Picture the scene. You’ve just been on a date, be it dinner or something a little more daring, and it has gone inordinately well. You attribute your romantic home run to your outfit, drop dead threads you spent the best part of an hour selecting and perfecting before the big night.
And now – thanks to your get-up – she wants to get down.
There are few situations in which a man will feel so vulnerable. It could be a suit, it could be a jacket and jeans, but your armour is about to literally be stripped from your body. And with it, you fear, your appeal.
So here it is: the definitive guide to undressing in front of a woman – ensuring that both your dignity and chances remain firmly intact.
Start with your shoes
Your shoes are always a safe place to start – if you misinterpret what she means by ‘get comfortable’ and proceed to tear your trousers off, things will swiftly go south. Instead, casually kick off your kicks and, if you get a encouraging nod, shed your socks as well – tucking them inside your shoes.
This is an important step: there is nothing on this earth more unattractive than a man wearing just his socks – the signature look of the unemployed or pre-pubescent, neither of whom you want to be associated with.
Then move onto accessories (by which we mean watches – if you’re wearing a mafioso-style chain or chunky bracelet then it’s amazing you even got this far and you don’t deserve our help.)
Cast your jacket aside
Next up, shrug off your jacket – and toss it casually to one side. But be warned, as tantalising a prospect a nearby hatstand or newel post may look, if you attempt to throw your coat onto it and miss, you may as well sheepishly scoop it back up off the floor and leave immediately. Instead, a simple underarm throw onto the back of the sofa or a chair will suffice – casual and cool.
Shrug off your shirt
If you’re wearing a tie – as you should be – take it off two-handedly and drape it over your coat. Then unbutton your shirt from the top down and calmly remove your arms from the sleeves one after another.
Rush here and it could be your downfall. Move too slowly and you’ll look like you’re either performing a burlesque routine or recovering from severe brain trauma. Too fast and you risk getting stuck in a tangle of sleeves and shame. So judge your rhythm well, fold your shirt once down the middle and lay it down on a clear surface.
Take off your trousers
Time to concentrate now, gentlemen, because the trouser department holds problems untold. Buttons, belts and zips all stand in your way, but as much as your pants may protest, you must battle through the multifarious fasteners and complete this penultimate process with refinement and charm.
As with your shirt, removing your trousers with dignity is all a matter of speed. So, whilst your tailored trousers and belt may have you yearning for an elasticated waistband, take your time and don’t get flustered – the ‘paranoid hermit scrabbling at the various locks and chains on his bolted front door’ look is not an enticing one.
Remain standing to unfasten, then sit to slip off. Ensure no change, car keys or anything more embarrassing (we’re looking at you, flavoured e-cigarettes) fall out of your pockets and then you’re onto the final challenge…
Off with the underpants
And so, we come to the small matter of your smalls. Contrary to popular opinion, ripping your underpants off like a plaster is not a good idea – and will likely leave proceedings just as sore and full of wincing regret as tearing off a band aid. Instead, the aim is to ensure that her interest is still piqued by the time you’re bare-cheeked.
So, as with every other item of clothing, read the room and act accordingly. Nothing too protracted and theatrical, nothing too quick and flasher-like. Just act with decorum and decency – unless, for some unfathomable reason, you’re wearing tight, white Y-fronts – in which case you should whip them off as soon as possible, cast them out of the nearest window, and learn to be a man.