The mere word makes me shudder – ‘Lllliinnggeerrrrie’, ugh. Any man that thinks it might be a good idea to buy me some in the future had better be prepared for a bit of disappointment. The hearts & flowers, oh so alluring picture painted by many a fashion designer, hotel, restaurant, chocolate maker and match maker is, a load of complete rubbish.
The first time a man bought me lingerie I was 17, he was 18, mature for his age and a guy with expensive tastes. And clearly someone who was prepared to betray his studenty, goth, beer swilling roots. I arrived home from University for Christmas, the unopened present tucked under my arm as I was met at the train station by my parents and sister. After much berating I had no choice but to open the carefully wrapped, bow on top elephant in the room, well large box taking up half of the back seat of the car, truth be told.
I slid the lid off the box and was mesmerised when all I could see inside was cream silk and there wasn’t much of it. As I took the Camisole top out of the box by its two tiny, delicate straps my sister bellowed to ‘Look, oh my God! There’s knickers as well!’, my mother’s face was one of pure horror and when my father turned to see what was going on he nearly crashed the car. My mother took me aside later on to that while the present was very beautiful, she wondered how my boyfriend knew where to buy such eh, items. She also said that my father had never bought her ‘anything like that’ and he wouldn’t have a clue how to go about it. You read that I was 17, right? Absolute mortification.
The same boyfriend continued with this theme a few years later, spending a fortune on cream silk pajamas which I felt I should wear every so often – let me tell you there is nothing sexy about wearing silk pajamas when in order to prevent icicles forming from your nose you have to get under 3 duvets because the dingy, damp, basement flat in Ranelagh you live in hasn’t proper heating.
I do own a very expensive set of cami top & knickers that I actually won in a competition – getting sexier by the minute, huh? I entered the comp as a favour to a friend trying to promote the website and I was pleasantly surprised when I got an email of congratulations, however I spent more time thinking how I’d never, ever spend €300 on two skimpy bits of material that weren’t going to see the light of day! I had the set ages when the guy I was seeing booked us into a hotel for a couple of nights on a whim. I thought to myself that I might as well take the lingerie with me and if he’s lucky I’ll squeeze myself into it and try not to catch sight of myself in any mirror. I made an excuse and went into the bathroom, the plan being to surprise him with what I wasn’t wearing as opposed to what I had been. It wasn’t as simple as slipping on the teeny knickers and I nearly had a panic attack when I really wasn’t sure that the top would go on – while my arms were over my head and I was convinced I’d heard the material rip.
He began to get worried as I’d been in the bathroom ages and shouted in, asking if I was ok. I was just putting my clothes in some sort of orderly pile in the corner when he flung open the bathroom door, perhaps not hearing my muffled shouts of ‘Don’t come in, I’m fine’, the door whacked me on the arse and my head missed the marble toilet by inches. My knees were grazed and I was praying I was still wearing some semblance of dignity when I stood up, confirmed that the flipping lingerie was still on, my eyes met his and he loudly exclaimed, ‘Jaysus! I didn’t know WHAT you were doing, I thought you’d fallen asleep on the toilet! Oh yes, it was that romantic.
This post extends beyond actual lingerie as I also have a cautionary tale about satin sheets. Satin sheets should never, ever grace any bed and if I’m in the same room as any again, I’ll sleep on the floor wrapped up in my jacket and yours if I’m really cold. I had been seeing this guy for a few weeks and when things got amorous we moved up to his bedroom.We were kissing and tearing each others clothes off and I took a step back to properly undress, whereby I promptly bumped against the side of the bed in the darkness, fell backwards onto it and immediately slid off it just as quickly. He turned on the light and I nearly vomited at the sight of the Peter Stringfellow inspired full on black satin sheets, duvet and pillows.
It was a hot night in more ways than one but when it eventually came to falling asleep, the only falling I was doing was into the middle of the bed and the dip his large frame created. It was impossible to cling onto ‘my side’ of the bed even when I stuck my hand under the mattress and developed cramp, such was the extent of the effort it took not to just slide back on the slippery surface and end up almost suffocating against him. The next morning when he chose to wake me with a kiss, his huge body more akin to that of a Second Row than a delicate lover rolled over towards me and as there was absolutely no grip on the satin, the two of us just rolled straight out of the bed and onto the floor. You remember that scene in ‘Sex and the City’ where Carrie and Big don’t even make it into bed and they whisper post coital sweet nothings to each other while on the floor, the sheet covering their modesty? Well in this case there was nothing remotely sexy about the carpet burn on my bum, the glass of water spilling over his head nor the bedside lamp whacking me on the shoulder. And then the duvet and rest of the sheet simply slid off the bed and onto us and he uttered the terribly romantic, ‘For fuck’s sake!’
I bit my tongue when I revealed to a friend in the pub that this guy had surprised me with new satin sheets. The mere statement was enough to prompt a huge guffaw of laughter from her and a knowing smile when she said, ‘Ah well, it’s the thought that counts!’