The Great Valentine's Day Underwear Challenge

Ah, Valentine's Day, a day when we're expected to demand diamonds, shell out for prix-fixes, and bedeck ourselves like harem-dwellers in whisps of lip-printed red lace.

I'll come clean: I love Valentine's Day. I love it in all its chintzy, shlocky, commercial, red-hued glory. I love it not like a woman who wants to be wined and dined but like the kid whose mom gave her a Valentine every year and who still sends her friends cards each February. I may or may not be eating a Conversation Heart as I write these words.

I also love lingerie. I love it so much that I lack basic sets, I spend a disproportionate amount of time hand-washing, and all my delicate panties fall apart anyway.

And yet. There is something disconcerting about knowing that one day a year, everyone around you is wearing sexy underwear. Or at least that portion of the population subject to societal pressure which is, let's face it, a lot of people. And what pressure! Seemingly every day for the past month our inbox has been flooded with lurid lines of lingerie "for Valentine's Day" — one would be forgiven for feeling that, without shelling out for a desperately uncomfy chocolate-flavored pink French Maid's outfit, she was not a whole woman. So I get it, I do. And I have no problem with the thought of people having sex, mind you — I hope that's true every day. But something about the notion of the costumes we're all secretly — but not secretly! — sporting is unnerving.

I think what really bothers me is this uniformity of what's "supposed" to be "sexy." Red. Black. Lace. You know the drill. And maybe that is your thing — but maybe it's not. And as we all know, you can't feel sexy if you don't. I also hate this idea that Valentine's lingerie is all about pleasing your man. I am sure men are as susceptible to social pressures as anyone, but in my experience, it's useless to think about what a man's lingerie preferences are. As a very general rule, they either don't care — or else have some very specific preference rooted in an adolescent fantasy. Which is all very well, but unless you're in the mood to humor that, really besides the point.

The Great Valentine's Day Underwear Challenge


So here is my proposal. I suggest we make Valentine's Day about wearing what makes us feel best. Initially, I was going to suggest we all wear cotton granny panties in protest, but in fact that's not what I like to wear, and it doesn't seem right to exchange one dictum for another. So let's instead make this about what makes us feel good — whether that means sexy, or empowered, or just plain comfy. Maybe you love cotton boy-shorts and a wire-free bra. Maybe you have a lace merry-widow and matching thigh-highs. Whatever. I propose we wear our favorite underthings, whatever this means, and do so in a conscious act of Valentine-induced self-love. I'll sit easier on the bus knowing everyone's happier, instead of just struggling with lace up the bum — incidentally, the most painful wedgie in existence.

For all of our handy Dress Code guides, go here.