THE LAD IN THE LINGERIE SHOP Ch.04
Over those first weeks, under Mrs Ferguson and, more often Edna’s supervision, I became proficient and trusted in my duties; often left on my own to perform them, allowing the two women to get on with other things. There were a few small repairs that I carried out using the shop’s sewing machine and these too met with their approval.
Most of the staff (including some who worked part-time for whom I’ve not done a potted biography) had got used to my presence and seemed happy to converse with me. I often made them cups of tea and coffee when on their breaks and they chatted away merrily about all sorts whilst in my company.
Yvonne seldom talked to me but Angie was nice and friendly and some days, if our lunch-hour coincided, we’d nip out to a local cafe and have a natter.
Most of the talk was Angie telling me about the issues she had with her partner (Adam) and how his mother disapproved of her. We would sometimes discuss my love-life and she seemed understanding and non-judgemental when I pointed out that my working where I did didn’t help in that department.
She got on well with the other staff it seemed and appeared to know quite a bit about most of her colleagues’ lives.
She told me that Joyce — Mrs Ferguson — was a widow of some 12 years or so; her husband was said to be an alcoholic from all accounts although Angie didn’t know this for sure.
Edna too was a widow, losing her husband to lung – cancer some 6 years ago. She had been a teacher before having Anita and rumour had it that her late husband was a rather hen-pecked fellow. Who told her this, I’ve no idea.
Yvonne was — again this was only Angie’s take on things — “a bit of a goer” before she got engaged to the rugby coach, since when she became all snooty and high-falutin’.
I never let on in our chats how much I fancied Yvonne or that I would masturbate to thoughts of Edna or Joyce in their underwear. I did tell Angie though that I thought she was very attractive and that her partner was mad not to keep her happy.
Back at work, the daily handling of panties and bras and foundation garments, had heightened my arousal with them and I decided that I must explore what it was like to actually wear some of them.
Although I was entitled to staff discount from “The Lingerie Emporium”, I clearly couldn’t make use of it without it becoming known to the other staff. I was not prepared to go into any other stores and select stuff to take to the till and pay for, so I hit upon a way of buying underwear from “The Lingerie Emporium” whilst remaining anonymous.
Whenever an order came through the post, I (who was now running that side of things mostly unsupervised), would register the customer’s name, address, purchases, payment and payment method in a daily ledger and add these details to the card-index of our existing customers or create a new card for first-timers.
Then I’d type on a sticky-label the name and address to which the underwear was to be sent and put this on the package for posting (enclosing an invoice and a store catalogue as well.) In those days, only payments by cheque or postal-order were accepted for orders by mail. (Credit-cards were okay in the store, but they were not in as common use as nowadays.)
I did have a bank-account and cheque-book, but as the cheque would have my name printed on it, I couldn’t use that method if I wanted to remain anonymous.
So I would keep a few recently opened envelopes from a previous days’ mail and bring one back in to work whenever I wanted to make a purchase together with a typed request I’d done at home for the purchase of selected items of underwear (with a fictitious name and address on it) and enclose a postal-order for the right amount — which had to account for postal-charges too.
I’d type a sticky label with my name and address on it but only put this on the package just before it was taken (by me) to the post-office for delivery. The order was entered in to the ledger for that day’s postal purchases entering the false name and address but I never created a card for the card-index, thus avoiding a mail-order catalogue being sent out and returned by the postman with something like “address unknown” on it.
I always placed my order on a Wednesday, as I had Thursday’s off and would be in when it would be delivered.
If the delivery was a day or two late and I was out, I hoped the postman would probably leave it with a neighbour or put a note through my letterbox telling me it was at the postal depot for collection.
I always used the same false name (Miss R. Yardley) for the purchase and the same, fictitious local address. (My surname is “Eardley” by the way).
The very first order was a modest one — I wanted to give a trial run to my little escapade — and also I wasn’t yet prepared to accept I wanted to dress-up in women’s underwear so didn’t feel it worth spending lots of money on expensive items.
It was a simple pack of 4 basic nylon panties with a little bow on the front. The envelope I packed them in would easily fit through my letterbox, so there were no worries on that score, and I smeared the ink on the franked postage label so that the name of the sender “The Lingerie Emporium” was unreadable. (I didn’t want the postman knowing I was receiving ladies’ underwear through the post: this was also the main reason I never sent off to other underwear firms for postal purchases — their franking mark would be visible. Plus, they’d probably put my name on their mailing list which I wanted to avoid. Anonymity was essential.)
Typically though, that first purchase did not arrive on the Thursday as I had expected but were there on the Friday when I got home from work. But something had happened that day which made me belay my first step into panties.
Over our lunch-break, Angie told me she’d split with Adam and that he’d gone back to live with his parents. She was clearly upset but seemed glad to be talking about it with someone sympathetic.
It occurred to me that I had nothing to lose by asking her out, now that Adam was out-of-favour. If she said “no”, then, inevitably word would get back to the girls at work that I’d asked her out and they’d then know for sure that I was a hot-blooded, normal, heterosexual male. If she said “yes”, then bingo!
She said yes.
So, when seeing the panties I’d ordered had arrived, I decided to leave them unopened. I’d be going out with — and presumably having sex with — Angie, and the only knickers I’d need to salivate over would be the ones I took off her when she undressed.
For the next 4 or 5 weeks, Angie and I had regular sex. At first I was my usual, gauche, inexperienced self, but Angie was fantastic and patient, never laughing or critical. Instead, she’d guide me through all the things she (and women in general) wanted from a lover –unrushed foreplay, oral etc. She seemed without embarrassment and the more we made love, the more of a “man” I felt. I wondered if my previous fetish with lingerie was really just some sort of delayed reaction to never having known my mother. Instead of fantasising about pulling Edna or Joyce’s underwear off, I just looked forward to removing Angie’s little briefs — and those legs – Wow!
Deep down, I knew it wouldn’t last, so when she told me her and Adam were going to give it another go, I wasn’t broken-hearted or depressed. I’d learnt a lot from Angie and would always be a grateful friend.
Furthermore I reckoned the others at work — who all knew about our liaison — would now have no doubts as to my masculinity — even Yvonne.
In the weeks after finishing with Angie though, that deep-down urge to wear lingerie returned and I resumed making my surreptitious purchases on behalf of Miss R. Yardley.
During this time, Anita was home from University and had started working at “The Lingerie Emporium”. She was nice to work with and engaging and we openly chatted about how a man ended up working in Ladies’ Underwear. She would sometimes give me her sex-equality / feminist spiel which I largely let pass over me.
It soon became clear from the weekly sales figures that she was not a natural saleswoman and this embarrassed her as she wanted the other girls to think she was employed there on merit not just because she was Edna’s daughter. I felt a bit sorry for her on that score. So, one day, I rashly decided to step-in and help her out; it was a gamble that I shouldn’t have undertaken, but it paid off.
It had been a quiet day in the shop and there were so few mail orders that I’d processed them all by early afternoon. It was Edna’s day off and Mrs Ferguson was out. Yvonne was doing a corset or bra fitting on the top-floor and Anita was manning the ground floor. I was replacing a dud light-bulb on the staircase down to the basement when I heard a customer trying to get Anita to recommend what lingerie she ought to buy her soon-to-be daughter-in-law (quite a common thing in some parts I was to learn). Yvonne would normally handle this and would usually succeed in up-selling quite a bit: Anita though was floundering.
I discreetly opened the door to the shop floor to gauge if the customer looked as though she might let me advise her; I figured she would.
“Excuse me madam, I’m the London rep. for a high-class lingerie firm (we only usually sell in Mayfair and Knightsbridge). I overheard your request for honeymoon lingerie for your future daughter-in-law and wondered if I could show you our latest range?”
Anita stood there open-mouthed, but I pressed on and before long had persuaded the customer to buy our most expensive matching bra and panty set, French-knickers, a slip, luxury stockings and suspender-belt and a sexy shorty nightie and matching briefs. I told her we’d throw in a complimentary sexy garter too. The purchase came to nearly £250(quite a sale in 1973) and it all went into the books as Anita’s sale. Once concluded, I went back into the basement to sort out some stock, pleased to have helped Anita boost her sales figures and to have given her a lesson in up-selling.
Later that afternoon she came down for her tea-break and duly thanked me for the sale I’d done for her.
“It was nothing. Let’s just say you owe me one,” I smiled.
Anita pondered that comment for a moment then came back with, “actually, I think that means we’re even now.”
“What do you mean ‘even’?” I enquired. “What favour have you done me?”
She widened her eyes and could barely contain the smirk as she replied, “Oh, I’ve done you a big favour alright — or should that be Miss R. Yardley a favour?”