Chick Wit: An outbreak of wardrobe dysfunction

Posted: May 13, 2013

I came back from book tour with something for Mother's Day.

Diaper rash.

Yes, you read that correctly.

I'd been on a book tour that started in Philadelphia and traveled to all over the country in the same jeans. I had no way to wash them, and I have only one pair.

That I can fit into.

I wore the jeans on the planes, in the hotel rooms, during the signings, out to dinner with readers and booksellers - anyway, you get the idea. What happened was that I started to chafe in Buckhead, which is too ritzy an Atlanta suburb to start itching in your pants.

Call it the Sisterhood of the Traveling Itchy Pants.

So I went to see what was going on down there. It's not a region I usually visit, as I have better things to do. In fact, the last time I inspected myself was when I was 13 and trying to learn how to use a tampon, folded directions in hand.

Too much information? Welcome to my column. Every woman in the world knows exactly what I'm talking about. Men, I trust in your intelligence to follow along.

To stay on point, it wasn't easy to inspect myself, given the location of the problem, and I didn't have a hand mirror. The only mirror available in the hotel was over the bathroom sink, and to put it in a ladylike fashion, my hips don't move that way.

Anymore.

The only way to see the rash was to take my iPhone, switch it to the camera function, then put it on the selfie setting, as if I were taking my own picture.

Or sexting myself.

Anyway, and I'll say this as gently as possible, what I saw in my iPhone was that the chafing had morphed into a pink rash on my inner thighs. At first, I thought it was athlete's foot, just higher up, but there was no such thing. Then I thought it was bedbugs, but thanks to my wonderful publisher, I was staying at the Ritz.

So I did what I always do with any kind of problem.

I denied it.

This is an excellent practice, one I highly recommend if you want to be divorced multiple times, like me.

Rashes and problems do not go away if they're ignored, and by San Francisco, I was whipping out my iPhone in every ladies room and watching the spread of my rash, which was forming a relief map of the seven continents. It went from a pretty pink to an ugly red, although at least it hid my cellulite.

I took pictures, and in no circumstances will I show them to you.

By Los Angeles, not only was it itching, but it was hurting as well. By Houston, I started walking like a cowboy and fit right in.

By then, I got on the Internet, found pictures of my condition, and diagnosed myself. At age 57, I had given myself diaper rash. So I took myself to CVS, where I bought the remedy recommended, namely, a tube that read Boudreaux's Butt Paste.

I'm not making this name up, and I can imagine your incredulous reaction, because I saw it on the face of the TSA agent who took it out of my Ziploc bag at airport security. He stared in disbelief at the tube, probably trying to decide if it was a joke, then said: "Miss, this exceeds four ounces. You can't take it on board."

My embarrassment turned to desperation. "Sir, I'm begging you. This is a medication, and I need it desperately. If you don't believe me, I can show you a picture that will make you throw up."

The TSA agent met my gaze, returned the tube of Butt Paste to the bag, and handed it to me. "OK, take it. I understand, I got kids."

So for once, I got the government off my butt.

Of course, I thought this was funny enough to call Mother Mary and tell her, especially since it was almost Mother's Day. "Ma," I said. "Guess what. I couldn't wash my jeans, and now I have diaper rash."

"You're a dirty pig."

But I know she meant it with love.

Happy Mother's Day!


Look for Lisa and Francesca's columns in their newest collection, "Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim." Also, look for Lisa's new novel, "Don't Go," in stores now. You can write to Lisa at lisa@scottoline.com.

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