Bridal Gifts

The Plunge Guide To Buying Lingerie

Don’t do it. Stop right now. Down that road lies pain. You’ve seen the Victoria’s Secret ads, you’ve trolled the Agent Provocateur website, and you’ve drooled over catwalk models in lusty, see-through chemises. And now you’re thinking, “Hmm, that would look hot on my girl, too. I’ll buy her some.” Turn back. Like something out of a bad Chuck Norris movie, you’re volunteering for a suicide mission. Too many things can go wrong. You’ll get the wrong size. An inappropriate style. An unflattering fit. You risk tears, resentment, fights and even breakups. So don’t do it.

Still there? [Sigh.] Okay. It’s possible to make it out alive, but you have to stick to a plan. The mission has three steps: Reconnaissance, Requisition, and Deployment. But first thing’s first. Get your head straight—you need to banish those Victoria’s Secret images. Your girl is not one of those models (if she is, she’s already got plenty of lingerie). Your brain is trying to graft her head onto Claudia Schiffer’s body and that’s only going to happen in PhotoShop. It’s no longer about what you think is sexy. If you’re committed to this fool’s errand, your only hope is to figure out what will make her feel sexy. This is your guiding principle. Onto the mission.


This is the #1 complaint we hear from women: that their fiancés say they don’t care, but then, after months of gloomy silence, they criticize at the last second without offering anything constructive. It’s a fair complaint. To keep good Groom Karma, every once in a while you must offer some positive suggestions, take a stand, and, if you must, fake enthusiasm. (You think she hasn’t?)

Maybe she has a legitimate beef. Let’s say that early in your courtship, she overheard one of your buddies call her “Big Nostril Girl” or predict that she would probably “take it in the pooper.” You can’t un-ring that bell. If one of your friends has given her a credible grievance-either an isolated episode or a pattern of disrespect-then it’s your duty to defend her honor and black-ball your friend. Sorry. You just left the world of bros-before-hoes.

That being said… if she simply doesn’t like the way your buddy chews his food, or maybe she thinks he drinks too much, talks too loud, passes gas, or that his receding hairline will tarnish the wedding photos? Tough. Barring the aforementioned scenario, you are within your rights to select whomever you’d like. Don’t back down.

The basic spy work. This step is easy. Without getting busted (and awkwardly mistaken as a cross-dresser), you need to scope out her underwear drawer. As non-creepily as possible, you must gather a repository of intelligence—everything you will need for your mission. It will be overwhelming at first—different colors, fabrics, cuts, designs—but you can tighten your focus on a single point: her size.

See also: The Bridal Gift – Insult to Injury

The size is everything. Failure is not an option; if you get her something too small, she’ll feel fat. As a rule of thumb, a woman doesn’t feel sexy when she feels like a busted can of biscuits. So it can’t be too small. And if it’s too big? Then she’ll think thatyou think she’s fat—you see the Catch 22. So learn her size. Triple-confirm it as you root through her drawer. Check the tags on her gear: you’re looking for a figure like 36C, indicating both the band size (number) and cup size (letter). Panty size (S, M, hopefully not XXXXL) is also valuable intel, but the bra size is mission-critical.

You should also note the colors, especially if you’re still a rookie and haven’t yet figured out what colors she likes to wear. (Then again…if you haven’t gotten to that point, you probably shouldn’t be rummaging through her dresser drawer, right?) Pay attention to the materials she owns: some women love lace, some find it irritating. Maybe your girl only struts in silk. Take note.

Try and get a sense for her adventurousness—just how wild is she? Does she have nightgowns or teddies? Thongs or tap pants? Are her bras strapless? Are the cups full or demi? Underwire or not? Write this intel down in a secure notebook. Sear the data into your brain. It’s doable. If you can memorize the stats for your starting Running Backs and Wide Receivers in your fantasy football league, then yes, you can remember something like “36C, lace, crimson.”

One more thing to look for. For whatever reasons, Victoria’s Secret is a polarizing label—some women swear by it, some loathe it. See if she’s got any Victoria’s Secret; if not, that’s not a coincidence, and you should instead target a smaller boutique.

There’s one basic rule for all this recon: If you find it in her underwear drawer, she’ll probably like something similar.


This is the #1 complaint we hear from women: that their fiancés say they don’t care, but then, after months of gloomy silence, they criticize at the last second without offering anything constructive. It’s a fair complaint. To keep good Groom Karma, every once in a while you must offer some positive suggestions, take a stand, and, if you must, fake enthusiasm. (You think she hasn’t?)

The most challenging stage of the mission. Don’t execute this purchase like you would your porn — trying to slip the contraband between an armload of newspapers and sweatshirts. Guess what? The salesgirl knows you’re buying lingerie as an overture to sex. She knows you’ve been “doing it,” you wanna “do it,” and you’re thinking about “doing it” right now. Get over it. Better yet, own it.

When you walk in you’ll be embarrassed, beset on all sides by salesgirls, customers, and cashiers. They pity you as another poor sap who’s in over his head. You’ll feel small. You’ll feel shrinkage. You’ll feel less like George Clooney and more like Michael Cera.

Don’t bolt. Stand your ground. Don’t revert to the bashful adolescent self whose ass you thought you’d kicked long ago, the one who stammers when buying condoms. A knowledgeable salesgirl can be your spirit-guide through this wilderness. Hold your position, and graciously accept her help. Take courage from the friendly little devil on your shoulder, who’s telling the salesgirl, “Yeah, that’s right. I’ve got a woman, and you know what we do? We fuck. Because I’m a man. And if I had the time or an open relationship, then you and I could fuck, too, right here in the store.” (It’s generally advised that you think this, not say it.)

See also: Feeding The Bridal Ego – Announcing In The New York Times

Repeat this mantra to yourself. It will nourish your confidence, steel you. The salesgirl will be impressed at how comfortably you can discuss your girl’s turn-ons outside of a locker room. This will distinguish you from the other chumps who wander in. The good news? The bar has been set so low that just knowing your lady’s correct size—without guessing, without squinting and making awkward gestures with your hands—could win you a round of applause from the entire sales staff. So just man-up. Don’t be afraid to ask her anything.

Now that you’ve won the hearts and minds of the sales staff, it’s time to make some decisions. Don’t go straight for the crotchless panties, figuring, “Hey, these will save some time.” In a scientific nationwide survey, every single woman I have spoken to draws the line at crotchless. But what if that’s what you really, really, reeeeaaaly want? Tough. Remember, you’re shooting for what makes her feel sexy. It’s best to relegate crotchless this to a longer-term mission. Think of it as a Lifetime Achievement Award— something that may come your way after you’ve put in your time. Buying crotchless for your first lingerie is like asking for anal during your first kiss.

In fact, unless you have emphatic, undisputed knowledge of a kinkiness level that’s off the charts (i.e. the first time you hooked up, she slammed you against the wall and asked you for a “safety word”), then stick to the baseline you established during recon. It’s imperative that you avoid the following kind of exchange:

You: “Merry Christmas, honey!”

Her: “What kind of a whore do you think I am?”

You: (awkward pause): “A very special one?”

Even more awkward if Christmas is with her folks this year.

So no crotchless. You should also avoid one-piece items, unless previous intel establishes your girl has a penchant for them. These can be difficult to fit correctly, whereas with a bra and panty combo, you can’t go wrong if you’ve got the right sizes.

Your salesgirl will have a barrage of questions about what style you’re looking for. The average shmuck is clueless. But since you’ve done your recon, you’ll have all the answers. If your salesgirl is worth her salt, she may trip you up with this mindfuck: “What are her problem areas?” Careful. Don’t pretend your girl doesn’t have any. An oversight here could sink the whole mission. What parts of her body is your lady uncomfortable with? If she’s concerned about her midriff, try something with good coverage (or maybe even a flattering corset). If she’s self-conscious about an unassertive chest, get a bustier to bust it out. Again, it’s about making her feel sexy—because if she doesn’t feel sexy, ain’t nobody getting laid.

A word of caution here. Take advantage of your salesgirl’s services, but within reason: don’t let the movie in your head go to your head. Don’t even think about asking her to model lingerie… unless you want to battle a legion of rent-a-cops in true Chuck Norris style.


This is the #1 complaint we hear from women: that their fiancés say they don’t care, but then, after months of gloomy silence, they criticize at the last second without offering anything constructive. It’s a fair complaint. To keep good Groom Karma, every once in a while you must offer some positive suggestions, take a stand, and, if you must, fake enthusiasm. (You think she hasn’t?)

Finally, the holiday/birthday/anniversary has arrived. She’s carefully opened your professionally wrapped present and, probably, cocked a skeptical eyebrow. She’ll barricade herself in the bathroom and check out how she looks before she lets you get a peek. The fruits of your recon will ripen as she realizes the item fits, she likes the color, and it doesn’t take her beyond her comfort zone. She feels sexy and safe. These are the details that turn up the heat for her. It’s no wonder men are asleep within minutes after orgasm— we’ve already engaged in hours of painstaking work before the foreplay even begins.

If you want her to prance about for you in her new underthings, set the mood, for crying out loud, put on some Barry White. Or Jack White, whatever. Anything. (That being said…only go for the Barry White or Al Green if you do it with humor and panache. Otherwise? It’s cheesy.) She doesn’t want to twirl around in front of you, awkward, confused, wondering if you find this sexy while crickets chirp indifferently in the background. You need music.

While she models for your approval, you’ve got a tactical decision to make: do you ever want to see her in this get-up again? If the answer is no, feel free to say, “Wow, you look great,” strip her down and get busy. She’ll misinterpret this, get the wrong impression, and decide she hasn’t lived up to the image in your head…and henceforth will only consent to dutiful, lights-off missionary. However, if you’d like her to parade your hard-won purchase again? Or, more importantly, if you’d like to keep pushing the envelope toward that crotchless maid’s uniform, latex catsuit or whatever image is in your sick, reptilian brain? Then the key, as with life in general and sex in particular, is patience.

See also: Reader Question of the Day – “WTF Is a Bridal Gift? Do I Need One?”

Give it time. Slow things down. Devote more time to admiring her new tricked-out look, and be specific in your praise. Ideally something more elaborate than “You’re purty.” Let your eyes and hands linger over the texture of the garment. Initiate its removal in tantalizing, slow stages. The more time you take and the more genuine praise you give, the bigger the reward you will reap. Play these cards right, and you might never have to buy another piece of lingerie again. She’ll start surprising youwith her own naughty finds and you can gently steer her, always the Puppet-Master, toward whatever strumpet-y fantasies you secretly crave.

After-Action Report:

Once the smoke has cleared, you can rest easy, safe in the knowledge that the mission was a success, no civilians were hurt, and you’re a newly-minted hero, at least until morning. And if you want to fake dozing while she’s muttering about having to sleep in the wet spot again…that’s okay. This time, for once, you’ve earned it.

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