Apr 17, 2012

Tales from the Lingerie Mines

It figures! I write about having no blog ideas and suddenly...*wham*...I have some. Stupid brain!

While replying to a post over at EC Stilson’s wonderful blog, I made mention of a particularly interesting job I had a few years back. Thinking about it brought back all sorts of fun memories. I figured it might be cool to share some of them with you all.

You see, a while back I ran the online department at a major women’s intimate apparel company (that’s bras and panties for the laypeople out there). No, it wasn’t Victoria’s Secret and no I don’t have Adriana Lima’s phone number...Just for the record, even if I did, I wouldn’t give it to you. They’re more on the functional, day-to-day side of things, as opposed to being overly sexy / sleazy (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I won’t mention the name to spare the innocent (namely myself just in case any former co-workers stumble upon this). I’ll just say that it was an awesome place to work and some days I definitely miss it...and not just because of the various model shots I would often spend hours cropping for the website.

Being a guy working in women’s underwear (so to speak) can be a bit of an odd thing initially. For starters, there was the challenge of trying to learn the intricacies of products I don’t use or plan on using. The truth, though, is that things like these are minor hurdles to cross. Most of the true oddness was in the amusing little quirks. Quirks such as:
  • Some customers, especially the older ones, didn’t seem to take kindly to dealing with a man. Being in charge meant that sometimes issues with orders would be escalated to me. On rare occasion, I would answer the phone to the voice of a sweet little old lady who would then proceed to go ballistic upon my answering. However, it was not so much because of whatever issue they originally had. No, it was simply because I was man. “I won’t discuss my underwear with you!” I heard more than once from some shocked customer. This always blew my mind. For starters, I’m a professional and always try to act like one. It’s not like I would answer my phone while breathing heavily and then start demanding pictures. Also, let’s not be silly. Being that it was part of my job, the second they were forwarded to me I had their entire order history up on my screen. Trust me, it wasn’t that interesting. Oh, you wear a size 7 panty? Congratulations. Now how can I help you?

  • One word: drama. Our products were pretty well received, but when someone did have an! I can’t tell you how many emails we received that mentioned how one of our bras “ruined my life.” Seriously! There must be people out there leading quite the charmed existence if a bra malfunction is the worst thing that’s ever happened to them. After a while, I used to joke that maybe we should change the motto of the company to Ruining Lives, One Bra at a Time. Sadly, our marketing department never got around to adopting it.

  • The products. No, there’s nothing inherently funny about underwear itself. However, one day while carrying some product downstairs for a photo shoot (down, boy! It was with a mannequin), I had a revelation. This was the first time in my life I had ever worked for a company where I could roam the halls carrying an armload of women’s underwear and not be arrested. What a liberating feeling that was!

  • TMI! Some of our customers loved to share...I mean really loved to share. Unfortunately those customers were often men and the things they loved to share were often pictures, usually of themselves. Being that some of the emails on the website came directly to me, I received far more than my fair share of “Dear XXXX! Me and my buddy, Gus, just love wearing your thongs. Please find attached pics of us modeling them for you.” There is a saying online: That which is seen cannot be unseen. Believe me when I say it’s true. Oh God is it true! Yet for some reason, much like how it is nearly impossible to not stare at a bad traffic accident, I just had to click on them each and every time. I don’t even want to know what that says about me.
As I said, it was definitely one of the more interesting places I have ever worked, as well as one of the more fun. And at the end of the day, I learned a lot...including far more about women’s underwear than I ever really wanted to know. I’ve had quite a few times since then when I’ll see a women walk by wearing a tight, fairly-translucent tee-shirt and my first thought will be, Hey, she’s wearing model # XYZ.

Yeah, sometimes I worry about me too.

In other, non-underwear related news:

If you haven't already seen it, Bill the Vampire is currently guest blogging over at Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews. Stop by and say hi!


Janie Junebug said...

Congrats on the book signing. A bra has never ruined my life, but now I'm curious. How does a bra ruin one's life?


I beg of you: Get rid of the word verification. Use comment moderation if you're worried. Everybody, and I mean everybody, hates words verification.

Rick G said...


Still not sure. Most people's "trauma" involved something like a bra strap breaking while they were in the office. Not fun I'm sure, but hardly life threatening.

I'll consider the word verification thing. Although I took it off for all of one day and got bombarded with spam.

CarrieVS said...

I remember when word verification was only a very minor annoyance. These days, I often have to refresh it half a dozen times before I get one I can decipher.

Greta said...

What a hoot of a read :) If I might relate a funny snippet from the trenches (so to speak) I was buying some underwear from a place known as the Bra Bar when a biker (male) walked in, complete with tats, beard and receding grey hair tied back in a ponytail. He looks round, kinda surprised, then walked out again. I imagine he expected a different kind of Bra Bar.

Rick G said...

(raises white flag) Ok ok. Word verification turned off / moderation turned on. We'll see how it goes.

I am not so dense so as to not take a hint. :)

Crazy Life of a Writing Mom said...

This is HILARIOUS! Thanks for the mention.

This line had me rolling with laughter--it's soooo true!
"There must be people out there leading quite the charmed existence if a bra malfunction is the worst thing that’s ever happened to them."