My Underwear Manifesto
This series of blog entries, believe it or not, have been the most popular of all my bloggery. I've received more emails and more comments on these than any other. So, I decided to collect them into one big manifesto so people don't have to look all through the Archives to find them.
September 16, 2005
My Underwear Manifesto
My quest for the perfect undergarment has been a lifelong struggle. I guess it is for many men, even though some have settled for the familiar, sacrificing their comfort, health and dignity in the process. These are the "wear 'em til the elastic is all that's left" crowd that really doesn't understand the concept of underwear at all. But I won't waste time on that.
There are several reasons to wear underwear. These reasons will become apparent as I explain my philosophy of underwear. I won't go into a history of underwear, and I won't go into a personal history of every single style and form of the garment with which I have experimented over the years. I've broken the struggle down into the recent...the past few years of my quest. I won't go into the spandex zebra phase of the early 1980's, for example. Suffice it to say that I have come to recognize my own needs, my own requirements...but like many itches that can't be scratched, I just can't seem to fulfill those needs.
First, let me start off by listing my requirements for undergarments and why they are so:
1) Underwear must be comfortable. They must not bind, pinch, crush, chafe or deposit textile dye on my boys or alabaster white behind. I don't care if they cut off my sperm production, however.
2) Underwear must minimize the package. Sure, lots of guys buy underwear just for this purpose, I know; hence:
I call this The Grapefruit. Personally, I don't want my crotch to enter the room a minute before I do. Call me a prude. I believe in a little decorum, thank you.
3) Underwear must work. Pretty thong briefs may drive women crazy (although I doubt it), but the purposes of an undergarment are to support the boys and keep your johnson from getting caught in your zipper. That's it. If it can't do those two things, it isn't worth having.
So on with my struggle. I've tried a hundred different brands, types, styles, and fabrics over the years, and I still haven't found the perfect pair. Of underwear, that is. Here's a breakdown of the predominant styles of the day (I say predominant because these are the kind of underwear real people wear on a daily basis):
The Classic Boxer.
This is the underwear your dad wore. I tried these. Most women in the world find these the sexiest of all. That's nice, but other than keeping your manhood out of your zipper, they don't do anything. You might as well not wear anything at all. They bunch up under your pants and give you wedgies and just make you look rumpled and unkempt. Not an option. But until the brief was invented, this was all there was. They are popular in nursing homes. Oh, and contrary to the popular myth that the "fly" on the front of many styles of underwear is for providing an opening to poke your willie through to relieve yourself, it is not. The thing is called a "vent" and is there to provide ventilation, not access.
The Tighty Whitey.
These are what I wore for most of my life. As a young boy, I'd go through these by the dozen. After adolescence, they tend to wear out, stretch out, and fall to pieces in no time at all. Women find these the most unattractive of all underwear, hands down. That aside, under one's pants they are not too bad as long as they hold up. However,t he big elastic band - usually with stripes like these - tend to ride up to your navel during the day. The elastic around the leg wears out very quickly, leaving you with little more than a short, half-ass boxer with enough space around the legs for your boys to fall out.
This is a modified brief, slung low on top and cut high on the thighs. Many styles of these are around, but they all suffer the same drawbacks. Namely, they crush the boys and push them up and forward, creating The Grapefruit effect to one degree or the other. The back is so narrow that it works its way into your arse and you have to keep pulling the damn thing out.
The Synthetic Hybrid.
Now, this style is not bad. It minimizes and controls and feels great. The problem with this particular pair and similiar garments is the fabric. Its the latest thing in men's undergarments: synthetic fabric. One brand is called Aerocool, another Next-to-Nothing. It is basically Spandex and polyester. They feel great when you put them on. Perfect, in fact. I have some T-shirts made from the same material. They cling like a lovesick schoolgirl. You feel like you're getting a hug from your mamma all day. The problem is that contrary to the claims, the fabric does NOT breathe. When I first tried these, I thought I had found the Holy Grail of undewear and bought a half-dozen pair at nearly $20 each. Then I noticed that I had been afflicted with what I can only describe as diaper rash. Moisture held inside them just sat there. A 44-year-old man with diaper rash is not a pretty sight. The T-shirts weren't any better. By the end of the day, you smell like a moose. I use my $120 worth of these to dust my furniture.
The Natural Hybrid.
This is my latest experiment. Cotton. The only fabric an undergarment should be made of. Breathable, with just the right support and comfort. Minimization is good. They are a little longer, but not too long like the full hybrids that hang damn near down to the knees. The jury is still out on these, however. Some of the drawbacks of the boxer are in these, too, namely bunching up under your pants. I'll try these out for awhile before I give them a thumbs-up or down.
So there you have it. More about underwear than you ever wanted to know, I'm sure. I'll keep the world posted on my latest experiment. If you have any ideas, send them my way.
December 15, 2005
(My Underwear Manifesto - continued)
Just thought I'd give everyone a promised update on my holy quest for the perfect pair.
Since I last blogged about my struggle, I have experimented with three new types and brands of men's undergarments. All of them are the boxer brief type; not an old man boxer and not a tightie whitie. A little of both.
First, I tried what so far has been the best of all these, a Calvin Klein "Trunk." Now, I don't know if the marketing folks at CK meant something Freudian in this or not, but since the term "trunk" is an old term for a swimsuit or undergarment, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, I found this pair by accident at a discount store called Marshall's. If you're familiar with TJMaxx or Ross, it's the same thing. They were near-perfect in every way: supported the boys, little grapefruit effect, 100% cotton, and fit nice and tight all over. And they were only 9 bucks.
So my quest is over, right? Not quite.
You see, the reason they were in Marshall's in the first place is that they were discontinued. They've been replaced by this, which is an entirely different design:
Not even damn close. Grapefruit city. And mine are ribbed cotton; these are plain-ass nothin' cotton.
So my struggle continued. Having cheapness in my head now, I tried a store brand. Target's Merona. Normally, a safe enough bet. The things fit okay, but I had to roll over the waistband to get a really good hug on the boys. Added an inch to my waistline. Not good. Anyway, the elastic wore out on these suckers in no time flat, leaving me with a half-ass boxer with a rolled-over waistband. Into the trash they went.
Yesterday I received my latest attempt; a four-pack of boxer briefs from JC Penney. Now, Penney's makes about the best wrinkle-free dress shirt around, so I trusted them. And they let me down.
I took these things out and washed them last night, and wore a pair today. Fit okay. Not like my CK's, but okay. So I'm fat dumb and happy until I get to the gym. I finish working out and showering, and I'm slipping them on. Then I notice something weird:
I scanned this image of them a minute ago. Yes, those are HOLES in the fabric. They look like MOTH holes, but they could be tears from a machine or something. I'm glad I washed them twice last night; having moth larvae that close to the boys would have been very upsetting.
And no, that isn't my lily-white ass showing through the holes in the picture above; it's a piece of paper I slid behind them for contrast. However, my lily-white ass showing through them at the gym today IS what tipped me off to the moth holes. Or whatever. Tomorrow, the four-pack is going back to the store for a refund.
So, once again, I'm back to square one.
Will my struggle never end?
February 8, 2006
My Underwear Manifesto - Part 3
The Holy Grail has been found. Noah's Ark, reclaimed. The Da Vinci Code, broken.
I found the perfect pair.
Of underwear, that is.
Yes, indeed, I found the perfect garment in which to house The Boys. It's been a long journey, but I finally rooted them out. I was making my usual pass through the men's department at my SuperTarget a month or so ago, not looking for underwear at all. I was on a quest for socks, but that's another blog. I rounded a corner and saw a rack (no pun intended) of these:
Appropriately, they are the brand Champion. They're called a "Sport Trunk" and mine are actually a little longer than these. Of course, with my bad luck in picking panties, I figured these would just be another expensive disappointment. But seeing as I threw away my moth-hole-infested sorry excuse for underwear, and the batch before them is quickly deteriorating into car-washing fodder, I had to give them a try. They weren't cheap, but they weren't expensive, either: $9.98 for two pairs.
I wanted white ones because the dress shirts I wear are rather sheer, and because I lost a lot of weight lately, my pants often ride down past my underwear line. With a white waistband (mine don't have the stripe like this one does) you can't see my unmentionables through my shirt. I know the current trend is for color, and I usually go this route, but white is far more practical. And not being a filthy bastard, I don't worry about skid marks.
Okay, so I get a set of these and put them through their paces. The evaluation period is now complete, and they passed with flying colors. 95% cotton, 5% spandex, they still stretch and cling like a lovesick schoolgirl, but they BREATHE, too. No Amazon-basin humidity buildup here. No diaper rash, no Budreaux's Butt Paste needed. No Grapefruit Effect, either. I actually bought some Champion t-shirts made from the same material, and I'll be getting a few more packs of those on my next sojourn to Target. I already stocked up on the trunks. But as I was looking for a pic of these to put here, I notice on the Champion clothing company web site that these aren't on there...are they going to be discontinued? I'm thinking of getting a couple of dozen more and freezing them in liquid nitrogen for future generations. If anyone knows of a sperm bank that will take my panties for long-term storage, let me know.
Oh, and I bought a dozen pair of Champion socks, too. Just to complete my ensemble.
So there you have it; the conclusion - hopefully - of my underwear manifesto. As soon as I find something else to obsess upon, I'll let you know.
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