Thursday, November 15, 2007

The question

All righty, people, it's time to ask the serious question. I mean we've been paying homage to the fine soldiers, waxing over our favorite Xmas tunes, sympathizing with the television writers. All well and fine, but I have a burning question. I need to know! It's an age-old question (okay, so maybe a little less than two decades old). But it bears serious thought. And ladies, I promise, if you stick around and read the whole blog, there are treats at the end. Let me tell you, the research I did for today's blog was grueling. So without further verbiage...

Which do you prefer: Boxers or Briefs?

You have a favorite, you know you do. As far as I can determine, this became the hot question after basketball superstar Michael Jordan did a Hanes commercial in which a pair of ladies wondered coyly as to Jordan's preference. I don't remember his preference! Anyone?

The question resurfaced in the media during the 1994 MTV Rock The Vote campaign when one of the reporters offered presidential candidate, Bill Clinton that same choice. I couldn't find the answer; perhaps he dodged that one as he's been known to do with those intimate questions.

I know my preference, and I'll get to that soon enough. But before asking for votes I thought I'd do a brief history of er...briefs.

We can begin with the loin cloth. Cave man gear. Though I wonder if it could really be considered underwear since that is all they wore? Do you suppose they were fashioned of leather? Talk about chafing. And forget about wash and wear.

Around Medieval times the braies appeared. These were poufy, diaper-like linens that men wore with ties about the waist. When hose became popular, they would tie the hose (each leg was a separate piece) to the braies with metal-tipped points (ties). It all sounds so fussy. But then, one tug of a tie and voila! I imagine laundering was much easier for the lady of the house, much more preferable to the leather loin cloth. But I've heard the medieval sorts weren't keen on washing, so a man might wander about in his braies for weeks before deciding to go for a clean pair. Now doesn't that make those medieval romances sound all the sexier?

As hose became more popular and braies were left behind, the male of the species found himself wearing a single hose on each leg, tied around the waist, and the er, dangly bits were simply left to dangle beneath those long doublets. I wager it was a woman who came up with the idea for the codpiece, tied about the waist and to the hose. Of course, we can be sure it was a man who decided the stuffed codpiece was the way to go.

Despite my efforts, not a lot of info was available for the 17th-18th centuries, though a longer and snugger version of the braies was worn, or nothing at all beneath the breeches.

Victorian times saw the two piece undergarments, top and bottom, and the Industrial Revolution ushered in the union suits, which are what we think of as 'long johns' completely covering a person from wrist to ankle. Sexy! Not. Or—?

Not until the 1930s did boxers and briefs come into fashion thanks to elastic waistbands. It's also when the word 'underpants' was first entered into the dictionary.

Bikini type undies snugged into eyesight in the 1960s thanks to the invention of Spandex. [Note: It was not an easy task trying to find pics that would not offend or suggest too much of the brief's contents. So no bikini pics. But I trust you are all masters of Google. As am I. Did I mention grueling?]

Nowadays the variety of underwear is astounding. But I'll stick to boxers and briefs. Unless you prefer commando? What say you, all you Scottish kilt wearers? Yeah, that's Gerard Butler in a kilt and wearing a pink sweater while wielding a big-boy's hero sword. You're welcome.

Okay confession time. When I was first married The Hubby wore briefs. Not sexy briefs. Tighty whitey briefs. And anyone who's ever been privy to the legendary tighty whiteys knows they just don't stay tighty for long. Wash them a few time and they get stretchy and saggy and well, they just don't fit snug. Not a pretty picture. I pride myself on the fact that I weaned The Hubby from that hideous entry into the lexicon of male undergarments and he now wears my favorites: boxer briefs. Oh, that's your third choice. The boxer brief is the sexy combination of boxer-length with the snug brief fit. All my heroes wear them.

Now what about you? Briefs?


Boxer briefs?

Told you there'd be treats!

Did I mention the research today was grueling? There are hundreds of blogs dedicated to men's underwear. I mean, blogs that feature daily pics of men's underwear. I was fascinated. I was doing this in the name of research. I scrolled. I perused. I...slowly, but shockingly, realized all those blogs were owned by men. And then I quickly got myself back here to the convertible. Whew!

It was a tough job, people, but someone had to do it.

ps - Is it weird if I confess the man that does it the most for me, up above, is the cartoon Tarzan? :-)


Cindy Gerard said...

I grovel at your feet for the sacrifice you made you for us. What a grueling, painstaking, selfless act you committed so that we might partake of this educational and, might I add, socially enlightening survey.
As to what do I prefer? Can I get back to you on that? I need more time to study the options. :o)

Helen Brenna said...

Michele, I'm simply overwhelmed by the options. Can I take all of them?

Okay, okay. I'm with you on the boxer briefs.

And, yes, thank you for Gerry in kilt and pink. Made my day!

Betina Krahn said...

Michele, you are a true and selfless professional. We appreciate your willingness to throw yourself under the wheels of research for us.

Boxers were what my dad always wore. I know this because as a kid I had to fold most of the laundry. The hubby wore briefs. . . quickly talked him into the sexy low-rise colored briefs. Cool. But you're right about the tighty whiteys. They don't look tight or white for long.

I raised my sons in tighty whiteys(the occasional Scooby Doo pair when they were 4-year-olds). They've since moved on to other things, I'm pretty sure. I remember sending one of my sons an news article about how heat from tight underwear can cut down sperm production. Never got a thank you . Kids.

I do love those boxer briefs. . . I'm told they're comfy. And they sure LOOK great.

Michele Hauf said...

Betina, I wish I could get my son into anything but boxers, but only for the awful fashion the kids have nowadays. Wearing the jeans so low on the hips that a good four or five inches of boxer shows. My son has no hips; he's straight as a stick. ANd on more than one occassion the kid has been talking to me, then....drop...the jeans fall to the floor, leaving him standing there in his boxers. I laugh, but have to wonder when it's going to happen in front of a potential girlfriend. He says it hasn't happened. Yet.


Michele Hauf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MsHellion said...

First, cartoon Tarzan is HOT. I've never seen a loin cloth look so sexy...except maybe on Brendan Fraser.

Second, boxer-briefs. Tighty-whites are just horrible. I do love boxers (classic like Cary Grant, you know?), but boxer-briefs have that bite-your-hand sexy thing going.

This is a very important question. I'm so glad I tuned into today!

Kathleen Eagle said...

My dad was part of the first boxers generation. One of the early disagreements Mama had with him was that he expected her to iron them, the way his mama did. (Grandmother ironed everything, including sheets. Pre-permapress, of course, but iron sheets? Didn't they have enough housework in those days?) Mama hated ironing. I guess she did it for a while. I remember ironing his handkerchiefs as part of my early training in domestic arts.

So I've always associated boxers with 2 things--Daddy and the military. I have a picture of hubby in what were probably his first boxers when he was in the army. He looked so cute standing in line for the crack-of-dawn shower, bar of soap in hand, all frowsy haired. But the boxers made me laugh. Boomers were the briefs generation. Mind you, we didn't see a lot of underpants ads back in those days. Bras, yes. The sturdy Playtex variety. But there was no question--boys wore briefs. I knew this because I had a brother, and we had a common laundry chute.

Debra Dixon said...

Michele-- LOL! Fabulous. Tarzan is excellent but so is red brief guy. And boxer brief guy.

In all honesty, I prefer to live with boxers but looking at excellently worn briefs is a treat.

Michele Hauf said...

Bite-your-hand sexy. I love that phrase, Mshellion!

Ironed boxers. I'm so glad my family has no idea of the concept of an ironed item of clothing. :-)

Helen Brenna said...

Oooh, Brendan Frasier in loin cloth. Loved his long hair and he was buff for that movie!

Kathleen Eagle said...

About that knew I'd have to opine. Yep, Tarzan looks good, even in cartoon form. And here's the thing about leather...when properly tanned, it's softer than a warrior's behind. Elk and deer hide was--and still is--brain-tanned for clothing. It's quite a process. I've seen it done, and they do use brain tissue from the animal. I'm talking Indian Country, of course. I'm not sure what process Tarzan's mother used.

Michele Hauf said...

Brain-tanned. And me a huge fan of brains. But that term just gave me a horrific shiver. Leather and brains. Hmm.

Christie Ridgway said...

Michele: So timely, because in the mip the characters are at a Halloween party and there's a guy dressed liked Tom Cruise in Risky Business and the women get into a boxers/briefs discussion.

Son 1 and Son 2 wear boxers, as is the fashion right now. Surfer Guy wears briefs on a daily basis. I do not like briefs. I am a boxer girl, all the way. So he has a few special pair that he wears for me.

And I thank you, Michele, for all the hard work you did today. It's not easy to stare at buff men all day and just...well, stare at them.

lois greiman said...

I don't think it matters to me. Seems to be what's in them that counts. Aye?

Still, a worthy study, Hauf. One which demands much thanks and adulation from the rest of us writing slobs.

Kathleen Eagle said...

MJ would look good in anything. GQ just named him to it's best-dressed list. But those big, saggy BB uniforms? They were not designed with the female fan in mind. Remember the old short-shorts days? Cute stuff. (I think football outfits look downright silly, by the way.)

Go T-Wolves! Go Celtics! Beat the other guys' baggy pants off!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Omigod, did I put an apostrophe in the possessive its??? I did. Blech! Big red note in the margin: named to its best-dressed list. (Down with apostrophe abuse!)

byrdloves2read said...

Can't resist sharing my two cents worth. The sexiest guys I've known all wore boxers, you know the ones that look like running shorts. Every one of them. They were confident, strong types, excellent lovers.

Liza said...

I love the boxer briefs and regular boxes are a close second. BTW, I agree that cartoon Tarzan is hot!

Betina Krahn said...

You know-- I have to believe in my heart of hearts that Gerard is commando underneath the woolens. It would break my heart to learn he wasn't. So, my new favorite is "commando."

And I'm not talking about which men in MY life have gone commando on a regular basis. Suffice it to say-- they were hot, not just too lazy to do laundry.

Cindy Gerard said...

I'm still reserving my opinion while I continue to study the eye candy - I mean the scientific specimens.

Michele Hauf said...

A friend once sent me one of those emails filled with pithy sayings and many photos, but the topic was Scotsmen, and what was beneath their kilts. Many pics of the dangly bits. I wish I would have saved it because there was one particular pic of the Queen of England sitting amongst her kilted countrymen, and the wind had blown up the kilt on the one next to her. He had a big grin on his face, he did. :-)

Helen Brenna said...

Okay, excellent lovers? Byrd is making me rethink boxers.

OMG, you guys are making me laugh.

Michele, a hearty thanks for the smile! I needed this.

Playground Monitor said...

What fun!

I bought my share of Underoos for my boys but they've graduated to boxers and boxer briefs. The DH wore tighty whities when we married and through the ages has gone to bikini briefs, boxers, silk boxers and now boxer briefs.

I think my fave is boxers. There's just something sexy about the loose fit and wondering just what they might be hiding. ;-)


Anonymous said...

my parents made me wear jockey briefs until i moved out of the house. Now i am wondering what type of underwear to try out, any suggestions?