public places definitely seems to be a thing in this part of the world. His modus operandi involved the skilful use of a custom-made fishing rod to haul his catch in from clotheslines. Another Chinese gentleman with a penchant for other people’s lingerie used to hide his loot in the ceiling of stairwells in his apartment block. His treasure trove of pants and bras was recently discovered when the weight of his stash caused the ceiling tiles to give way.
The above stories, my brassiere escapade included, are all rather recent events. I would suggest some sort of crack down, an increase in public awareness, the establishment of a ministry to tackle the problem. But as I scan the news websites this morning I’m of the opinion that the world is going to hell in a hand basket anyway and a bit of panty pilfering is the least of our worries.
I’d like to end this piece with a cat story.
Everybody feels better after a cat story. This one involves a feline called Brigit from New Zealand. The mischievous mouser’s owner recently took to social media to admit that Brigit has been prowling the neighbourhood at night on a crime spree that has netted more than a dozen pairs of boxer shorts as well as a stack of single socks. Brigit’s owner has admitted that her pet’s passion for pants is somewhat weird and posted flyers around the neighbourhood asking the owners of the underwear to get in touch — as well as informing locals that the burgling binge is over as she and her cat are moving.
There is probably a moral to all of this, although I have no idea what it is.