When I was a kid, the Victoria's Secret catalog meant boners. For the women in my house, it was all about flattering, sexy underwear, but for me, it was masturbation material that came to your house, and if you were lucky, you could grab it before your mom threw it in the trash right away.
Now Victoria's Secret means confusing doily-underwear hybrids and models that give everyone body image issues, and as the thousands of lights came on the Earls Court Exhibition Theater in London (and on my TV last night) and giant screens displayed showers of digital sparks and the catwalk (the fucking catwalk) lit up like it was the "Smooth Criminal" music video, I thought, How is anyone supposed to masturbate to this? Way too much is going on. And if the general populace can't spend money or masturbate, how else are we supposed to interact with something?
I was still thinking about that when T.Rex's "Bang a Gong" started blaring over the speakers, and Valkyrie women marched down the catwalk while Taylor Swift geeked out on the sidelines. My brain overloaded.
Welcome to the underwear of the future! This underwear actually looks pretty normal if you can ignore the giant, gold wings that focus all the light in the room directly into your cornea. If I wanted to advertise, say, the new Subway Sriracha Steak Melt, I wouldn't do it by attaching metal hawk wings to it, but what do I know?
One question I jotted down around this point was: "Did Taylor Swift become a Victoria's Secret Angel?" Based on how much screen time she got, I'd say probably yes. It was really odd watching all these performers stay pretty much stationary on stage so they didn't bump into the models. Let me preface this by saying I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about here, but isn't that a neglige, not lingerie? Does it matter?
For some reason, I was expecting this to be awards-show-style: a bunch of models, mixed in with some performances on another stage entirely. It would've been crazy boring, though and I was actually pretty thankful when T-Swift started belting out "Blank Space." It was like some executive decided, "Fuck it, let's just get this over with as fast as we can. Mix 'em all in together." I'm kind of happy about that.
When these two models came out, my roommate remarked, "Damn, look at those bras." Twenty minutes in, he was so inundated with scantily clad women he didn't even care anymore. Plus, they pretty much went right from Swift's performance into Sheeran's. It was kind of dizzying how fast this was all happening. I couldn't even afford to look down at my phone for 30 seconds. I did appreciate how, during his performance, Ed Sheeran kept getting distracted by the models' butts though. It makes him feel a lot more real, like we could hang out or something.
But by the time they got to Ariana Grande's performance, I wasn't even sure where I was supposed to be looking. It was like the Vine of fashion shows: a six-second clip of a song, six seconds of some guys dancing, six seconds of models wearing graffiti backdrops. Something happened over these five minutes, but I was too busy having a grand mal seizure to tell you what it was.
And then there were the abs. I wish I had abs like those women. That shit was nuts. I feel like I was another half hour away from just thinking, You go, girl, to myself. This is what happens when you watch a parade of half-naked women for an hour straight.
During one of the few times they cut away from the show so you could get to know the models a little better or go grab another soda out of the fridge, one model highlighted pretty much the only two things you could do to screw the show up: "Don't fall. Don't trip. Don't screw this up. Nailing the end of the runway part is like scoring a touchdown." I don't know how true that is, since I've never done either, but I imagine it's much easier to stop at the end of a walkway and turn around than it is to say perform a series of athletic feats. Which is probably why this was way more boring to watch than football. Unlike football, you can just look at still pictures on the Internet afterward and have the same (possibly even have a better) experience.
By the end, I was just happy it was over, which is a weird thing to say about an hour of hot women in their underwear. I think it was the pageantry. It wasn't on my terms. Plus, as quickly as they were onscreen, they were gone, replaced by Ed Sheeran's giant face or Hozier looking like a homeless guy who snuck on stage. I just don't see what the appeal is for anyone. It was a mismash of arousal, lights, sound, and Taylor Swift. It felt like a performance piece about the Internet—if the Internet somehow had more ads and no porn.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.