What NOT to Give A Newlywed: White Cotton Nightgown

Harsh are the moments when my vision of myself crashes into the pane of reality, like a soaring sparrow hurling through a kitchen window.  Like that stunning moment I realized that, like millions of other working mothers with two children under the age of five, I may have lost touch with certain aspects of my former self.

Like my libido.

It started with an invitation to a lingerie shower.  How fun! I remember lingerie.   I took my role as a lingerie-shower-attendee seriously.  Weeks in advance of the gathering, I scrolled through countless websites looking for the perfect gift.  I sifted through all the porn-y looking get-ups that looked uncomfortable or itchy.  I read reviews, rejecting anything that had less than four stars.



Ultimately, I settled on a replica of my favorite sleeping outfit.  I should have known that would be a terrible idea because (1) it’s roughly eight years old, and (2) it’s not actually a nightgown– I bought it at the Gap Outlet in September 2006 in the deeply discounted Swim Section.   Ya’ll, it’s a bathing suit cover up, not a negligee.  Still, in my own head this choice made sense.  What newlywed doesn’t want to sleep in a two-ply heavy cotton dress designed for women who want to sit under an umbrella in the sun? And what new husband doesn’t want to see his Beloved dressed like a pioneer?

When the bride started opening the gifts after a lovely luncheon, I didn’t have the good sense to be ashamed of my Amish-ish gift.  Nope.  I watched her open luscious red silk items and shimmering ivory sleepwear designed to hang from her shoulders from delicate spaghetti straps with nary a care.  After five gifts which were entirely appropriate for a young newlywed, she got to mine.

She had the good graces to oooh and ahhh over it as if it was in the same league as her other loot.  (She also has a theatre background so it was very convincing.) When she unfolded it, she stood up and we could all see that it came down past her knees and the straps looks impossibly fat and relentlessly cotton after all the silk and lace.

One of my friends looked at me with an expression like you’re joking with that Carolyn Ingalls get-up, right? I shrugged, my mind too slow to pull off an impression of someone who’s quirky enough to give gag lingerie gifts.

Another friend, sensing my impending shame spiral, salvaged the moment with the supportive comment: “Everyone needs an outfit that says ‘we’re NOT having sex tonight.'”

Right. I bought the lingerie that is actually sex repellent. The gown that says, “Not tonight, honey. I have to get up and churn butter before dawn.”

Awesome.  Just what I meant to do.

Except it wasn’t.  While I wasn’t audacious enough to think I was bringing sexy back, I was totally unaware of my over-emphasis on comfort and my comical lack of emphasis on what lingerie is actually for.

But soon enough she’ll cross over and join the rest of us in the Land of Cotton, over-sized, ratty sleepwear.  Post-shower, I considered embarking on a long journey to reclaim the parts of me that once upon a time knew that a lingerie shower called for silk and satin and skimpy.  And I just may do that, but I won’t be writing about it here.  You’ll just have to use your imagination.


36 thoughts on “What NOT to Give A Newlywed: White Cotton Nightgown

  1. Now I’m not sure how to feel about the fact that I think that nightgown is adorable! Maybe I’m screwed up, but I was never ever into lingerie. I remember getting one or two outfits at my bridal shower and though I kept them around for a few years, they still had tags on when I tossed them. And it was nice respectable lingerie, but I could never see the point. My poor husband!

  2. haha! everyone needs an outfit that says we’re not having sex tonight! hahaha. seriously though, i never tended toward the silky stuff. it’s all in the bottom of a drawer somewhere pretty much never worn. i think white cotton is sexy. haha

  3. Now worries, as far as men are concerned there is no such thing as sex repellent. Besides, you have no idea what fetishes or predilections the new hubby might harbor. For all you know, you might have selected the perfect gift.

  4. I think sexy is a state of mind and everyone has to sleep in what they are comfortable in. The people that came before us were often wearing white cotton…and we are all here!

  5. It’s true, though. Everyone needs that kind of an outfit now and again. And we ALL KNOW that once the honeymoon phase is over, we sleep in real clothes. Seriously, you did her a favor.

  6. Hysterical! And everybody needs something to sleep in when they don’t want sex or do want comfort or are sick or just feel like cotton tonight. It’s probably the one she’ll cherish.

  7. Ha! This is great. In a few months, when all the impractical slinky lingerie has been shoved to the back of the closet, I can almost guarantee it will be the cotton caftan she reaches for. 🙂

  8. I have to agree with the others here, Christie. Hehe. Lingerie is at best a temporary thing, in my experience… and I speak as a man who has worn probably his fair share, too. (Yeah, really.)

  9. This is absolutely hilarious. I am 110% into comfy and cotton. Kinda reminds me of having to explain to hubby that me taking a hot bath was not an invitation for him to join in! I should have just hung on cotton gown on the bathroom door!

  10. Things I don’t now, and never will, understand: The Lingerie Shower. There is something just plain weird about all of your friends buying that for you, and then opening it in front of a room full of women. Maybe I’m missing something, but I can buy my own sleepwear, thank you very much.

  11. This is hilarious! My husband doesn’t like my choice of sleepwear (in the winter it’s fleece all the way, in the summer, cotton shorts and t-shirt.) One day, I made the mistake of asking him what he thought looked good. He proceeded to point out something that was way too lacy and, as best I could tell, had strip of lace that was intended to to bisect my rear end. Not gonna happen!

    In a few years (if that long) I bet she’ll forget about all the silky, lacy things and go for the comfort 🙂

  12. I think you did just fine. Then again, I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea what to bring to a lingerie shower, types the woman who is currently wearing mismatched flannel pajamas with a thick fleece polar bear-themed robe on top.

    I’m sexy and I know it.

  13. Wait til she gets to the point where you don’t wear deodorant. Okay, maybe its just us snowbound in Colorado. 🙂 Did Laura Ingalls Wilder wear deodorant?

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  15. I laughed so hard. I think I did this almost-exact thing, but in my defense it was for my brother’s then bride-to-be (and now ex-wife, I’m sure it wasn’t the nighty that did them in)… but I really genuinely thought it seemed like an option, and then I noticed that everything else she opened was decidedly, what should I say, less ‘fabric-y’? Hilarious post.

  16. Yeah, but you know how you STAY married? Your partner looks at you in the mummuu or the ancient yoga pants or the men’s cotton t-shirt and says oooh baby, love that. And then you say ‘yeah, you know what? I love it too.” It’s the long haul, people, the long haul. And spaghetti straps have a tendency to fray.

  17. I love your writing, but this was laugh out loud for me, or more like chortle under my breath,so-as-not-to-wake-the-kids. Omg SO hilarious. Im sure she’ll be churning butter soon enough!!

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  19. Sent here by Twindaddy & found this hilarious! I remember clearly when I was marrying my first husband, my hoity-toity MIL was too snobby to throw me a wedding shower, she threw me a Trousseau Tea. She got all her friends together (not a single person in the room I knew because none of my bridesmaids was invited), they all chipped in & got me this expensive peignoir set in Dusty Rose. It was beautiful, but also a lot embarrassing to open something like that in front of my future MIL & all her “noses stuck up in the air” friends.

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