The covert operation of men buying sexy lingerie

February 22, 2005|By SUSAN REIMER

SO, GIRLFRIEND. Did he give you something sexy for Valentine's Day?

Did it fit?

Would you be caught dead in it?

Did you feel like you should talk price before you put it on?

If that gift of lingerie created issues instead of opportunities, your significant other clearly didn't have the chance to read "The Gentleman's Guide to Buying Lingerie," which appeared this month in Today's Officer, a publication of the Military Officers Association of America.

Count on the military to find new avenues for training. This article tells men everything except what to do when the lingerie comes off.

"One of the biggest reasons lingerie buying can be so traumatic is because most men don't know a teddy from Ted Williams," says freelance writer Don Vaughan, who is not an officer.

He follows that statement with a glossary of terms: chemise, baby doll, teddy, bustier and boy shorts among them.

With a clever nod to his audience of military officers, he says that preparation is the key in lingerie buying. Especially, knowing her size. "This might require a reconnaissance mission to her underwear drawer and closet," he writes.

Vaughan collected advice from a number of lingerie salespeople, most of whom have much experience dealing with confused men.

The most common mistake is purchasing something you'd like to see her wearing instead of something she would feel sexy wearing. If she feels weird, things aren't going to progress.

Another common mistake, according to Vaughan's experts, is not knowing which body parts your wife or girlfriend wants to camouflage.

"We know that you love her body just the way it is, but she may hate her butt or her stomach," says Sheila Hostler, manager of Adam & Eve Retail in Raleigh, N.C.

A well-trained salesperson can help you make a strategic purchase or you can unscrew the light bulbs in the bedroom, whichever is most helpful.

Because there are female officers in the military, a sidebar article also appeared, written by a woman and quoting men on their willingness to wear whatever costume their sweetheart purchases.

Red silk boxers? Absolutely, swore one man, who described himself as a briefs kind of guy.

I asked Today's Officer senior editor Erin O'Neal (a journalist, not an officer) if she felt military men needed more help than others in this delicate area.

"All men can learn from this article, whether they are military or civilian," she said from her offices in Alexandria, Va.

"Men are men. In uniform or business clothes or casual wear. They could all use a little help."

This isn't the kind of article officers are used to reading in Today's Officer. O'Neal explained that the quarterly usually runs articles describing the military's newest weapons or what is going on in the field of battle.

"But sometimes we like to help them in social situations, too," she said.

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