Reclaiming the black lingerie in my underwear drawer.
There is a beautiful bra and panties set folded neatly at the top of my underwear drawer. Made from black and nude lace, with an intricate floral design sewn on the cups. Definitely not an everyday t-shirt bra, or the kind of underwear I can wear to the gym. Easily the sexiest thing I own. These are special occasion pieces, and not for the faint of heart. I spotted them at my best friend’s family-owned fine lingerie store in Providence, Rhode Island on a weekend shopping trip. I hate to admit it, but I bought them for you.
See, I never figured myself as the type of woman that would buy lingerie to make a man happy. I started buying bras at a young age because I needed them, so I have always shopped for underwear out of necessity, out of practicality. But when I knew you would be coming to visit, I had to buy something that I thought would turn you on, would make you glad you flew all that way just to see me. When I saw this lingerie, the first thing that went through my head was that I knew you’d like them. I hate to admit it, but I bought them for you.
The calendar was relentless – days ticked slowly, weekends creeped by like molasses – but then finally, it was here. I cut off the tags. I picked you up from the airport. It wasn’t a perfect weekend, but you were here, and for once we were in the same place, which was enough for me. Before I even had the chance to show you the lingerie I had bought in anticipation of your arrival, though, you let me know that being together in the same room at the same time wasn’t enough for you. The bra and panties stayed in the underwear drawer. I sat on my bed and cried, watching you fold each of your sweaters painstakingly well, as if you were learning how to fold your laundry for the first time from your mother. Fold the right sleeve in by the stitching at the shoulder, then the left sleeve. Bring the neckline to the hem of the shirt. Place gently in suitcase.
“I’m sorry, Jules, that this didn’t work out the way you wanted it to,” you had said. You folded a pair of pants, placed your Chuck Taylor’s in a side pocket of your bag.
I tried to prove that I wasn’t falling apart. “You didn’t even get to see my lingerie,” I half-heartedly joked.
You laughed. “That is quite a shame.”
I drove you to the airport, and then I never heard from you again.
For two months after that, I never touched the black lingerie in my underwear drawer, as if making physical contact with the objects would somehow burn me, or harm me, or remind me even more of you than any other emotional cue already was. I never wore the bra or panties under any clothes I wore out on the few dates I went on in an attempt to move on from you, not even thinking that I could feel sexy or alive or desirable if I wore them. I only thought about how I hated to admit that I bought them for you.
Maybe it took me longer than expected, or longer than it should have, but I’ve reclaimed the black lingerie in my underwear drawer. Okay fine, I bought them for you. I hate that that’s true. But since then, I’ve realized that even if the impetus to purchase them from my friend’s store in Rhode Island was because of some stupid guy, it doesn’t have to be the reason that I wear them. There’s a beautiful black bra and panties set in my underwear drawer that will be a support system in the literal sense, but will also carry woven into that lacy fabric a sense of empowerment, feelings of self-worth, that walk-into-a-room-with-my-head-held-high kind of swagger, and maybe some sexy secrets along the way. Now, I wear them for me.
So yes, I bought them for you, and I hate that. But I love that you won’t be the last to see them. And what I love even more than that, is that you weren’t even the first.