Turkeys in Tights

A 60th anniversary party for one’s parents is a big deal—worth dressing up for, even. So when I packed my suitcase for the occasion I put in a nice dress, my good shoes, the curling iron, and not one but three pair of panty hose.

This redundancy should have been enough to guarantee having one good pair of stockings, but it wasn’t. Two pair had runs in them, and the third was badly snagged. Almost certainly, no one except me would care or even notice. Still, dressing up just isn’t dressing up without decent panty hose.

There’s never a clothes-transforming fairy godmother around when you need one, so solving the problem meant a quick stop at the grocery store on our way to the party.

I asked a teenage clerk where I could find panty hose, and she graciously took me to the right aisle. “We don’t have a lot left right now,” she said. “The hunters have been buying them for their turkeys.”

Hunters? Turkeys? What on earth do panty hose have to do with turkey hunting?

Maybe it’s a come-on, favored by hunters who can’t find D-flat on a turkey call, to get the birds within shooting range. “Hey, girlie, I got some new nylons here. Ecru. They’re yours, if you make it worth my while.”

The hunters are targeting toms, though, which makes this idea seem unlikely. Cross-dressing as a common activity for either hunters or turkeys is simply not something one wants to contemplate.

True, male turkeys are obviously proud of themselves. Just look at the way they fan out their tails and strut their stuff to impress the ladies—even if, honestly, it doesn’t take all that much to impress a female turkey with a brain the size of a peanut. But it’s simply too big a leap of imagination to go from showy strutting to a chorus line made up of wattle-shaking toms in tights.

And how would a turkey get into a pair of panty hose, anyway? It would be almost impossible to pull them up without thumbs. Besides, their spurs would tear holes in the nylon.

Presumably, of course, the hunters slide their trophy birds headfirst into a pair of panty hose as a good way to keep the feathers from being damaged on the trip to the taxidermy shop. This use for stockings might be a bit unorthodox, but it it’s certainly practical.

It also offers a whole new way to talk about trophy birds. “What’s that one? A size C? Oh, D? That’s not bad. But take a look at this guy—queen size, for sure. Maybe even a queen-plus. Just look at the size of those thighs.”

Looking impressive, after all, is the whole point of hunting trophies. And nothing quite sets off a nice pair of drumsticks like black fishnet panty hose.

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