Here's the thing: Rodney is very particular about his panties. He wants them to be soft and comfortable and make his junk look good, and he doesn't want any dippy little bows on them. It's really not that much to ask. Except the lingerie industry must own stock in dippy little bows because the fucking things are everywhere, and while it might not seem like a big deal to someone else, even one of those dumb little bows can ruin Rodney's entire day. This makes him impossible to shop for, he knows. John automatically starts rolling his eyes whenever they walk past a lingerie shop, but on holidays, special occasions, and certain semi-random Fridays, John unfailingly hands Rodney a box filled with silky, colorful panties, all of them without a single bow. Rodney doesn't know how he does it.
Then, a week before Athosian New Year, Rodney stumbles home early from the labs and catches John sitting on their bed, hunched over a stack of frilly blue panties, wearing a pair of borrowed reading glasses and carefully picking out the stitches on all the stupid little bows with a pair of tiny scissors and a frown of concentration.
"Ah ha!" Rodney says. Followed by, "Why didn't I think of that?" and then, as John pushes the glasses to the top of his head and squints at him, "What's happening? Why are you making that face?"
"You dope," John says. "You really didn't know?"
"I thought you had magical shopping powers! Or, or, like a contact in the lingerie industry—I don't know! I didn't spent a lot of time thinking about it."
John puts the scissors down and rubs his eyes. "Those blue and white striped sailor panties I gave you for your birthday were the exact pair you pointed out to me in the catalogue, just without the red bow."
"So? Your closet is filled with identical black shirts with zippered necks that you, in the face of all reason, insist are slightly different. If anyone can find multiple pairs of sailor panties in my size, it's you."
"Aw, Rodney—that was almost a compliment."
Rodney senses this might be one of those relationship moments where he took a wrong turn. He backpedals frantically. "Uh, did I say thank you for cutting the bows off my panties? Because you know how much they bother me. I mean, what are they even for? They look ridiculous, stuck on without rhyme or reason, completely out of proportion to the garment—like a winter coat fastened with buttons the size of Tic Tacs—which, as dumb as it is, could be forgiven, except the bows serve no practical purpose! If they ever had a function, it was back in the days of drawstring underpants—and this is a detail that's supposed to make me feel sexy? Who thought that was a good idea? How could anything that also appears on training bras be considered—what? What are you laughing at? I'm trying to apologize here."
For some reason this just makes John laugh harder.
"Well, I was!" Rodney says, narrowing his eyes.
Still laughing, John leans back against the headboard and stretches out his legs. "If you're done," he says, "maybe you could come over here and try these on for me."
Rodney measures getting the last word against the lacy blue bikinis John's holding up, does a quick calculation of the hit his pride will take if he lets this abuse go uncontested (where x is "gloating rights"), factors in John's goofy smiling face, and drops his pants.