Tuesday, 12 February 2008

'Mr Sex': Knickers to Valentines Day

And so, the relentless death-march towards Valentines Day nears its end, and you still haven’t sorted anything out. Practically everything with red petals has been stripped from the land and reserved under someone else’s name. Every restaurant up to and including that Little Chef on the nearby motorway has been booked up. You’re starting to panic. You’re casting around wildly for ideas. And then, out of nowhere, the idea hits you. It’s so logical – so painfully obvious – that you’re practically kicking your legs up with glee.

And then I step in, and say the following; No, Mate. Do not – repeat, DO NOT, under any circumstances whatsoever – even think about getting some fancy knickers in as a surprise for your partner this Valentine’s Day. That way lies danger.

Before I go any further, I need to get the following absolutely clear; no, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking an healthy interest in your girlfriend’s knicker drawer, or anyone else’s for that matter. Speaking as someone who has known the misery of clothes-shopping with a girlfriend, I know only too well what an oasis of wonderment the kecks department can be when you’re properly supervised. If you play your cards right, it’s guilt-free staring at massive blow-ups of models in their pants (as long as you make enough glances at your partner) and endless fiddling with gussets and lacy bits (as long as you remember to say “this would go really nice with your favourite outfit” every now and then) all the way.

The problem is, you’ve left it much too late in the day, and you’re going to have to go it alone. Let’s just pause for a moment and remind ourselves of the following;

Hm. A lesson for us all there, regardless of religious denomination.

But anyway, even if you’re strong enough to wander into Knickerbox on your Jack Jones, the fatal flaw in knickers-as-gift presents itself very early on. The male thought process almost always seems to go something like this;

1) Chocolates and flowers are impersonal sops unthinkingly thrown at women by unoriginal types.

2) She’s always moaning about not having enough underwear.

3) If I bought her some, it would demonstrate how well I knew her, and how thoughtful I am.

4) I could get her a suspender belt as well, and KWOOOOORRRRRRR (five minutes of drooling, Sid James impersonations, involuntary groin-thrusting, etc).

So, in about two seconds, your thought patterns have veered from “I must buy something for her” to “I’ve got to get something for me”. And women rather tend to see through things like that in an instant. In some extreme cases, she’ll even misinterpret “I bought these for you, because you’re lovely, and you’d look even lovelier in these” as “Oi, you’re not turning me on anymore – get these on and I might be interested”.

The second flaw, as you may be dimly aware, is that women are not like us when it comes to pants. Whereas we’ll quite happily wear anything way that’s been wrapped in a bit of paper with the words “Merry Xmas, Son – Love Mam xxx” scrawled across the top, women are extremely particular about what they wrap around their arses. Here’s a test; do you know your partner’s bra size? Without putting your hands in front of your chest and shaking them about a bit? Thought not. One of the biggest mistakes I made was dashing into a shop and throwing £30 over the counter for the first thing that looked nice but not slutty, and seeing my girlfriend’s face crumple into a mask of hate when she looked at them, turned them round, and screamed “I never wear thongs!” I hadn’t even looked at the back of them. She soon saw the back of me.

The best thing to do, of course (which is too late now for the likes of you), is to hand over a chunk of money and go to the keck emporium together. And even that can be a disaster. I once did that very thing with my first girlfriend, and ended up blowing nearly £200 on a basque with all the trimmings (seeing as I was working as a bingo caller at the time, it was a huge layout). When the time came for her to wear it, she looked like a frightened animal caught in a trap of lace and underwire, and she never wore it again.

And if you’ve read all that, and you still insist on going that way this VD, I shake my head and offer the following advice;

Get the sizes right. Go through her knicker drawer right now and look for labels. As many as you can. Although this might not work, as bra sizes of different manufacturers seem to fluctuate like a bastard, according to my lady friends.

Different is not necessarily better. You can’t force something she doesn’t already wear upon her, no matter how experimental she may be. If she doesn’t wear thongs now, she’s not going to on your say-so.

Go for a variation on what she already likes. If you know what she wears for ‘best’, go down the same route, but a different colour.

Go for a variation on what she already likes, but more expensive. If she has brand loyalty, pick out the kind of thing she’d wear, but is out of her price range.

Don’t show off whatever you’ve bought her at work. They’ll get ripped out of your hand, be fingered to buggery, and will invariably end up over the face of that IT bloke who does nothing but eat Scotch eggs all day.

Keep the receipt.

Don't blame me if it goes tits-up.

(oh, and if any women out there suffer from wrong-pantage this VD, here’s a tip to get rid of ‘em without mashing his ego into a pulp; before you put them on, make a few crafty snips here and there with a pair of scissors, and rip them off during foreplay. He’ll get his jollies, and you’ll never have to wear them again. Suggest that the two of you can go together and buy some more – whilst subtly dropping what you’d really like – and everyone’s a winner)


butterflywings said...

Brilliant! That Father Ted episode is one of the funniest comedy moments, ever!
(And the rest of the post is pretty damn sensible too).

Lilith said...

Thanks for the scissors tip! Never thought about it before but this is genius!

Clair said...

It's good, innit? Can I point out to anyone buying underpinnings for laidies and are a bit unsure that the M&S Ceriso range is rather good and not an intimidating purchase; more expert shoppers may like www.whatkatiedid.com, which has delicious retro styles.

Anonymous said...

Delurking for the first time - like the blog very much, guys.

Sound advice! Even better than checking labels for sizes, if you fellows can smuggle one of your woman's best-fitting bras out of the house (ie the boring everyday ones she never seems to take off), an experienced assistant at the knicker shop will be able to match the size.

Innocent Loverboy said...

If you're buying knickers for a girl, it might be wise to assume that you know her intimately enough to know her size...

...otherwise, they probably won't fit and you'll be left looking like a prat.

Sneinton Co Op checkout boy said...

Don't just keep it to the grundies, it's NEVER a good idea to buy any clothing for her (unless you're out together and she's got something that looks great but provokes lots of wistfully looks at the price tag).

Nottingham's 'Mr Sex' said...

Hey SC-OCB, good point. And is that tasty '18 cans of Strongbow for a tenner' deal still on?

Iain said...

One tactic that worked very well for me was to take her out shopping for something she wanted, then take her to La Perla and get something for the both of you.

Not only does it mean you avoid the possibility of size/taste screw ups but the sight of her trying stuff on will make getting it home quickly afterwards imperative.

Anonymous said...

I spent €400 quid on an Agent Provocateur outfit in a style she said she always wanted. Got the size right, kept schtum, presented it to her as a random present. Well, kind of random - it was a gift when we moved in together. She said she loved it, showed it to her girlfriends and sister. She looked spectacular in it too... A year later, she's still only worn it once (she says twice, but I think I'd remember).

But what a waste of cash it feels like. All I keep thinking is "never again".

Clair said...

Ooh no, look upon it as the best investment you ever made! You got it right, she loved it, it - and consequently, you - were worth bragging over to her mate. Just tell her that 'You look even more beautiful when you wear that AP outfit...', and I bet it'll be on (and subsequently, off) faster than you can say 'knife'.

Anonymous said...

Rubbish. Once again I should remind you: women are not all the bloody same. Nor, for that matter, are men.

If I were bought sexy underwear on St. Valentine's, or indeed any other day, I'd be perfectly happy. Especially if it contained a suspender belt. And I'm not the only one.

This 'buying for her' 'buying for me' thing is be a pretty silly divison. It may surprise you, but *sometimes* women and men may actually like the same things. Shock, horror.

After reading this post I did an experiment. We were going into Ann Summers anyway today and I asked Fractal, my man-type, to pick some underwear he would buy if he were going to. Something he liked, and something he knew I wouldn't hate. He pointed out several, all things I would be glad to receive. When asked to point out something I'd hate he got that right too.

And guess what? I also asked him if he knew my bra size. He not only told me the size of bras I am but also the size of bra I have started to secretly suspect I might actually be. And he knew my underpants size.

I don't think this is unusual either, and if it is, it shouldn't be. If you don't know your partner well enough to know their likes and dislikes, you haven't got a decent relationship. At all.

(If its a more casual thing and you're just dates or whatever then you should be sensible enough, before buying, to find out, or to not assume you'll know)

Further, if she's experimental, she'll experiment. When I started with Fractal, a year ago, I'd never worn a thong, or anything more exciting than boring black briefs. I bought a PVC dress the other day. Perhaps we're an exception that proves the rule, but I very much doubt it.

Please just stop overgeneralising about men and women in such a negative fashion, you're doing the reputation of both genders such harm. Or at the very least admit that you *are* overgeneralising.