Sloane Crosley: 'I bought my just-engaged friend maternity underwear'

Nothing says love like a pair of discount knickers. For a friend's upcoming bachelorette party, we – her friends (which, by the end of this, may or may not include me) – decided to each send the bride a pair of racy underwear. Given the price limit, I decided it would be better to procure a discounted version of something pricy, rather than a full-priced version of something paltry.

Thus I found myself on the ever-sexy Agent Provocateur website, a company renowned for making women think owning sequinned nipple tassels is a pretty standard affair. There, in the clearance section, I found the perfect gift: a pair of pink and red knickers, complete with silk heart. I was surprised to see an item so relatively conservative on a site selling leather tights, but what do I know?

It was only after I received confirmation of my purchase that I noted the knickers boast of being "under the bump". Ahem... what bump? I explored further, discovering that the range is wearable "throughout the entire pregnancy".

My product had already shipped; it was too late. I'd put the Stork before the Dove and bought my just-engaged friend maternity underwear. I can only hope that an entire pregnancy includes a stage one: not-at-all-pregnant and still drinking and gorging on sushi.

Buying underwear for a friend is already a dicey prospect. Who am I to estimate the size of her ass? I would imagine a good portion of Agent Provocateur's sales, pre-Valentine's Day, are not placed by platonic female friends. A lover has had the chance to check your lingerie for informative labels. But a girlfriend is basing her decision on what your butt actually looks like in clothing.

Though I have not spent copious amounts of time staring at my friends' asses, I do have a basic idea of who is sensitive about what. I was already nervous about choosing a size from the website – and now this. My only hope is that the underwear does not arrive with a list of other suggestions from the range (a matching nursing bra, anyone?) and that I haven't inadvertently signed her up for pre-natal yoga-gear catalogues.

Sloane Crosley is the author of 'How Did You Get This Number' (Portobello Books)