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Welcome to the 2020s. The decade to which we owe the humble return of whale tail pants and the stark reemergence of cut-out dresses — albeit much less dress and much more cut-out. Having played guinea pig and jumped — full force — on the back of these trends in recent months, I think it’s time someone broke the silence. When are we going to talk about the arbitrary logistics of twenty-first-century fashion? For every girl flaunting her newest cut-out seamlessly on the ‘gram, there’s another who’s flashed the entire tram on her way out.
The contraption — also known as a ‘punani patch’ according to TikTok user @hallepowe who has clocked up over 1.7 million likes on a video revealing the innovative find — is a stick-on pair of underwear that boasts no sides (unlike a typical g-string) and claims to banish visible panty lines entirely, without having to go commando.
But do they work? How do you wee in them? Are they washable? Can they withstand the WAP? Intrigued, I decided to find out, which is why I spent a week road-testing them, so you don’t have to.
Keen to dive right into the experiment, I thought what better way to kickstart my pantyless week than with a night out? In the spirit of risqué cut-outs, I chose a form-fitting dress with clear panels running down either side.
Upon first glance, the g-string’s adhesive looked aggressively sticky and ready to withstand anything, which promptly alleviated my initial fears that I’d find my underwear plastered to the middle of a dance floor within an hour. Though, as the night went on and the crowded bar left me sweating in every crevice, my premonition proved correct, and the adhesive began to give out. At one point, I recall my panties hanging on by a mere thread.
In my short mini dress, I felt much more secure knowing there was a barrier between my vagina and the world.
Multiple trips to the toilet later (yes, you can wee in them quite easily by simply pulling off one side of the adhesive), I asked myself a question I should have days ago, “why not just cut out the middleman and go commando?” I wasn’t the first person to consider this. Many comments on the TikTok video echoed the same sentiment, with people arguing the contraption was just a “glorified panty liner” and we were better off without it.
I will say though, in my short mini dress, I felt much more secure knowing there was a barrier between my vagina and the world. It also helped keep any discharge and sweat in one place. Two big ticks in my book.
For the second day of my trial, I wore the punani patch with a pair of jeans. The tightness of the pants helped keep the g-string in one place. This time I also switched to a M/L sized patch as opposed to the XS/S sized stick-on I’d used the day prior and found myself substantially more comfortable. Though given they’re the only two size options, it raises the question, where is the size inclusivity? One user replied to @hallepowe’s clip announcing, “‘my ass is gonna eat that up”.
I will also mention, the punani patch relies heavily on your vagina being completely hairless for optimal ‘stick’ (unless you want to give yourself a Brazilian every time you try to rip it off).
On the final day of my experiment, I decided to wear loose-fitting high-slit pants. I had washed my panties the day prior — thanks to the pair being entirely reusable up to 20 times with a quick soapy hand-wash and an air dry — and headed off to a market. Unfortunately, within hours, the patch had slipped out of place and I spent an ungodly amount of time in public with my hands down my pants.
If there’s anything this experiment taught me, it’s that we women do a hell of a lot to keep up with the impossible beauty standards thrust upon us. Why does society consider a panty line such a horrific sight anyway? Why do we have to pretend to not wear undergarments when they’re as normal as brushing our teeth? Surely it’s time we drop the secrecy and do away with the idea that every part of a woman should be perfect.
As a newly self-professed punani patch veteran, my final verdict is simple: use them only as a last resort. If you’re willing to make toilet trips and commit to constant readjustment just to keep your discharge in place, then that’s their only real benefit. Otherwise, let’s just stick to the undies.