I DON'T have the body of a lingerie model, lingerie china but I have the underwear drawer of one. Not that models need the frilly garments. Truth is, perfect shape or not, no one actually needs a black and red flouncy silk thing called a baby doll, certainly not a 38-year-old mother of two like me.
I first discovered the world of fine washables right out of college while working as a fact checker at a women's magazine. When I got my first paycheck, I planned to spend the discretionary dollars on a fantastic outfit to wear to the office. But the meager remainder after I had paid my rent and bills -- around $20 -- was not enough to buy more than a pair of underwear. So that's what I bought, at Bloomingdale's. They were black satin, by Natori.
Swishing around in such extravagance the next day under my CP Shades skirt, I felt just as cool as the fashion editors in Armani. I imagined that if I were hit by a bus, the emergency medical guys who took off my clothes to administer life-saving techniques would work that much harder upon seeing my undergarments.
Hooked, I started acquiring camisoles, thongs, demibras. It was on a first date with an older, successful freelance writer that I discovered the effect of lingerie on men. Over dinner he seemed to be staring at my left shoulder, where, I noticed, a magenta bra strap was showing. Should I cover it up? I experimented, strategically moving my shirt so that more of the strap was exposed. ''Check, please!'' he said.