The lights are low.
In front of the mirror I lean forwards and, angling my body to the side, examine my full length profile: juicy, muscular buttocks covered in rosy lace. The same lace cups my pert, youthful breasts. They resemble slightly overripe cooking apples, or firm nectarines held aloft – as if my chest, personified, were the madam of a particularly slutty brothel offering up flesh for passing customers to bite.
This is how I feel in that rosy lace underwear: like Cindy Crawford on a good day. And if you’re having trouble visualising what that might look like I urge you to click here.
You must think – should you believe the narrative of tales told in R&B videos and the words I just wrote above – that one glimpse of my toned silken flesh wrapped in matching underwear would be enough to spontaneously fell a decent man. Not even a decent one – on desperate days I’d be happy to fell that one I saw being sick outside the Wetherspoons at Leeds train station last week (don’t get me wrong, I do have standards – even through the vomit you could tell he would be a suitably caddish rogue in la bedroom).
But this is the lie of the bra and knicker twinset.
Like all of the most terrible lies it involves relationships and cuts like diamond sharpened glass once you unfold it.
Matching underwear is not capable of felling anybody.
There are three main reasons for that.
The first harsh underwear truth is this: a matching underwear set looks sexy only once – the first time you wear it, before that wash where it shrinks or you lose the bra or the elastic goes in the knickers or the lace starts to fray like the split ends of a home bleached barnet. If you disagree with this harsh truth it’ll be because you’re one of those women who washes their lingerie by hand, as recommended on the care label, in order to maintain its quality. In which case I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave. You don’t really fit in here. Perhaps you should try mumsnet instead.
Truth two is (obvs) that matching underwear cannot spontaneously fell a sexual partner, because you will not be spontaneously wearing it. As we all know, unless you have planned a sexual encounter in advance (in which case it’s likely to end in disaster before the underwear stage), you’ll be in one of your mum’s old sports bras and that greying thong you purchased in topshop circa 1999 with the slogan ‘he shoots, he scores’ barely visible under the faded image of a football.
Truth three is the most harsh. Particularly for anyone from the underwear advertising industry who might be reading. Men don’t care about matching underwear. Seriously. They’re well not bothered – unless they’re gay or 15 years old – even when it’s porn. As I probably don’t need to tell you (you’re undoubtedly more practised than me in all things carnal) if it’s got to the stage where you’ve let him see your underwear he’ll just want to get it off your body as quickly as he can.
Yes, alright, before you start, I know that I have a habit of selecting unrefined blokes, but I’m willing to bet fictional dollar that I’m not wrong to generalise here. People who want to have sex with women aren’t that bothered about the coordination of said woman’s undergarments.
I’m not sure from experience whether it’s the same for lesbian couples, but in the interests of inclusivity I just asked my lesbian sister whether she preferred matching underwear or old cotton briefs on a lady lover and she said, ‘I couldn’t give a flying fuck’. Which proves my point. Kind of.
But all is not lost. For us singles matching underwear can provide the kind of bliss it will never provide the coupled. This is because it is both tantalising to our own senses (see paragraph one), while promising that which it can never deliver in a way that won’t make us want to tear our beloved’s insensitive eyes out.
It’s like what Oscar Wilde said about a cigarette being the perfect type of the perfect pleasure – ‘exquisite yet it leaves one wanting for more, what more could one want?’
Wearing matching underwear when you’re single is exactly like that, I say, typing these words in my favourite black rose patterned undies and glancing sideways at my reflection between sentences – both appreciating my excellent underwear taste and longing for my flesh in a way that no man ever will. Yes, there are reasons to be single.