July 9th, 2008

The case of the flying thong buckle: I can relate

A 52-year old woman has sued underwear giant Victoria’s Secret for an eye injury caused when a metal clip securing a rhinestone heart to a thong flew off and injured her cornea. This is another example of just how readily litigious our society has become—not to mention how dangerous it is to wear thong underwear.

Monica Lewinsky proved the latter point quite some time ago. Maybe that’s the reason fashion seemed to at least attempt to go the other way for a while, with boxer shorts for women becoming popular in recent years—complete, in some cases, with vestigial flyfront but no rhinestone hearts. The shorts look good on the models—but then again, so would gunny sacks. That doesn’t mean everyone should go for them; not very flattering to most.

But back to Macrida Patterson, the plaintiff in this case; no boxer-short-wearer she. I looked in vain at the Victoria’s Secret website for the offending attack thong and could not find it (you can do your own search, buddies.) But Ms. Patterson claims the buckle flew off with great force and hit her in the eye, causing enormous pain and a corneal abrasion.

This story has been worked mostly for laughs. But when I heard it I must say I could identify.

No, I haven’t been wearing thongs with rhinestone hearts, nor am I suing anyone, much less Victoria’s Secret. But a similar injury happened to me over twenty years ago at the much-less-exciting hand of some ski gear.

I was shopping for a staple of the New England wardrobe for the young mother, those warm and water-resistant overpants that even non-skiers such as me need in that climate for playing outside with the kid in the snow, whether it be sledding, making snow angels, or just the traditional snowball fight.

They were hanging on slack hangers, fastened by clips gripping the tops of the pants—which, when worn, would have come up to a spot a bit above the waist, somewhat like overalls. From these tops dangled the long straps that would fasten over the shoulder in suspender fashion, holding them up during even the most vigorous play.

I was seeking to view the price of the pair I wanted to try on, and so I took the strap and flicked it away the better to see the tag that it happened to be covering. What I didn’t foresee was that the metal buckle fastened to the end of the strap came at me with enormous speed, something like the end of a whip, so quickly that the protective mechanism that ordinarily causes us to close our eyes when an object is flying at them had no time to operate.

That buckle hit me in the open eye and caused—yes, a corneal abrasion. And yes, it did hurt quite a bit. And yes, like Ms. Patterson, I had to have what I believe were steroids placed in my eye, and then a patch over that.

My injury healed uneventfully; the news is mum on what might happen to Ms. Patterson’s. But it never for a moment occurred to me to sue anyone. Why would I? The store certainly wasn’t negligent in the way the pants were placed on the hangers. Sometimes accidents just happen.

Pretty soon, if this continues, we’ll end up having warning labels on every product that is sold.

28 Responses to “The case of the flying thong buckle: I can relate”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    “The shorts look good on the models—but then again, so would gunny sacks.”

    Or as they indeed did in the long ago “sack dresses.”

  2. Amused Cynic » Blog Archive » Warning labels on lingerie…gee, that would spoil all the fun… Says:

    […] latest post on the case of the flying thong buckle reminded me of one of my other favorite underwear-related personal injury lawsuits…. […]

  3. neo-neocon Says:


    You can take back the sack:


    (Jodi D’Amour / Arnold Goland / Gerry Granahan)
    Gerry Granahan – peak Billboard position #23 in 1958

    I had a date for the hop last night
    Up to her door everything seemed right
    But to my surprise as I opened the door
    I couldn’t tell the front from the back
    “Cause she was wearin’ a sack dress
    Whew what a mess!
    The last time I saw her, man what a shape!!
    And now she’s got a shape like an egg!

    No chemise, please, not for me, please
    Well you can take back the sack, leave it hangin’ on the rack
    And bring a sweater back!!

    When we arrived at the hop
    We started in doin’ the stroll
    I told her I wanted to stop
    But she wanted rock and roll
    I told her forty times and it really was a crime
    I was talkin’ to the back of her head!!

    No chemise, please, not for me, please
    Well you can take back the sack, leave it hangin’ on the rack
    And bring a sweater back!!—yeah

    (instrumental interlude)

    Sure would like to find the creator
    Who covered up my baby in this tent
    He musta been a woman-hater
    I keep wonderin’ where the wiggle went
    So won’t you change the fad, have pity on me please
    Put ‘er back in her dungarees

    No chemise, please, not for me, please
    Well you can take back the sack, leave it hangin’ on the rack
    And bring a sweater back!!

    No chemise, please, not for me, please
    Well you can take back the sack, leave it hangin’ on the rack
    Bring a sweater back!!

  4. Grimmy Says:

    Sometimes I want to start up a class action whatchamacallit against everyone who sues.

    Counter sue the sewers…errmm I mean suers for driving up our costs on dang near everything. Of course, the action would also have to name every frickin suer lawyer as enabler type co-defendants, so that’d put my own suer lawyer in a tough spot.

    Then, of course, I’d have to name myself as a co defendant for sueing suers that sue.

  5. vanderleun Says:

    What an excellent song!

    I should note in passing that many more men have had their eyes struck by the snap of a foundation garment than women.

    It’s dangerous working with elastic items on somebody else’s body.

    I myself have a three inch scar on my cheek from a 1971 encounter with a garter under great stress.

  6. vanderleun Says:

    Humm, interesting lyrics with a subtext:

    ““Cause she was wearin’ a sack dress
    Whew what a mess!
    The last time I saw her, man what a shape!!
    And now she’s got a shape like an egg!”

    Could it be that the woman, as so often was the case in those days, came back in a family way?

  7. nyomythus Says:

    neo, “you” and “flying thong buckle” is a hot combination 🙂

  8. Steven Says:

    Gee, that was kind of a long post. I had to use the scroll wheel in the middle of my mouse quite a bit to read the whole thing, and now I have a repetitive stress injury in my right index finger as a result. You’ll be hearing from my lawyer.

  9. a jerk Says:

    Monica Lewinsky! LOL!!!!! The president got a blowjob!!!!!!!

    But why did you leave out Chappaquiddick?

  10. vanderleun Says:

    Because Mary Jo did not go out with “a thong in her heart”?

  11. Rob Farrington Says:

    I hate thongs; they seem to me a bit like the lower-body equivalent of nipple tassles.

    I hate Victoria’s Secret, too. Can you imagine the personal horror when I (37) and my fiance (20, it’s a long story…) were dragged into a branch of theirs by my fiance’s mum (45, the same age as my ex), along with my fiance’s two sisters?

    That kind of place is definitely a no-go area for a male. Plus I nearly had an asthma attack from all the scents that permeated the store. Hey, could I sue for that?

  12. Sergey Says:

    This trivial story highlights, nevertheless, the three most annoying traits of modern American culture: perfectionism, risk-aversion and unduly expectation to resolve all everyday problems by using law. Such utopian hopes stem from widespread abandonment of Christian virtues of humility and patience.

  13. Sergey Says:

    If this Macrida Patterson had a bit of Christian conscience in her, she would not wear the damn thing, first, and second, would have understood her misfortune as divine punishment for vanity.

  14. Sergey Says:

    Some years ago I have translated an AI book about expert systems, and there was a case study about calculating insurance premium and damages for a plaintiff who got serious eye injury uncorking a Champaign bottle. My first thought was: what an idiot one should be to doing this helding the bottle directing into one’s face? And why this idiot should get insurance and damages for his own recklessness?

  15. Tatyana Says:

    “Perfectionism”? “Risk aversion”? 2 of the 3 most annoying traits?
    Oh yeah, another sensational relevation from the expert on all things American.

    Not even a slightest hint of self-preservation wispering: dude, think a minute – you’re saying this nonsense to people who actually live there! born and raised! had a lifetime to observe!

  16. Sergey Says:

    I have a lot of friends and relatives in USA, and regulary chat with them. This is compendium of their impressions – of people, who were not born or raised there, so they have a measure to compare.

  17. Sergey Says:

    Lady protesteth too much. How you would comment the following story? A young immigrant from Ukraine, son-inlaw of my close freiends, recently served two month in jail for such terrible crime: he slightly slapped his 8-year old son at the back of his head to stop his temper tantrum. The boy is disturbed, with excessive agility and inability to behave adequately. This was in his car at parking lot near shopping mall. Some old bitch in nearby car saw it and called police. He was sentenced for child abuse, protests of his wife were ignored. He could not afford a lawyer, and the judge could not understand that it was cultural habit in Russia to make “podzatylnik” to children when they misbehave. No court in Russia would ever accept a case of this sort. Is this normal? Why the American law is an ass to such degree?

  18. nyomythus Says:

    Sergey If this Macrida Patterson had a bit of Christian conscience in her, she would not wear the damn thing, first, and second, would have understood her misfortune as divine punishment for vanity.
    Divine punishment? Is that all a so-called ‘god’ is good for? Or is this just the same old disgusting male virgin disdain for women’s sexuality that manifested religion in the first place? Either why it’s a pretty immoral stance to have. I know Sergey was just probably just trying to be cute and funny but we shouldn’t slip into this sort of thinking; we shouldn’t slide that far to the right; are you a neocon or a neonazi? Not saying you’re deviating from the most thoughtfully devoted interpretations of Christian doctrine, but still, you should hear what you’re words sounds like.

  19. Tatyana Says:

    nyomythus: he was not trying to be cute, trust me. Just as he was not trying to be cute when he expressed solidarity with the child abuser.
    See, he explained it himself as cultural habit in Russia .
    People here tend not to believe that such an unapologetically mysoginistic people could be for real.

  20. Jaime Says:

    I totally agree. Pretty soon there will be bat cages on bridges too, so that no-one can jump.

  21. Sergey Says:

    There is nothing mizoginst or fascistic in acceptance of misfortune as a punishment for sin – it is a fairly authentic, traditional Christian attitude, equally applied both for men and women. And to slap misbehaving children is not abuse, but sometimes neccessary disciplinary measure, when words are not enough to stop them. Pain is a quick teacher; just as to slap hysterical woman at cheek (slightly, of course) is the best way to stop a feat of hysteria, when a child lost self-control and don’t respond to reproach, slap him is the best way to return him to reality.

  22. Sergey Says:

    Hyperhumanizm – that is, human-worship, so universally adopted nowadays in the West, is not an authentic expression of Judeo-Chistian value system, but a secular aberration and manifestation of decadence. It will disappear completely at the next turn of history, when inavoidable clash of civilizations will escalate into hot war, most probably, thermonuclear. Self-restriction, ascetic self-sacrifice and discipline, conscientious submission of individual whims to higher, supraindividual goals will again become imperatives of collective survival, as it was in the days of WWII, and a new Great Awakening will follow.

  23. Sergey Says:

    There is no atheists in fox-holes and narcissists in barrack-rooms and bomb-shelters: they simply do not survive there. Read Viktor Frankl’s “Psychologist in Concentration Camp”. Or, may be, Bruno Bethelheim’s description of analogue experience. My uncle served 18 years in Vorkuta coal mines, one of the worst Gulag camps. He told me a lot about who can and who cannot survive in such places, and why.

  24. Sergey Says:

    I have nothing against sexuality as such, both in men in women. But as every other instinct in human, it must know its place and purpose, because otherwise it would became destructive and dehumanizing, that is, a demonic force. Sexual fetishism, pornography and frivolity are manifestations of this depersonalisation and dehumanisation, and jewelry decorated underwear is one of expression of this sinful tendency.

  25. nyomythus Says:

    You’re not welcome in the trenches of western liberalism. Sergey, it looks like you and the islamofascist share at least one core belief; perhaps you’d have lots to talk and laugh about with them. On the coal mine number, yes yes death is often used to handle the apostate if you’re saying the religious ones shun or kill off the non-believers.

    So the moral people die, or feign credulity, and all we’re left with are the crazies to be set free to raise another generation of dysfunctional people; I see something of how it works, sad, but maybe one day we’ll extirpate such from humanity; ha, fat chance, but a moral effort nonetheless.

  26. Sergey Says:

    You completely misunderstand my point about coal mines and concentration camps: only moral people survive there, demoralized ones perish first. And moral people are those who do not cling to physical survival by any means, but are ready to die, if needed, but stay moral people.

  27. nyomythus Says:

    Holding to the heart any of the three monotheist religious doctrines is immoral to begin with; and yes those who cling to and help others survive harsh environments are moral people.

  28. Sergey Says:

    Nyomythus, moral and religious convictions can’t proved or disproved, they are articles of faith, no sense to dispute them. Obviously, we have different sets of core beliefs. I only note an important fact: in extremal conditions religious people have more moral fortitude and survive better, then atheists and agnostics, and often are moral authorities for others and so help them, too.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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