What kind of women go out and buy new underwear, decorate it with pens, sequins, charms, feathers, candy, horseshoes, fortune cookies, TV remote controls, and anything else you can think of to attract attention, then put it in the mail, sometimes send it airmail across oceans, just to get a free book? Fun women! Travel Lovin’ Women! Women who have an unlicensed sense of humor!

When Susan first told me her idea for the Fancy Pants Contest, I couldn’t have imagined the types of creative undies that were soon to be weighing our postman down. We received more than 34 undergarments from all over the globe. Every week Susan and Christy, Eva, Jennica, and Laura would hang the new arrivals on clotheslines that hung from the Travelers’ Tales office. We watched people walking by giggling to themselves, and even met new neighbors who just had to ask what the panties were all about.

And the winner is…
The “Travelers’ Utili-Panties” from Julia in Springfield, OR.
If only they sold these in real life! Honey, leave the Swiss Army knife at home because The Travelers’ Utili-Panties has everything you need to feel prepared. Multiple gear pockets that hold Kleenex, tampons, Band-aids and a nail file. An attached whistle/compass, bottle opener, toenail clipper, digital clock, key chain, hostel key flashlight, condom pocket, and a rear passport pouch. With the Travelers’ Utili-Panties you don’t even need a money belt, because it comes complete with travel currency and a credit card pocket. If you’re starting to think you’d look like a carpenter wearing this—don’t. The Travelers’ Utili-Panties is made of a fashionable animal print, with suede leather and embroidered floral accents. I just wish I had told Julia that I was a size large!
Julia is being sent a check for $100 and five signed copies of Whose Panties Are These?

When I called to tell Julia that she had won, I found out that she had spent an entire weekend working on the panties. Writers will do anything to procrastinate on assignments, won’t we?! Well, Julia loved her Utili-Panties so much that she sewed pockets on her own underwear for her trip to the Philippines. She’s just returned and reports that they worked quite well. As promised, I at least attempted to try them on.

There were so many great contributions to the Fancy Pants Contest that we decided to give $25 honorable mention checks to the following four amazing panties.

“Postcard to Mum” from Pat in Perth, Australia
Imagine a Size 12 full brief with a postcard written and illustrated on it. That’s what Pat from Australia sent in. Her story begins…”Dear Mum: I am so glad that you made me pack extra underwear. There is no paper in this place to write on (no—not even there—I looked briefly—shudder). Then Pat went on to stamp spiders, flies, and an assortment of other items to illustrate her misadventure. The part that really cracked me up was the ending. “Do you think you could send me some more panties? Because I don’t think these are mine! Your loving daughter, Paty.”

“The Smart-Ass Woman’s Travellin’ Pants” from Iris at the Savvy Traveller in Chicago, IL
Does Iris know me or what?! Black lace panties and a whole bunch of travel books hanging from my crotch. This beauty is decorated in mini travel accessories like a framed black lace bra and panties, a red suitcase, garment bag, and adventure books. The feature I dig the most is the copy of “1000 Places to See Before You Die” hanging right next to my you know what…I love that you’re trying to help my social life, Iris! And she was wise to add “The World’s Most Dangerous Places” and a copy of “Safety And Security” in plain view just in case my dad found out about this most clever of personal ads.

“Hot Pants” from LynnDee Nelson in North Platte, NE
These panties grabbed all of our attention here at the office because they are beautiful. As an alumnus of the University of Southern California, I’m a sucker for cardinal and gold, and this was no exception. Fiery red and orange feathers and ribbons ablaze across the front of transparent yellow knickers—HOT is right! Here is LynnDee’swebsite.


“Period Pants” from Meena Schaldenbrand in Plymouth, MI
Meena went over the top, I mean bottoms, with this one! There are no less than 20 charms sewed on to these panties. And every single one is titled with a symptom that relates to a woman’s menstruation. Embellished with buttons, charms, jewelry, earrings, pins, a metal Pepsi can, paper umbrella—she describes being bloated, yo yo mood swings, having vertigo, headaches, cramps, dizziness, as well as needing ibuprofen, and a hysterectomy. You said it, Meena!

Jen’s Personal Favorite
We ran out of monetary awards to give to our participants, but I wanted to acknowledge an honorable mention to my personal favorite. Gambling girl that I am, I loved the focus on luck. And single chica that I am, this lovely pink, lacey item just might break my bad beat with finding Mr. Right. Of course, no other than a man himself could know exactly what kind of bottoms would help me the most. Big thanks to Jim of Moraga, CA who painted and fastened a white horseshoe onto the front of these pink lace panties. To appeal to my Chinese side, he added a fortune cookie right there at the South Pole. A fortune was peeking out of the cookie. It read, “Wanna Get Lucky?”

Why yes, yes I do!

All in all we had an absolute blast with this contest, and we hope you did, too! A big huge thanks to all how participated. Your autographed copies of Whose Panties Are These? are in the mail.
Until the next book stunt,

Jen Leo