Before I dart off the grid for a fabulous escape into a remote desert for the remainder of the year, I am going to sneak across Frenemy lines and provide some intelligence to the loves of your life. They are just this close to making horrible gift selections. I know you are already practicing your “Oh darling, too kind, you really shouldn’t have ….” face. That face leaves age lines and it is better to not use it at all. The chaps in your lives, for their part are wrestling with the twin demons of lust and insecurity and are bound to make a mess of things if they attempt to buy you lingerie at the year end holidays.
So, yes Ladies, I know it is good to see the chaps squirm just a little and try their very best. And describing the totally unwearable, rash inducing, circulation killing caricature of sexiness peeled right from the pages of a Maxim mag influenced fantasy is of course fodder for a hundred girls night out and bridal showers spanning well in to the future.
But honestly, we want nice things don’t we? Surely we deserve them. And for the most part, we want the fellows to feel good, so I am going to help them out here. Please don’t be upset. Leave me alone with them for just a tick, would you? Check back later, I promise I won’t paw at them.
Dear Significant Others,
Yes, I see you there lurking, looking at the pretty pictures and imagining a life changing, earth moving moment of lace-fueled passion. Good instincts, and congratulations for inheriting the survival and reproductive urges that weirdly conspired to have you here thinking about lingerie and the woman in your life at the holidays.
I know you, better than you think. I pay attention. I have seen intimate gift giving events that make a train wreck look graceful. And you, my dear, are mere clicks or swipes from causing one. Sit with me a moment now, and learn a thing or two. The Rules follow:
Do NOT buy her lingerie at Christmas. Yes, I meant that. Unless you are married and the giftee is your wife. If you are in a substantial relationship with the apple of your eye, the song of your heart, there are still qualifications. The Seinfeld guidelines are helpful. If you are six months into a dedicated courtship, have a presumed Saturday night date, and one of you has a toothbrush at the others mostly tidy apartment, lingerie becomes appropriate. But you must, double must be intimate already. If you believe that you can convert the Platonic into the Volcanic by signaling your intent with knickers, you are missing a key signal. If friendship is not enough for you, say so for crying out loud.
There are exceptions to Rule 1. You might be newly into a hot romance. If she is a flirty thing who has shown you a little flash of stocking top or asked you whether you like the look of the lace scalloping barely containing her playful twins, then get shopping pronto. The universe clearly loves you. She might be entirely unstable, but absolutely deserving of your fullest effort. And, oh by the way, do not think for a moment that getting lingerie right for the lingerie addict excuses you from other baseline requirements. Your personal hygiene is still important to us, and please, for pity’s sake, do not leave the toilet seat up.
Do not shop at Victoria’s Secret (unless your snooping around shows a super-abundance of VS and Pink labels in her drawers… see Rule #4 below for more on snooping). I honestly do not have much against VS, but a gift from VS is just too damn easy, and too, too clichéd. Moreover, their shops are packed and you will not find a sales girl with a minute to genuinely help a you out. If you do find one, there is a great possibility that she was hired on for the holiday rush and wouldn’t know a tanga from Tang.
Snoop before you shop. If you have a toothbrush over at her place, or a ring on her finger you know how to do this. 4 things to look for:
Brand. We love what we love, and are always happy with more of the same.
Style. Underwire? Plushy padding? Loads of lace and trim? Thongs or bikinis? Comfy cotton or sleek synthetics? Stay in the sweet spot that we have spent a lifetime getting to.
Color. If you do not see a red bra in there, there is a really good reason. She looks lousy in red and doesn’t need a reminder from you. And neon greens and pinks, please unless this is a signature element avoid the high tones. Even candlelight cannot help them.
Size. Oh, dear, all those different sizes in there, it will make you sweat. Here is a little guideline for you if the labels are all over the map. For the bra, pick the smaller band size (i.e. 32, 34, 36, etc…) and the bigger cup size (B, C, D, etc…). As far as the matching knickers go, resolve ambiguity by going to the smaller size. There is a correct way to be wrong.
It’s a jungle out there. Keep the jungle out there. Rule 5 is actually extra course credit for advanced students who absorbed Rule 4 passingly well. If you did not see any Leopard, Tiger, Zebra, Cobra, Ocelot, Giraffe or Palomino Pony prints in the top drawer, your encouragement in this zoological direction is doomed to failure. If you do see a lot of that, you are dating the Rule 2 woman and already have your hands full. Bless your stout constitution. Get a gym membership and keep fit.
Inrageous beats Outrageous. Do not go for the full-out boudoir-bombshell, satin-sheet sex queen get-up with spaghetti straps, a quarter cup bra top and the belly button cut-out. After a big romantic night out, too much food and wine, while she slips into it, you will fall asleep watching Conan. She will be furious, and you know that does nothing for your libido. Very pretty and simple things for the work day remind us how thoughtful you are when we are away from you.
Accentuate the Positive. I hate my belly. Your woman might have a battle with her waist, her hips, her back, her thighs or with gravity in general. Not your battle. Do not pick sides. Unless your snooping showed a propensity for padding, do not buy her a push up. And even if she is in Spanx 8 days a week, her shape is her business. Do not buy anything that says “I love you … change…”.
Bows and Ribbons are for boxes. For the most part, any intimate garment with big frothy decorative elements around the décolletage or derriere simply cannot be worn with normal, mortal clothing. Try to tone this down. She is already a supreme gift into your life, and you shouldn’t need to wrap her up in superfluous baubles, bows and bangles to be reminded.
Mind the Label. You should snip off anything attached with the little plasticy taggy thingy. You should not snip off anything else. You should be careful to keep anything you snip off in an envelope along with the receipt. Even with the best of instincts and highest hopes you are at best 50/50 on getting it right. Make it as easy as possible for her to return and exchange as necessary.
Pop a gift card the box while you are at it. If she has to exchange anything, she will have a little extra buying power and we never, ever, even for a moment have enough in the way of undies. She might even take you along and help you become an even more accomplished Holiday lingerie shopper. Doing this well puts you at the head of the class, and pays romantic dividends at Christmas time and every happy day of great long years.
How about you? Please share what works for you ladies while we have the attention of the uninitiated
Happy holidays to all our Guilty Pleasures friends.
By day, I consult with technology companies on matters of marketing and communications strategy. That is where the money comes from. The love goes to lingerie, in my day dreams and night life.
I just love all the things that make us feel great inside, and look great outside, but I am most enthusiastic about hosiery. There is no more economical way in the whole beautiful fashion universe to dramatically change a look and a mood than the right tights.
I am married to a wonderful, loving partner just a little over 15 years now. We share our cozy home with 2 dogs who know better than to scratch my legs.
When not writing here, I can be found pulling the cork out of a nice bottle of wine before sitting at my piano bench working the other keyboard I love.
Thanks for visiting!