Lingerie + Tennis = Nasty. I'm sorry to say that, Venus, but the lacy black and red-trimmed corset complete with tutu you donned twice last week at the French Open - with nude-colored undies - left me no choice.
It's not that I don't love you, Venus. Au contraire, I've tried to avoid writing about your style mishaps - and there have been many - because, quite frankly, I'm in awe of you.
I don't want to knock you merely for being creative. Too often people shun your looks because they don't understand fresh silhouettes or interesting color combinations. And your fashion line Eleven is certainly cute and wearable.
But it's been a week since your questionable attire choice, and people are still talking about that lacy getup you designed. And how can they not? You looked as if you were dressed to have sex on the court, not play tennis. That, my dear, is definitely more wanton than Wimbledon.
Am I being a prude? Maybe. But women have fought for years to be taken seriously, especially in the world of sports. (I still know plenty of men who won't watch women's competitive leagues.)
So why in the name of Saint Victoria's Secret did you put your assets on display? It's not that your behind isn't a well-shaped piece of art, but do we need to see it in open court?
I'm not alone in this harsh fashion assessment.
"I think it was completely over the top," said Kia Wongus, owner of Posh Boutique in Northern Liberties. "I understand that she's being fashionable, but such exposure takes away from her talent. . . . I mean, it makes you wonder, was her boyfriend in the stands?"
I know this isn't the first time you donned the nude body shorts. Back in January, you paired those bottoms with a banana-yellow tennis dress. Yes, it made me take a second look, but the combo wasn't as bad as your recent exploit.
The problem, here, Venus, is that you willingly turned yourself into a sexual object. And not in the demure, give-them-a-little-leg-and-maybe-they'll-want-more way. You left nothing to our imagination. You mooned us all.
I know you've always wanted to incorporate lace into your tennis ensembles. And maybe, as you told the New York Times, lace with black bloomers isn't as sartorially interesting as with flesh-colored ones. But couldn't you have worn hot-pink panties? Or maybe chartreuse ones?
And let me tell you, I'm not buying the latest argument that people would be less offended if you were a white woman. It's about nudity, not race. But I will say, you should have been more conscious about the message you were sending. Black women have been oversexualized and mammied enough.
When you and lil' sis Serena entered the tennis arena, you leveled the playing field, showing women their power was bigger than their bodies. But I can't help but think your fashion choices this week took the focus off you and placed it squarely on your booty - even though I don't think that was your intent.
"Venus should know better," said Carmena Ayo-Davies, a local marketing director who wears corsets herself. "But she's out there jumping around, flashing us. She just went too far. That's for the cover of magazines, not the tennis court."
The irony? All of this brouhaha stems from nude panties - an article of clothing meant to camouflage, not draw attention to, our behinds, especially when wearing our post-Memorial Day white pants.
What's sadder: It's taken years for manufacturers to make nude-colored panties that match all women's skin tones, and the first, most popular appearance is on your butt, Venus.
The good news - if that's possible in this atrocity - is that every time you wore this undie-lace combo at the French Open, you managed to win your matches. When you went for a more conservative outfit Sunday, you lost.
Fashion pundits are saying the lace industry will benefit from your choices. But my advice is to think twice before wearing lingerie on the court - if you want to keep the respect you have worked so hard to earn.