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When It Comes To Lingerie, Here’s What Men Don’t Care About

What men really think about undergarments.

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Red, black, and pink lingerie on white background
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My first significant lingerie experience occurred in Paris when I was 20. I was in a communal women’s dressing room at a clothing shop, and the woman next to me, who was at least 50, pulled off her shirt to reveal an exquisite brassiere, beautifully molded to her body. Made of gray satin and trimmed with pink lace, it had a rosette perched on each strap. I was deeply impressed. Surely this was someone who held herself in high esteem, a woman who valued her sensual nature! Or was it a French thing? In any event, my future seemed brighter. I saw that no matter how old I got, I could always wear great lingerie!

Lingerie is women’s underwear, sleepwear and other intimate apparel.

“Intimate apparel,” that wonderful phrase, need not be elaborate. You might prefer a cotton-knit nightgown instead of one that’s silk and lace. For many years now, women have been sleeping in T-shirts instead of nightgowns, and if that’s your jam (or pajama), choose a shirt that you’ll wear just for sleeping, in a color that flatters your face. Even if you live alone (you have mirrors, right?), make sure it looks good without a bra. Think scoop neck.

Speaking of bras, do you have one you’ve been saving for special occasions? Start wearing it now! The elastic in a bra will start breaking down whether it’s worn or not. There used to be a lingerie shop near me that had a yearly sidewalk sale. Anything with elastic would go into the bins, and the savings were outrageous: $70 bras would be two for $25! I got greedy and bought many bras in fanciful styles and colors (lemon, green, fuchsia), which I rarely wore. With time, their elastic degraded, and I had to discard them almost unworn.

You can’t buy a bra online — you need to try it on, preferably in consultation with an experienced saleswoman who can advise you on style and fit. Choose it for beauty, then try it on for comfort. With bras as with shoes, fit is paramount. Does it give you just the right lift? Does it lift you aesthetically, too? Now, put on the thin T-shirt you have worn or brought expressly for this purpose. Does the bra look as good under clothes as it does on its own?

How about panties? Again, comfort and fit come first, and, yes, you need to try on panties (over your own) before buying them. Make sure the elastic isn’t so tight that it makes your flesh bulge. Does it create a panty line under your dress — and do you care? (“I’ve always found panty lines sexy,” says my ex.)

If the fit is fine, almost anything goes: a provocative frill, a tiny bow, a leopard-skin print. Why not? It’s a secret thrill to know that underneath your utilitarian garb you’re wearing black lace or white satin.

Even if, especially if, you’re the only one who ever sees it, great lingerie is a gift to your erotic self. Psychotherapist Esther Perel explains a woman’s psyche like this: “What turns her on is to be turned on. That is the secret of female sexuality. It is massively narcissistic.” Indulging in lingerie is all about pleasing yourself — and, perhaps, other women. Your best friends may admire your charming new scanties and so might the ladies at your gym.

But isn’t lingerie about seducing men? In my experience — almost never! Only one man I’ve known had any interest at all in traditional lingerie, and he was too interested in it: He asked me to wear a garter belt and stockings, which he then declined to remove. I’ve heard of only one other man who made a special underwear request: My friend’s husband likes her to wear white cotton underpants up to the waist. Go figure!

Most men regard undergarments of any sort as mere impediments to desire, items to be quickly removed to expose the flesh beneath. They don’t care if the bra comes from Walmart or Bergdorf Goodman — they just hope they can get it off easily. When it comes to lingerie, most men don’t really care.

Just last week, I went to an orthopedist to get a shot of cortisone for my shoulder. He and his assistant, a young woman, were getting me ready, and, hesitantly, she asked if I wanted to get into a gown. It did seem silly and unnecessary. “It’s OK,” I said, hiking up my long-sleeved sweater over my head. Underneath, I was wearing a white mesh bra with roses embroidered on the cups. The doctor didn’t notice, just applied the needle. But above her mask, the assistant’s eyes widened with appreciation.

Do you still wear lingerie? Where do you buy it? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Lifestyle