You haven't done your washing in a while. All the fabulous lacy numbers, all the nifty little matching sets that go with your best bras, all the plain black knickers that really fit you are in the laundry basket.

It's time for the emergency knickers: the ones that sit at the back of the drawer, lost and unloved; the ones with sagging elastic, faded colours, maybe even a couple of holes. They are the ones you didn't throw out when you lost or gained weight. They are guaranteed passion-killers.

They are the ones that you pray you are not wearing when you are run over by an ambulance, or when you get lucky.

It's up to you: want to get caught with emergency knickers on, or with no knickers on?
The British cartoonist Annie Lawson did a hilarious postcard about knickers, describing the three types: emergency knickers, everyday work knickers and Best Knickers. At the bottom it said:

"Visualisation exercise:
I will own a drawerful of gleaming knickers!

Men wear knickers, too.

To the fencers among us, emergency knickers are those old, nasty knickers you keep in your fencing bag Just In Case. (Or, as is more common, because you never got around to taking them out when you got new ones...)

In case of what, I always wonder, because such knickers are inevitably not only unwearable, but quite possibly self-contained ecosystems in their own right.

Maybe the emergency knickers can act as an incentive to get lucky that night. As a metaphorical two-finger salute to the god that may be determining your success in life, you should be of the opinion that scoring while wearing crap pants is better than not scoring while wearing special underwear. Anyway, you can always scoot off to the bathroom, remove them and pretend you were going without if they're really that terrible.

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