I bought my first item of lingerie at the age of 12 at the local department store. It was a silk garter belt, purple with black lace trim, 26” waist. I didn’t have much money, so panties and stockings had to come over the following weeks as my weekly allowance accummulated. Since the store was only a few blocks from my home, I guess I was nervous about being spotted, at least I think I was, only I don’t remember hesitating. I do remember taking the time to figure out my size, to make sure to get it right, holding up to my body to check. Buying it didn’t bother me, but the idea of returning it and having to say it didn’t fit would have been more challenging.
Over the years I have learned to love shopping for smalls, especially in fancy shops. For one, it is like being a kid in a candy store. Being surrounded by lingerie is like being wrapped in wrapping paper, it is magical and beautiful. What is prettier than a lacy bra and panty set?
For a few years I worked at one of Britain’s most iconic stores, purveyor of most women’s underwear in the UK. There weren’t many men in my department, and I found that if I just listened, the conversations were always a lot more interesting than any I might have started.
One day one of the ladies started talking about men who bought lingerie, and how you could tell just by their demeanour whether they were buying for themselves or for their partners. Whether they were “perverts” or not. My ears rather perked up at this conversation.
I asked her, “what do you do?” She said that it was always best to ask if they needed assistance. She surmised that the ones who were shopping for someone else usually wanted help, and those that did not either left straight away or said they would be fine on their own.
Up until that point I had always shopped on my own, but heavens, not in our stores! After this revelation, I started to ask for help, either waiting for the saleslady to come to me, or going to them and enlisting her help right away. Does she know? I used to wonder.
Now I remove all doubt. The question always comes, ‘what size?’, and while I know by now very well what size, I always let her know they are for me. I either do this by standing before her and looking down at myself and ask, “what do you think,” or just say, “my size.”
I used to worry that the saleslady might be offended, or grossed out, or worst of all, that she might refuse to serve me. So far it hasn’t happened. Instead, the opposite has happened.
First off, I get great advice. What to wear, how to match, what looks good with what. It opens up the magic of the shop. Second, many of them tease me in a playful way, half modelling or crazier still, holding them up to me, “I think they’ll look lovely, don’t you?”
I love a woman who can wink at me. And my message to cross-dressers and trans who have fear: they will think you are weird if you skulk about, but if you are open and honest they will help you out. And let me tell you, being open is liberating.