My family used to have a dog called Tilly. She was a black cocker-spaniel who liked to bark at inanimate objects, and lie on your feet when you were trying to fall asleep.
Tilly also had a habit of eating the crotch out of women’s underwear. Used women’s underwear.
Most dogs like to chew on bones or rope toys or table legs, but not Tilly. Nothing was as delicious to her as the crotch of women’s underwear. She felt about lady pheromones the way I feel about pastries – that they’re an appropriate snack at any time of day or night, no matter who made them or how long they’ve been sitting around.
And so, Tilly would tip over laundry baskets, rifle through overnight bags and sneak into bathrooms while unsuspecting victims were showering and emerge, triumphant, with knickers in her mouth.
One weekend, when my brother and his girlfriend had come back from university to stay, I caught Tilly happily trotting through the corridor with a pair of bright pink pants in her teeth.
Oh. My. God.
I can see them so clearly in my head, over a decade later. Hot pink, with lace around the top. I wrestled them out of Tilly’s mouth, which was not an easy feat. A bit like taking a teddy from a toddler, or an iPhone from Kim Kardashian.
Thinking the horror was over, I glanced down at my prize and… wait, “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT WEIRD WHITE STUFF? Where did it COME from?!”
Little did I know, I was about to find out exactly where it came from.
What felt like the next day, but I’m sure actually wasn’t, I took off my knickers and saw the trademark white goo of a grown-up vagina. Discharge. I had discharge.
In the absence of facts, I logically concluded that this was a disease and my brother’s girlfriend had given it to me. I never liked my brother’s girlfriend as much after that (not even after I learned that she was in no way responsible for temporarily ruining my underwear).
It turns out that discharge isn’t a disease at all – it’s a totally natural fluid produced by your clever, self-cleaning cervix – and it definitely isn’t passed down to you from your older brother’s girlfriends. They are a completely innocent party in this.
Hungry dogs, though, you sometimes need to keep an eye on.
Image: Katie Edmunds