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"Lingerie Academy" Lends Men A Hand

lingerie camp
CBS/EARLY SHOW
Most women have probably gotten a gift of a sexy article of clothing that not only doesn't fit, it looks, well, wrong.

Now, there's a way to help the men choose the right piece of lingerie. He could go to school on it!

As CBS News correspondent Richard Rothreports, the John Lewis Department Store in London has added lots of floor personnel to its lingerie department and dubbed it a "lingerie academy."

The idea is to educate men who are -- to put it nicely -- challenged when it comes to selecting lingerie for the woman in their lives.

Roth says it's really only salesmanship, not scholarship, but the extra attention on the shop floor is designed to help customers who wouldn't know a French leg from a teddy, who find themselves in retail confusion this time of year, and who happen to be mostly male -- men like the one who admitted to Roth, "I have absolutely no idea what i am doing here; I'm completely at sea!"

Maria Walker who's been selling women's underwear for 14 years, told Roth the multitude of choices only adds to men's confusion and, "That's why we always ask the questions that we ask."

She says all that keeps men from successful lingerie gift-giving is a little ignorance -- about color. And style. And size.

Walker says, "We get a lot of the hand gestures -- men showing how big their partners are. Or, "They cup their hands. Or, we get fruit -- you know: 'She's an orange, a melon.' "

Walker urges men to look at size labels at home before shopping, but acknowledges some have a streak of stubborn creativity.

A man wearing a robe in Walker's department told Roth it was "for my fiancee, actually, so I'm just trying to get a size."

And some are simply self-assured, such as the man who remarked to Roth, "I'm very confident about size and the sort of things she likes, yes."

Only Valentine's Day draws as many men to women's lingerie as these holidays, Roth points out.

The idea of providing the extra help, says John Lewis' Loiuse Salt, is to try to "make sure the woman receives the perfect gift, and it's not something that then they have to spend time having to bring back."

Though, Roth observes, in the lingerie department, "A gift's perfection is also in the eye of the bestower!."

One man conceded he was actually shopping for his wife and himself, saying, "Obviously, it has got to be something she likes, but it's got to be something I like as well. The proof will be in the pudding, won't it?"