I often wonder if there are many advantages to being a Woman.
(Notwithstanding the unforgiveable way men have behaved towards Women over the centuries… and continue to do so in the dark toilets of this planet, like Yemen…)
Is there a way to harness the ritual of getting ready for a potentially draining social event so that we can feel safe, even empowered? This could be Victoria’s greatest secret.
Specifically, the longer ritual of preparation – with or without make-up – can be made to mean something far deeper (emotionally) than the obvious physcial practicalities of needing to look our best for the party.
My Mum was an area manager for PippaDee Parties – ladies’ knickers if you’ve never heard of them.
Whilst, as a child, I wasn’t invited to the parties, for obvious reasons, I grew up surrounded by a vivacious group of ladies who were excited about underwear.
This is alien to the male of the species.
Simply, this is not an opportunity straight men have. Our underwear is either boring or subjected to juvenile prints of Homer Simpson.
I’ve never lost my fascination with the enduring and lingering power of lingerie – “underwear” is the wrong word because it can become such a vital part of both the ritual of preparation, and the armour required to face the challenge of the day.
I read of a High Court Judge (female and American) who got a real buzz from knowing that under the drab black wings of her court outfit she was sporting the latest, finest plumage in designer lingerie. The lingerie was for her – for no-one else. And it worked. She felt empowered. Invincible.
Even our own dear Bridget Jones has faced the dilemma of the Big Knickers vs the empowering torture of unreasonable under-clothing!
If George Bernard Shaw has been a transvestite, he may well have said, “The reasonable person dresses to please the World; the unreasonable person dresses to change the World – that’s why all progress depends on unreasonable underwear!”
I hope that made you laugh, and that the ghost of Shaw will forgive my reframing of his powerful prose.
My (perhaps) over-lengthy point is that if you’re going out tonight you may need ‘protection’… the protection of a ritual preparation involving the deliberate and meaningful choice of which perfume, which make-up, which under-wear, which outer-wear to choose to prepare to become invincible and impervious to any energy vampire you may encounter. Everything can mean something if we choose it to.
Male choices may be smaller but they still exist. I remember meeting a teacher who wore a different colour tie as a code to his class as to how open he was to either ‘playfulness’ today, or how closed he was to being mucked about. The code was secret and unwritten, but they learned! So much communication is below the threshold of consciousness. So much communication is underware/underwear, under our awareness!
In my golden days of training I encouaged my students to layer as many senses on purpose as they could imagine to access, maintain, or recover an emotional state.
- Something they could see that means that emotion to them (e.g. “confidence”)
- Something they could say to themselves and something they could listen to like a playlist for the mood they were choosing
- Something they could physically do or physically change or physically wear – I never underestimate the power of heels. They are madness physiologically, but emotionally they are dynamite. Clothes matter. They empower you to ad-dress your state of mind! Interestingly, a ‘cloak’ is often associated with being ‘anointed’ to play a role in the good old Bible. They talk of a ‘mantle’ of leadership… fascinating!
- Ideally, something distinctive to wear as a scent – the sense of smell being the most powerful courier of emotion, memory and state – below the threshold of consciousness.
- And let’s not forget taste. Popeye had his spinach… what is the taste of confidence, I wonder? After all, isnt’ there the sweet taste of success or even of …revenge!
Distincitve choices are important. Crucial, in fact, otherwise the meanings get muddied in the mix of emotions. Confidence panties should be kept for situations where confidence is required. Relaxing knickers are and should be different!
To get you started, here are seven magnificent states I like to trigger at will:
- Confidence (can be quiet and outwardly passive)
- Assertiveness (slightly different for me – embracing my family motto: manu forti – “with a strong hand” – always active or proactive)
- Romantically loving
- Peaceful (with the recovery mantra, “I can choose peace rather than this,” and the maintaining mantra, “I am calm, I am becoming Karma(Calmer).” That always tickles me!)
- Reflective and Relaxed
Imagine switching on all those at will!
You know this is what iPods were invented for?
And now you know why Victoria’s Secret is not so secret anymore.