Boxers, Briefs or…

There are some limits. There are just some things that are too embarrassing to write about, no matter how funny they are. Unless, of course, it’s about someone else. This particular installment is about a good friend – I’ll call him Jack. Jack is my age and we see eye to eye on many subjects. This particular subject pertains to the ever so delicate issue of the under garment. Now, you see, good reader, the men don’t have too many things that can be referred to as “under garment”, so I’ll cut right to the chase and say it’s the underwear.

There are several different kinds of the men’s underwear. The most popular are the boxers and the briefs, or as popular culture has so readily boiled it down “boxers or briefs.” My good friend Jack, like many a young man, started out with the briefs, being unconsciously led down this path by mothers acquiring superman, batman and other super hero styled underwear on their behalf. Traditionally, as the boy grows, the super heroes fall away and the briefs turn into fruit of the loom white (super heroes in the form of grown men in fruit costumes). Some of your more fashion minded parents might slide a kid right into the boxers, but usually the boxer deal doesn’t strike until the boy becomes aware and starts making these under cover fashion choices. This can be in junior high, high school, or even after.

I’ll let you know right now that I agree one hundred percent with Jack on the matters of the under garment. Let’s face it; the brief is not as cool. It is utilitarian. It functions. The boxer is a young man’s game. The boxer is a show pony with no real function. I apologize to my many friends who still sport the boxers. They’re hooked. Boxers are a novelty and just like those who get hooked on smoking in youth; it’s hard to break the habit. It’s like nicotine in your pants. Boxers lack any kind of support and contain far too much material to be under another material. You may as well hang drapes in your pants. I really hope I’ve made my point (and Jack’s).

Just when the world was at its darkest hour, along came the boxer brief. Men liked it because it served a purpose and those women who don’t like the look of their man in the tighty whiteys were also appeased. Jack and many other fellows jumped on board. This is where our friendly little story takes a dark turn. There is one more member of the men’s underwear family – the ugly red headed step child of the underwear family. This is the bikini brief. The speedo look is not flattering on even those who you think it might be. But, for those who are only looking for pure containment, less material under the pant material, and not concerned about any fashion implications, then the bikini brief is for you. This was for Jack.

As I’m told, Jack is not a pure bikini brief supporter. His main use is for the summer months. Most of the time he’s in the boxer brief camp. But once the temperature climbs he’s looking for ways to lessen the layers of material covering his body. Every little bit counts.

Jack told me that last year he had a bit of the work in New Orleans. He decided to take his lovely wife- let’s call her Jill – along for the three days. Jill’s parents had been visiting for the past week and would be tag teaming with Jill’s sister, who would come and stay with the kids after they left. The morning they were scheduled to leave they finished packing – half in the dark, but clothes were a plenty thanks to Jill’s mom doing the laundry. Jack rifled through the unfolded clothes basket in their bedroom and searched for the one item he knew he’d need in the New Orleans heat – his favorite pair of black red headed step child underwear.
On the second day in New Orleans at 6:15 am Jill slept in as Jack got ready for his day of meetings. Being the perfect husband, he left the lights off and dressed only in the dawn’s squinty-eyed light. It was going to be hot out and, even though his meetings would be indoors, he decided to pull out his secret weapon and rummaged for his black comfort. In a moment he was dressed. And, as was the fashion of the day, a long piece of material was tied around his neck so as to denote seriousness about his work (and to help prevent mustard from landing on the shirt).

At 4:30 pm Jack returned to the room to meet up with Jill. He needed to quickly change into something more casual and the two of them would be on their way to a dinner. In mid change Jack looked down and realized that his black undergarment was unfortunately not his. The groin region seemed a little too snug, like it was made for the smooth plastic nothingness of a Ken doll. He realized that this material was thinner than that of his action sized briefs. He thought long and hard on this for one second, and then realized that he was, pause, wait for it… wearing his wife’s underwear. A lesser man would have been embarrassed, but Jack was not a lessor man, he only wore lessor underwear. He shared his new information with his wife.

Applying the final touches to her lipstick Jill responded deadpan, “Those aren’t my underwear.”

Jack just laughed. As they headed to dinner he thought it was odd that it would be possible to fit into his petite wife’s underwear. Then he realized what she must have meant by her comment. These must have been a pair of her maternity underwear that were definitely not hers anymore.

Once the heat of New Orleans was left behind, Jack reported to me that they had been home over a week and their bags were still not unpacked; So one evening after the kids were asleep, while Jack and Jill were putting their cloths away, Jack pulled his/her underwear out of the suitcase and asked if Jill wanted her underwear in the laundry.

Once again, Jill told him that the underwear wasn’t hers.

“Ok, so if they’re your maternity underwear, what do you want to do with them?”

“Just throw them away,” She calmly stated.

“You want to throw them away because I wore your underwear?” he held up in front of him what looked like perfectly good women’s underwear – that, obviously could be mistaken for men’s underwear in low light.

Then came the final shot over his bow. “They’re not mine.”

Suddenly Jack’s entire underwear life flash before his eyes: there were action hero briefs, white BVDs, boxers, boxer briefs, bikini briefs, and finally the newest addition – Oh my god! — his mother-in-law’s underwear.

It all came together now like in the movie The Usual Suspects, where Keyser Soze leaves the room and suddenly everything makes sense to the detective, but too late.

Jill’s mother had done the laundry!

Jack proceeded to ask Jill if she knew this fact earlier. She said she knew it in New Orleans the second Jack had mentioned it.

“Why didn’t you tell me then, that I was wearing your mother’s underwear?”

“At that point, I didn’t think you’d want to know that.”

To this day Jack is still a proponent of the efficiencies of the Porsche-like bikini briefs. However, wearing your mother-in-law’s under pants would have to squarely fall under some kind of lessons learned category. At least, that’s the category Jack wanted it filed under.

Jason Spafford


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