I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s wearing briefs like every other boy on the planet. Let’s face it. The pants of that era were way to tight to entertain boxers. And the shorts in the 70’s were sufficiently short that briefs were required to prevent any accidental “spillage”. Hence the prevalent attitude at the time that boxers were what old men wore. You know, the men with the baggy pants hitched up under their armpits?
So it was a difficult transition a few years back when I made the switch to boxers. Of course, by then, the prevalent attitude was that briefs were what old men wore. You know, the men with the pants that weren’t baggy? But boxers turned out to be a wonderfully liberating experience. There was new freedom of movement, and eventually a nagging question of why I was wearing underwear at all. What purpose did it really serve? I mean sure, it made sense in centuries past. Back then your outer clothes were hardly ever washed and were made from rough scratchy material. Fresh underwear was the only way to explain how Hoss Cartwright was able to wear the exact same outfit for all 128 seasons of Bonanza. But today’s fabrics and laundry intensive culture made me wonder if underwear was a vestigial garment. Kind of the apparel appendix.
But the tides have shifted again. Today the rage is boxer-briefs. An all-in-one worst-of-both-worlds sort of approach to filling a need you may not have anyway. And frankly, this just isn’t fair. Guys do not need 3 choices for a given garment. Two is the accepted standard. Straight tie or bow tie; double breasted or single breasted; sneakers or shoes; jeans or pants; boxers or briefs. It’s how nature intended it. It’s been hard enough to cope with the color choices getting outside the Crayola 8-Pack. This is not a complication my life requires.
Yet the good little consumer in me picked up a pack of the damn things to give ’em a whirl. I have to report that they provide none of the support of briefs, but they make up for that by removing the joyous freedom of boxers. Their only redeeming fact may be “containment”. Sometimes when wearing boxers and loose legged shorts, you worry about “containment” (needlessly for most of us, but it’s ego soothing to at least worry). Boxer-Briefs solve that problem. However, they do now require you to wonder if your underwear matches the shorts you have on.
I’ve also discovered that my butt is 3 1/2 butts too small to fill out the Boxer-Briefs so that I look like the guys on the Hanes’ commercials. This would be a major problem for me if my butt-less-ness was the only thing keeping me from looking like a Hanes model. But I have other issues to deal with. Like what the hell do old men wear now? My AARP card is just a few years off. I need to know what restaurants give senior discounts, how far apart do I need to plant the flamingos in my yard, and what style of underwear should I be putting on under the clothes that will embarrass my children?