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Mind Of Man: What’s Wrong With The Word “Panties,” Anyway?

It was a total misunderstanding that one time I bought a woman I was dating sexy lingerie, the slinky, lacy kind that looked like it was made out of the doilies that decorated my grandmother’s beloved sofa. She thought I was disingenuously buying her a gift that was really a gift for me. I protested, of course, because it was never my idea to veer into Victoria Secret’s during one of our weekend shopping excursions that were theoretically about her training me to be, if not fashion forward, then at least fashion neutral. A happy compromise, considering I, apparently, was clinging to late-’90s fashion like a koala bear to the last eucalyptus tree on Earth. But, in fact, these sprees were about her dragging me by the throat to store after store.

I am not partial, nor do I demand, or even, frankly, fantasize, about women in garters, frilly underwear, or a bustier with as much architectural thought put into it as a Gothic church. Lingerie makes a woman feel sexy, and we respond accordingly. If a floral, polyester muumuu made you feel sexy, we’d respond accordingly to that.

Which was fine: she enjoyed it. I enjoyed her enjoyment. After all, she sat through horror movies and dutifully feigned interest in my, ahem, graphic novels. But Victoria’s Secret was a different labor unto itself. Next time you’re at a Victoria’s Secret, note that there are two types of men there. Those who pace around at the front of the store, playing with their phones, counting ceiling tiles, retreating to safe, internal worlds where Mack trucks fight hydras, each waiting patiently, happily even. And then there are those who follow their girlfriends or wives like ducklings, grim, waddling ducklings, making sure not to stare at other women, or the mannequins, nodding their heads approvingly at whatever is showcased, and I mean “whatever.”

The misunderstanding was simple. I thought she liked to wear expensive lingerie, because she sure as hell liked to browse, model, and buy it. She liked to wear it too, vamping out from the bathroom slowly, lighting a vanilla votive candle, a choir of cherubs humming “Super Freak,” crawling over to me. (Question: what is the deal with women and candles that smell like food?)

I am not partial, nor do I demand, or even, frankly, fantasize, about women in garters, frilly underwear, or a bustier with as much architectural thought put into it as a Gothic church. Lingerie makes a woman feel sexy, and we respond accordingly. If a floral, polyester muumuu made you feel sexy, we’d respond accordingly to that.

Keep wearing your lingerie of course. Just know that your naked body is all we want.

The first time I ever saw a woman in lingerie was a brief-ish fling I had when I had first moved to New York City to become a writer, or a drunk, or somewhere in between (success!). She was older, experienced, urbane, and, for some reason, seduced a boy who, a year or so prior, had been in Texas, eating cheese doodles and watching “Fight Club” on a continuous loop. She taught me a lot, like how to swirl my wine before sipping it, because it stirred up the tannins or flavor crystals or whatever. She introduced me to sushi, to New York magazine, and the reverse cowgirl. One night, before we made love, or to those of you who are romantically challenged, sauced the love taco, she revealed a perfect body sheathed in a purple lattice-work of silk. I was stunned. Her astoundingly beautiful badonkadonk was swaddled in gloriousness. It was like cake on top of cake. Christmas ass! Once I was able to very carefully peel off the lingerie, she used me like the plaything I had no idea I was.

But like Christmas, lingerie is only really necessary once a year. What really drove me nuts was when she’d walk out of the shower after a long day, wearing a t-shirt, a pair of panties peaking out from underneath as she’d crawl into bed. But the lingerie seemed to give her permission to go all sultry sex goddess jungle cat, so I never mentioned a preference. It made her feel sexy. Also, I think women, deep down, love making things pretty, especially packages. The older woman and I exchanged gifts once, I think the occasion was pure treacle, a three month anniversary or something. My gift looked like a Frankenstein’s monster of scotch tape and poorly cut out, uneven lengths of birthday and Valentine’s Day wrapping paper. Her’s was impeccable, seamless, as if it had been born that way.

Dudes will back me up on this, I am sure. We’d prefer you in a t-shirt and a pair of cute little panties over the latest Victoria’s Secret erotic sweatshop skivvies. I am a straight-up sucker for panties. Crumpled on the floor, peaking up from jeans, even panty lines. Sex with panties on, sex with panties on my head. That women seem to hate the word “panties,” only compels me to whisper the word. It’s naughty, perhaps condescending, but I can’t help it. What are we supposed to call them? Undergarments? That’s so… Amish.

Ultimately, whatever makes you feel the way we think about you every minute of the day is fine by us dudes. But cheap, plain, white cotton panties do the trick, too. Little hearts on them don’t hurt.

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