lingerie store lingerie shopping for wifeGrinding thumbnail into palm, I make my first solo entrance into a Victoria's Secret -- but not before glancing left and right to check that my old high school gym teacher is not watching.

The last place a guy feels comfortable with his masculinity is in the frilly hell of a lingerie store. We can't help it. On the playground, we're taught that hopscotch, dolls, and other sissy pursuits make our special friend fall off. I imagine the bonanza awaiting the inventor of a store just for men looking for girly gifts. There, big, manly flat screens would broadcast hoops while cans of chewing tobacco and Pabst rimmed the perimeter.

"What exactly are you looking for?" a hot saleslady in her 20s asks.

"Something for my wife," I reply. I must have told her this five times, because it's so important to me that, while standing alone in a lingerie store, strangers think of me as a man capable of a long sexual relationship with the opposite sex.

But what guy knows exactly what he's looking for in a lingerie store? My dumb silence launches her into a list: "We have cammies, teddies, tap pants, body stockings ..."

"I don't know, something hot" is the best I can do. Adding to my embarrassment, the fact that a pretty woman in her 20s is smiling at me has me visibly enchanted. I imagine that she is Victoria herself and that her secret is the designs she has on wrecking my marriage in the changing room.

I am now hiding my enchantment behind a rack of frilly black intimates that I cannot identify but am pretending to peruse. (Note to self: jeans, not sweatpants, on the next lingerie store visit.)

My plan to not call attention to myself hits its most serious snag yet when I trip over the base of the rack and 25 of whatever these things are cascade onto the polished floor. As I calmly try refastening the intimates to their hangers, Victoria tries not to snicker, which sets her immediately apart from several of her co-workers and patrons. She tells me not to worry as I grab a size 3 of the mystery thing and follow the most direct trajectory to the register.

At least no lingerie experience in life will ever be worse. This is what I think before presenting my wife with her new teddy and learn that she's a size 4.

"At least I didn't buy a size too big, assuming you were bigger!" is what I actually say.

In my next blog, read all about my week on the couch.

Have you considered what your man endures to buy you intimate gifts?


Image via thinkretail/Flickr