Male underwear

I feel it is timely to give a quick overview of a vital, often overlooked, item of male clothing. Known as "Jockeys", "skivvies", "tighty whities", "man-panties", call 'em what you will, they first appeared in stores in Illinois, 1935. Designed to hold the family jewels securely in place, with less bulk and more comfort, the original article (known as "Y-fronts" in the UK) had a cunning cutaway which granted user access to the Old Man for relief.

Once men gloried in either homemade "drawers" flannel long johns ("combination suits") and later, undershorts. Possibly inspired by the risque and revealing swimwear that gained vogue in the 1930s, the new, leg-revealing undies were uncovered (at least in shop windows) in daring Chicago, in January 1935. However risky this might have appeared in the mid-West winter, the new garments caught on, and since then, men have been able to delight in both effective package containment and the making of bold, if undercover, fashion statements.

In time, the choices really opened up for men's underthings. From the original design (which to modern eyes are closer to granny panties in size and presentation), the brief has gotten briefer, and more popular. The waistline dropped, the peepee-opening less popular, higher cuts now being more the order of the day. Bikini briefs are popular, thongs possibly less so. Boxer briefs, with the same stretch but more leg, are gaining ground. Boxers are way down the list - in one poll, 65% of men said they preferred briefs, another breaks it down more finely:

Briefs:       41%
Boxer Briefs: 27%
Trunks:       14%
Boxers:       12%
Thongs:        4%
Other:         2%

In short, briefs have taken over the world of men's undergarments. From the plain whites of the 1935 edition to the star-spangled banner to the psychedelic, they are here to stay. My preference? Short's out, brief is better.

BQ09 299 words

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