Working in the world of the opposite sex, Part II

Robin Withall

Victoria’s Secret is, needless to say, a girl’s world. A world filled with bras, underwear, perfume and lingerie for that special occasion.

Frequently, though, that world is invaded by another species altogether: the males. There are men shopping for wives or girlfriends, men shopping for “no one in particular,” and then there is Joe Piskai, a Villanova freshman who works in this world of women.

Piskai, a C&F student, had been coveting the job for a while. Store employees must be 18, and when he applied for the job at 17, the manager sent him away and promised that he’d get the job on his birthday.

Right on schedule, Piskai returned for his interview and, as promised, started the next day. Two other males work in his branch, but Piskai is the only male to work on the sales floor and actually sell the merchandise.

As a designated “beauty consultant” (really a fancy word for someone who sells the products), Joe attends meetings and training lectures with other associates from his district. “It’s fun being one of the only guys,” says Joe.

Luckily for him, women are very comfortable asking his opinion on things, though he says that sometimes his advice is unsolicited. “A lot of things run through my head, so I have to keep reminding myself not to think out loud,” he says.

Joe notes, however, that when dealing with lingerie, the purchase is as much intended for the male as it is for the females. As one of his clients put it “It’s only half my gift. You think I’m going to wear this for myself?”

As for funny or odd experiences, well, Joe has had a few. “There is the freaky guy who comes in and touches everything,” he mentions, “and the girls who put on angel wings and run around the store, people dressing and undressing the mannequin … “

Despite the occasional weird moment, Joe loves his job. “My guy friends think I have the best job,” he says. “They’ll come into the store to see me, but that’s just an excuse to look at the pictures on the walls.”

The store that employs Piskai is located in the Exton mall. He spends about 40 hours a week there as a seasonal employee. In his spare time, Piskai, a major, participates in ROTC.

Even though Joe has had a lot of experience with lingerie, he still does not consider himself an expert on the subject.

As he puts it, “When you don’t wear it yourself, you never really know.”