The risqué factor

Posted: September 25, 2009 in Pune

People sometimes ask me what I do. So I tell them I handle Public Relations for an IT company and I teach journalism at a few media schools in Pune. I get a polite “oh really?” Then I say that apart from these two jobs, I also handle Public Relations for an online luxury lingerie store. Then the “oh really?” becomes “Oh REALLY?”

I get funny looks, sly smiles and winks. Have I just uttered something rather risqué?

“Cool job, buddy!” is what this friend in the media told me when she heard what I did. I mean (according to her) what could be more exciting than a job at a lingerie store?

Another friend even said, “Just think about it. When you aren’t working, you can look at those pictures.” He reminded me of Hema Malini in Sholay, telling a young Sachin that he should take the job at the beedi factory, because whenever he wanted a break, he could always light up!

A third friend who, till recently worked with an indexes firm in Singapore met me the other day and announced “I like your job.” I don’t know whether he meant he liked my job or he’d like my job! Either way…if only he knew!!

When we launched this online luxury lingerie store last year we dished out gift certificates to the media as part of the promotions and even my boss couldn’t help ribbing me about the fact that I must be the only man in the world handing out gift certificates for free lingerie to women!

Heck, here’s a bit of cold water on all those racy thoughts. In a nutshell, it’s just another job and a boring one at that. There aren’t any models in exotic lingerie lounging around, and nor are there photo shoots with them in various stages of dress and undress. And the women who work here are all clad in business suits! Even the graphic designer who works on the images of lingerie-clad women does it almost like he’s filing his tax returns.

I once asked my wife, who works with a bakery chain, whether she enjoyed taking a bite of all the different delicacies there, and her answer surprised me: “I don’t even feel like touching them.” Then, I wondered why!

Actually the one good thing this job has done, is that it has given guys a better perspective of what women (and men too) like when it comes to luxury lingerie! Yup! Surprisingly, a lot of buyers at the site are men and they are the ones who ask a lot of questions, not the women.

But what was really an eye-opener was my first visit with brochures of the portal, to a journalist in a magazine in Delhi, just before the launch. When she pulled the brochure out of its cover, there was this embarrassing silence, which was broken by a rapid push, thrust and tearing motion. When I realised it had ripped, I offered her another brochure, but she fled. I am still wondering what she got so worked up about. I wasn’t pushing Playboy or Hustler.

Of course, there were others who did not want to even discuss the subject. I was even told that they don’t publish “such stuff.” What stuff? And this from a publication, which many, many years ago (when morality and permissiveness where still scrambling to get out of the closet) announced an amorous politician’s demise with this heading “H***Y MLA KILLED.”

The last word on this must go to my wife, who put the entire issue in perspective quite succinctly – “So, basically you’re just promoting different brands of innerwear.” Uhh… luxury lingerie sounds so much better, doesn’t it?

  1. Janhavi :-) says:

    Do you really handle PR for an online Luxury Lingerie store ???Well the article was really hilarious . . i really enjoyed it a lot. LOL. But let me ask you once again . . Do you really handle PR for an online lingerie store !!!:)))))

  2. Janhavi :-) says:

    Well jokes apart,but i think we indians are still not used to talking and taking such subjects in a wide and broad minded sense. Add to it that most of us like to stick to our so called tradition and culture, it will still take lots of years for people to really get casual about and used to such discussions. Till then, there are peope like us who can have it with a good sense of humour. :)))

  3. Joe Pinto says:

    My dear Sinha,Human beings can always have too much of anything. I recall at 'the old MH' in Pune, a senior colleague telling me, "Every year, there comes a time when I could puke if I saw … another printed word."So he took off to a remote place where he could not see a newspaper, even if he wanted to. And came back … refreshed.Another friend, who owns a wine shop, does not drink a drop of alchohol. And many halwai shop-owners in India do not eat sweets.You're lucky you do not have to wear the lingerie that you do PR for!Take care,- Joe.

  4. Mohan says:

    Janhavi, the online store is

  5. Sumeet says:

    In a sexually surpressed, orthodox and conventional social set up like India, it is but natural that your job description will raise eyebrows. Though I must admit India has changed significantly over the years and a lot of the urban population will take in in their stride with nary a blink. But that's just an urban minority. YOu would receive an entirely different reaction if the organisation was called Rupa.So? As a PR guy for a racy product, what's your pitch? What's the kind of media exposure you hope to generate? Who is your target customer? The amorous lech who wants to see his wife/girlfriend in erotic underwear or the sexy vamp who wants to light a spark in her husband/boyfriend? Or maybe its that couple undergoing a mid-life sexual crisis hoping to rekindle the fire of yesteryear?And by the way, what's with the models on your website? Indian women not sexy enough for you? Huh? Huh?

  6. Mohan says:

    Sumeet,The site targets anyone from 19 to 40. I really can't give you a profile of who logs on in and buys the stuff, because we don't ask.I guess you must allow anonymity to the customer. We've had quite a bit of coverage not just fashion magazines but in mainstream and business newspapers, in India.We also ran an advertising campaign for over six months ins couple of the fashion magsAs for the models on the site, since the products have all been sourced from outside India, so the models too…

  7. Ruchika says:

    havent read the rest of the comments…but i still wonder why it is so..!!!! People choose different things as per their interests & passions and love…I wanted to open up a chocolate shop or work in a confectionery…so that i am always surrounded by these beautifully delicious things…and pop one in my mouth when ever i liked..!! but then my mom was in the same business…she used to take orders for cakes for all was a small scale thing from home..but she eventually got bored of it..!!! trust me her cakes are the best I have ever had..!Then again..interesting..!! very interesting..!

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