Posts Tagged ‘Lingerie’

Biancheria intima – a tale of mistaken identity!

April 23, 2010

Here’s a cautionary tale about buying lingerie as a gift when in a foreign country – although I’m not sure exactly what the moral of the story is!

Alan, a 50-something former colleague of mine, went on honeymoon to Europe with his new bride.  While in Italy, he was taking a stroll when he noticed a lingerie boutique that had some rather lovely ensembles in the window. 

As a romantic gesture to his wife (who was not present with him at the time), he went into the shop and tried to purchase one of the garments.  Although his Italian was poor, he figured that the international language of money would suffice.  Surely all he had to do was point to the shop-window dummy that was displaying the item he wanted to buy (in my mind it’s a violet silk teddy, trimmed with beige lace), and indicate with his credit card that he’d like to purchase it?

Well, you would think so.  However, the shop staff put up strong objections, which Alan of course couldn’t understand.  Why on earth wouldn’t they just wrap up the damn garment for him?  Weren’t they in the business of selling lingerie, after all?  Eventually, the answer become clear.  What they were trying to say to Alan was: But Sir, it’ll NEVER FIT YOU!!!  (Alan was/is a portly gentleman.) 

Evidently the shop was frequented by transvestites, and the shop staff assumed that Alan wanted the outfit for his own use – thus were encouraging him to buy a much larger size than the one on the display dummy!

Alan was sufficiently amused by this episode to share it with his friends and colleagues when he returned to work.  All I can advise, by way of learning, is that if you are a male purchasing gift lingerie while abroad, perhaps also teach yourself the local words for “It’s for my wife”!

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Thong = wrong

March 11, 2010

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: giving sexy underwear to someone you are not in a sexy relationship with is…weird.  A bit creepy, in fact.

Some people give it with the purest of intentions, though – like a female relative who recently gave me (among other, more suitable things) this lacy thong for my birthday.  Brand name: Pleasure State.  For a terrible moment, while I was opening the gift and saw the label, I feared that the contents might be an…er…’adult’ toy.  In the end I was relieved that it was only a thong.

I was definitely embarrassed by this gift. 

Outside of intimate relationships, gifts of lingerie are best left to plain, non-sexy, everyday-type underwear or, better yet, skipped entirely – there’s bound to be a better gift.

“Eat me”

January 15, 2010

There’s a great example of creative gift-giving in Marian Keyes’ latest novel, The Brightest Star in the Sky (Michael Joseph, 2009):

Laid out on…the counter was a series of gifts for her.  A bottle of champagne with a Post-it saying ‘Drink me’; a kilo box of Godiva chcolates saying ‘Eat me’; a huge bunch of roses saying ‘Smell me’; and a pink beribboned box of wispy underwear saying ‘Wear me’.

What a great way to give presents when you can’t be there in person!  (The giver of this lovely loot had unfortunately to be overseas on business on the day of his girlfriend’s birthday.

Definitely worth emulating, even if on a smaller scale – not all of us can afford kilo boxes of Godiva chocolates, etc.

And the clever, instruction-based labelling is itself probably inspired by the food and drink that Alice discovers in Alice in Wonderland (or is it Through The Looking Glass?  I’m never sure!)

On inappropriate gifts

May 10, 2009

A bookkeeper friend of mine told me how her former employers – a married couple running an advertising firm – used to give her racy lingerie as their annual Christmas gift to her. She found this mortifying. The bosses gave Sharon the negligees, teddies etc, because they genuinely thought they would be luxurious and exciting for her, something a little different. Apparently it never crossed their minds that gifts of sexy knickers could be considered patronising, cause embarrassment or even be misconstrued (as a subtle invitation to a threesome, for example).

My advice: underwear as a gift is rarely appropriate. The exceptions being:

1) between people who are in a sexual relationship (and even then, you’d better get the size and style right!) and

2) it’s okay, and even customary in some families, for grandmothers to give their grandchildren underwear, of the plain cotton variety.  Even though the grandkids won’t be much enthused about it.

For everyone else – steer well clear!