Bruce Mullan explores the issues of underwear choices for men.
While we are on the topic of “undies” you need to know that guys have one heck of a big issue to deal with and for some of us it’s a lot bigger than others.
Not wanting to be the butt of someone’s joke (or is that the joke of someone’s butt) the question lingers; just what will we wear under our Armani suit, wrangler jeans or stubbies? There are two main options but the answer tells us a lot about the wearer.
Do we hang loose with the boxers or sit tight with the briefs? It’s a big question and some spend years of their life oscillating between the options trying to find a good fit.
Even within the two big options there are sub-options to consider.
First is the attire made famous by Batman and Robin and other superheroes. Skin tight, form-fitting, body hugging and rarely worn on the outside, is the brief. Called so for its size and costing more per square centimetre of elasticised cotton than any other male garment.
Should the briefs wearers go for white or colours, and are the fuller fits more convenient than the bikini brief. They are certainly a lot more modest when you’re caught with your pants down.
But then, the swim team wears with pride a lycra version. Known as the “speedo” for those in the team or the“budgie smuggler” for those who are not, some find it leaves too little to the imagination.
Boxers, once standard fare, now come in a host of exotic styles, colours and materials to make statements from shy and modest to bold and adventurous.
And if you are younger than 19 you can always choose to have more of the boxers showing above your descending beltline than below it. While those over that age may see the saggy baggy look as slovenly and untidy, some of your peers will identify it as the coolest statement.
It does however raise the question about whether it still warrants the tag of “underwear”.
Mind you, what brand and style is showing above the beltline is a very important matter. After all, who’d want to be caught dead wearing Rios in a change room full of Calvin Klein and AussieBums?
Now when I was a kid, things were different. There were only Bonds y-fronts and kids just wore mini versions of the dad undergarment together with the matching white singlet – or blue if you wore it on the outside.
And while it may not have been flash, our mothers constantly warned us against getting run over by a bus and being found out not having changed our undergarments fresh that morning.
C. Willett Cunnington and Phillis Cunnington wrote “The History of Underclothes” in 1951 claiming that the “plain prose” of men’s underwear was “in singular contrast to the poetical allurements worn by woman.”
My how things have changed. Just visit the local K-Mart for an educational tour of a variety of colours, styles, materials and prices Mr Willett could never have imagined in his wildest dreams.
Boxers or briefs hah! We now have boxer briefs, trunks, g-strings, jockstraps, thongs, full-rise, low-rise, medium-rise, square cut, box-cut, and the ever-shrinking bikini.
Last year’s fashion trend was the double waist band look. Fashion undies are expensive though, so cheapskates opted for the double undie option of bikini brief worn over medium rise to get a similar look.
And this year sees the advent of the “Wonderjock” featuring AussieBum’s all new pouch technology – a male version of the now famous “Wonderbra”.
This newest designer underwear accentuates the male ego by pushing the appendages forward so you can be “louder and prouder”, and enhance your assets.
So never again will the male ego need to stuff the proverbial pair of socks in the jocks to pretend that things are more substantial than they really are.
So what does our underwear say about us? Do we wear it with pride or embarrassment? And for whom is it worn, especially by those of us who will never lower our slacks to the sag undies-showing look?
As the Good Book says, with pun intended, the bottom line is this.
“The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honour. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care.”
And that just about covers everything.
More or less.