13 January 2010

The Thong of Power

When it comes to lingerie, a common misconception is that it is all about the audience. It is not. It is about you. It is about you liking the way you look, and more importantly, it is about you liking the way you feel. I realized this several years ago when working in a medical practice, wearing scrubs--not the most attractive of work uniforms, and dealing with grouchy patients. I found that my confidence would get a huge boost if, concealed under my bright orange or pink scrub bottoms, I wore a thong. I felt sexy. I felt powerful. I felt confident. When faced with an unending line of grumpy faces, nothing saves the day like black and lacy! Most importantly, I felt that the scrubs, and the role I filled in my scrubs, did not define me. I still had control over the under layer. This is not meant to reduce our potential for self-direction to underwear-direction, but rather to say that in your life, broadly speaking, there are still things over which you have control. This is just one translation of this idea into fashion. Lingerie is especially appropriate because it is concealed, and therein lies the power.

Although this isn't just about moments of conflict, I've found that vacuuming and doing the dishes in heels can buoy my spirits.   And trading in my sweats for an elegant little nightgown can be a confidence-booster as well. I suppose if you go to sleep dressed like a princess, you'll wake up feeling like one too!


  1. According to the 3rd Edition D&D Dungeon Master's Guide, The Thong of Power grants a +5 charisma bonus and a +2 to saves against sexual repression. It is an item of great wonder, in more ways than one. ;)

    The power lies in its concealment... that's very interesting. I can see what you mean; being forced to wear a particular type of clothing (e.g., scrubs) does negate a certain level of freedom, so being able to maintain some control over that loss of freedom does sound liberating. However, the feeling of sexiness opens up a new set of questions. In one sense, spending the day in unflattering scrubs and being regarded solely as a medical worker can lower a person's self-image as a sexual being. What is the link between feeling sexy and feeling in control?

    A skeptical person might object to your claim and say, “It's all about the audience, even if the audience is fantasized.” So it could be that this feeling of confidence arises from an unconscious “what if” scenario where you are actually in a position to entice a mate, thus the confidence stems from a sense of preparedness should the occasion arise. But this explanation is a pretty far stretch, plus you bring up good examples of other activities which may not have the same implications in seducing a mate. While vacuuming and doing dishes in heels could be based on some unconscious domestic fantasy (I've known women who've fetishized domestic activities), it might be best to assume that there is some egocentric motivation for wanting to feel sexy when no one else is noticing.

    Perhaps a thought experiment might help:
    Would an individual feel the same level of confidence from being sexy if there was no chance of human interaction at all? That is, would lingerie, heels, and sexy nightwear have the same appeal in a scenario where you're the last person on Earth?

    I'm inclined to think yes, though I'm having trouble speculating a plausible explanation. Perhaps an appreciation for aesthetic beauty, even in the form of one's own self?

  2. "What is the link between feeling sexy and feeling in control?" I don't know, but feeling sexy seems relevant to situations which are in no way explicitly sexual.

    Hmmm... yes, the audience thing is interesting. I it would still apply in the last-person-on-Earth scenario. The hypothetical audience is more than adequate. I even think the possibility of being discovered could be, and probably is, inhibiting for a lot of people. It's a *secret* weapon. It seems more powerful when it's a secret. It affects social situations indirectly--by giving confidence.