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Monday, 20 April 2015

Going private

Underpants. Pants in the US; confusingly un slip in France. In Germany a garment only worn by firemen (unterhose).

I have a huge confession. For much of my youth I never wore them. I think my mother's excuse was that WW2 demanded economies and trousers did all the covering-up that was necessary. Needless to say I never admitted this to any of my  neighbours when I lived in the US. Most would have insisted even after a decade's scrubbing I wouldn't have been pure enough to share a US changing room.

Underpants come in two styles, one more manly than the other. You'd expect hairy chests to wear boxer shorts (illustrated) but you'd be wrong. Real men favour the other sort, more vestigial, closer to a jockstrap, resembling the slingshot David popped Goliath with. I tried the manly ones but couldn't get on with them: they "rode up" as my Grannie put it. They ceased to contain, became instead a futile sort of belt.

Initially underpants (both sorts) came in a beige-white, brushed fabric that quickly sagged. If you were daring enough to jump into a pool or a river wearing only such underpants they became transparent when wet.

Now they're made of cotton in all sorts of colours. Some even have messages. Don't ask me who reads the words, or of what gender.

I tend to buy mine half a dozen at a time. This is quite foolish since all the elastic "loses its nature" (another Grannie phrase) on the same date.

John Major, a former UK prime minister, revealed he tucked his shirt into his underpants. Quickly he was laughed out of office.

5 comments:

Blonde Two said...

We Blondes see rather more underpants than we are supposed to. I will say no more!

mike M said...

Boxers vs Briefs here, and sans undies might be referred to as "going commando". I was raised in the snuggies and stuck with them until age 40 or so, when for unremembered reasons I tried boxers. A new world of freedom and ventilation, gleefully inhabited since. Unable to post a photo to comments :(

Lucy said...

I wonder if anyone wears y-fronts any more? It would be some kind of evidence for the slow march of civilisation if they didn't.


By some accounts I've heard hairy chests are no longer considered the aesthetic manly thing, or hairy anything come to that.

It may be so about the elastic, but presumably if you take care to rotate your drawers consistently, they will last six times longer than if you had just bought the one pair and worn them out, which is a fairly unpleasant thought. Though if you were very organised you could do it in threes, one on, one off and one in the wash.

I guess that was the point with JM where sympathy for Norma became an overwhelming factor.

Roderick Robinson said...

Blonde Two: How keen you are to imply you occupy two polar-opposite worlds (or as Grannie would have said: "having the ha'penny and the toffee") On the one hand the muscular Christian, mens-sana-in-corpore-sano, Baden-Powellish, Kraft-durch-Freude world; on the other the louche, Whisper-it-not-in-Gath, Hank Janson world.

Not that I'm complaining, you understand. Having seduced the hill-walking male population with one side of your Janus mask, you then sweep up the sleazy, urban bottom-dwellers with the other. I must be in there somewhere.

MikeM: I am entranced by "going commando"; VR says she's heard this phrase before, but I haven't. It's multi-layered and I intend to say I myself made it up. Plagiarism is the ultimate compliment.

Odd that I should have compiled my trio of limericks so recently. Your emergence from the restrictions of briefs has all the hall-marks of that ceremony the Jews call brit milah though, thankfully, less painful. I'm pleased to know we share that "new world of freedom and ventilation". As Schiller put it: Alle Menschen werden Bruder. Did your writing competence take a step up too?

Lucy: In fact the Y was upside down and this worried me when I was younger.

Hairy chests on the way out? Which means the eventual disappearance of the supreme moment of male post-coital masochism, whereby the female lover plucks a token hair from the gurt lunk and said gurt lunk is required not to wince.

How matronly you are today. VR has also recommended pants-rotation, calling it "an adult approach towards clothes ownership". Or some such. But it demands further discipline from he/she who returns the laundered garments to the drawer. Ideally the most recent should be at the bottom of the pile.

I am hoist by my own petard re. JM and Norma. And I deserve it because it's one of my own tricks. Please tell and I'll perform some humiliating act.

Roderick Robinson said...

Lucy: Whoops! JM/Norma came to me in a flash. I'd forgotten her name - so suitable for a long-suffering wife.