John Daly: 'My guts turn to garters every time I tackle a lingerie gift'
In certain settings, all adults are children forever. No matter our age or status, there still exist those places where even the most worldly-wise amongst us are reduced to mumbling, tongue-tied individuals, incapable of stringing a coherent sentence together. Close to the top of this list for men is a visit to the lingerie shop.
In this season of goodwill and generosity, I'll once again make my annual pilgrimage to that home of the garter and suspender, hoping that this year it will all be different.
The bell-chimes that seem to always adorn the entrance of these places tinkle merrily to alert all within that Neanderthal man is on the premises. With the boom of Big Ben echoing in your ears, the salesperson, always female, approaches with the kindly enquiry: "Good afternoon, how may I help you?"
Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.
Feeling like Jimmy Cagney down to his last bullet and blinded by a dozen police searchlights, you manage to stammer: "I'm looking for something for herself."
The last time your mouth felt this dry was when that Moroccan camel went berserk on a desert rampage, leaving you hanging on for dear life until the sun went down.
Unlike other shops, where you instantly know what you want and where to find it, these dens of downy dazzle always seem to have the effect of rendering us into errant schoolboys caught in the throes of some unspeakable act by an authority figure. The seductive aroma, the inflammatory colours, the provocative textures all combine to enthral and bewitch us, like thieves running amok in Aladdin's Cave.
Then comes the question you most dreaded: "And what did sir have in mind?"
Feeling like the proverbial long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, your eyes dart back and forth from garment to garment, resting for a nano-second on the heady crimson basques, the sheer satin teddies and - God help us all - the crotchless knickers that dangle suggestively like the wardrobe shocker from 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. As droplets of sweat pour down your forehead, you suck in a deep breath and blurt: "I'll just have a look around first."
Nodding her head, she inches back slowly, her laser gaze boring deep as you stumble uncertainly into a forbidden wonderland of taboo red velvet. Wishing to place this innocent woman at her ease, you linger on the virginal white section containing those garments more suited for a lady's warmth than her abandon, all the while glancing furtively at the focus of your heart's true desire - a purple and gold ensemble that screams to you with greater passion than your first train set on Christmas morning.
Now comes the Titanic part of the whole transaction - facing those dreaded questions of colour and size from the saleslady.
Oh Mammy, you never warned me that growing up could be such a trial.