Updated: May 30, 2019
Back in the days, when I was around 23 years old, I used to work at a high end lingerie boutique. We sold imported bras, panties, garter belts, stockings, teddies, camisoles, neglegias, nighties, robes and silk underwear for men, imported from England, Italy, Paris, Germany, some made here in the US and some with an $800.00 price tag. The owners, at the time, were a married couple with an only child, a little girl.
I discovered the shop as I walked past and saw a "hiring" sign. I was drawn to the beauty of all the delicate laces and fine silks. I wanted, right then and there, to be surrounded by beautiful, delicate things, so I walked in, applied, and was hired.
The owners had three or four boutiques in the Bay Area. Each shop consisted of a handful of females which made up the staff. My manager, Sophie, I'll call her, would tell us that our boss, I'll call him John, would be gloating inside knowing that his livelihood surrounded him with young, attractive women.
I remember him saying to us girls with a smirk on his face, as he was coming into work or exiting, "Where's all the customers? Go put on some lingerie and march around in the streets if you have to. We need to increase sales." We just all took it lightly and never put too much thought into it even though in the back of our minds we were all probably gagging with disgust.
I met my then boyfriend, Sonny there and dated him for a good solid 4 years before remaining friends. I met him when his dog, spooked from the Blue Angel jets flying overhead during Fleet-week, ran into my shop for cover.
I also dated a very handsome doctor I met there, whom I still speak to occasionally. The doctor, as with Sonny, was not a customer. I met the doctor when he walked in after one of my customers, a complete stranger at the time, came in to purchase a gift for his girlfriend and decided I was the doctor's type, and so played matchmaker and called the doctor up. Next thing I knew there was a very eligible, remarkably attractive gentleman standing awkwardly before me. Yes, it was an odd introduction, but nevertheless, we did go on a few dates together and we have also remained friends. I spoke with him just yesterday actually, and he still is as gorgeous as ever, inside and out, decades later.
Then there was this one time a call girl came in with her patron. The call girl was most beautiful. She took care of herself and it showed on the outside. She looked classy, clean and polished. They came in and I just assumed that they were a normal couple. What did I know? I was young, inexperienced and naive to the ways of society. It was only after they left the shop did my manager, Sophie explain to me what they actually were.
The call girl was so smooth with her words and in her demeanor. She had her patron eating out of her hands. She did not even come in to have him buy her anything. She made him try on all the women's gowns and pajamas she chose for him. Then she made him buy the one she liked best on him. Let me reiterate, she made him wear women's undergarments, plus she made him buy them for himself, and nothing was bought for herself. I remember how he resisted and blushed at first but she had finesse and had him at ease. He left that day having stepped out of his own comfort zone.
The late actress, Anna Nicole Smith also came in once. She came in drunk, bossing around a young Asian lady close in tow. Anna wore no make-up that day and even when drunk out of her wits, she was still stunningly "girl next door" sweet looking and beautiful. She wanted only a waist cincher so I put her into a corset. She was drunk but gorgeous as she stood in the dressing room unclothed and bare faced. She also made a visit to the drugstore nearby that my friend worked in at the time, and we have since shared memories of Anna's visit from back in the days when we were young.
I also worked with a girl I'm going to call May. There was this one time when May's boyfriend, I'll call him Tom, came in to buy a pair of silk boxers. I was the only one working there that day. Tom came in and asked to try on the boxer. I thought it a bit odd and wondered why he didn't have May help him with the buying of his underwear. But I led him to a room, nonetheless, and told him as long as he tried them on top of his own underwear it would be okay. Soon he was calling me into the dressing room. I assumed he had a question and headed over to him. There standing before me was a very naked, very engorged, and a very proud looking Tom. I did not think much of it; by 23 I was used to the advancements of men. I nonchalantly told him that I wasn't interested and to go put his pants on.
I told my manager the next day what happened but she did not take it as lightly as I. Later, I was met by Sophie, May who was in tears, and Tom. Tom was put on the hot seat, as was I. I was asked to recount the situation as I remembered it the day before. Since I was used to this kind of behavior from men, I really didn't see the big deal. What's left was for May to come to terms that her man is not trustworthy and move on, but Sophie and May had other ideas for me. I felt pressurized to play the victim in order for Tom to understand that what he had done was not acceptable, so I played along, even though it wasn't from the heart. I just wanted the situation to end because it was dragging on and got so awkward. May confessed that when she got together with Tom, she was aware of his Peeping Tom problem but didn't think it was anything major to worry about. So now you now why I renamed May's boyfriend "Tom."
There are other similar stories where some men came in to buy a gift or two for their significant other only to end up flirting or hitting on me. Or some came in to the shop because they saw me in the window. The funniest excuses from the window shoppers were that they came in to my fancy lingerie store to buy something for their mother, aunt, sister or grandma. Yeah, as if that's not creepy.
The one that got me mad though and made me quit soon after was when my boss, John came in when I was the only one working that day, and told me to go put on some lingerie, go out into the street, and go have sex with the people walking by as to solicit more foot traffic into the store. What the fuck did he just say to me? I could barely believe what I heard. I closed up the shop and went next door to the clothing boutique and cried my eyes out. I told Sophie who told John's wife. The wife was horrified that they would have a sexual lawsuit on their hands and apologized and begged me to come back and work for them. They explained that he just blurted out the wrong words and was not thinking and was truly sorry. I went back to work a few days later but quit soon after. I wasn't interested in men hitting on me and found a quaint office job working as the Pastor's assistant to a church. The Pastor also happened to be gay and this is where I worked for the next 8 years, feeling safe from men's advances in my workplace. I still got a few advances but from the plumber and some mail delivery men, but they were so sweet about it. I guess it's just something about being in a church that brings out people's best behavior.