The Tighty-Whities Stigma

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I mentioned this memory in my article about Swimwear vs Underwear, but that memory brought another issue to mind. For those who didn’t read the article, while talking about our society’s different comfort zones, particular with underwear, I talked about how especially during high school, the changeroom became an awkward place for some and certain clothes became a point of usage for bullies and people who just like to poke fun at anything and everything.

For me, this started in Grade 7, I would’ve been 12 at the time. I’m not sure why this never became a point of contention for people until the age of 12, but the entirety of my childhood up until that point, my underwear had always been briefs of various colours. But of course as many remember, we didn’t call them briefs back then, no we had to vilify them and call them something stupid and childish: Tighty-whities. So when that fateful day came around (it wasn’t even the first day of school that year…it just happened midway through), as usual I changed out of my jeans and into my gym shorts. But this time around, someone started laughing and pointed at me, making fun of me for wearing these “tighty-whities”.

I was already a prime bully target throughout my entire childhood. It was easy, I was skinny, somewhat shy and I was actually getting good grades, so of course bullies hated me and wanted to take their shots at me. So it didn’t surprise me at all that they had found something else to nail me on. But I didn’t understand this one at all. Sure, pretty much everyone else was now wearing boxers, but at one point or another we were all wearing briefs, so why is it me taking the hit?

And this memory has sat with me forever since and now after posting that swimwear/underwear article that was mostly directed at what women wear, I think it’s time to talk about what men wear.

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Like how women’s underwear is portrayed as sexy, men’s underwear in advertising can be similar, albeit slightly different. Generally speaking, there’s two types of underwear modeling for women: the super sexy model and the “Sears” model. It’s either designed to be sexy as all hell or just normal, comfortable underwear, the sexiest models or while usually still pretty, more average-looking women. With men’s underwear modeling I find it’s two things as well, but very different. It’s either sexy, or non-existent. Almost every male who models underwear, no matter the type or design is a muscle-ridden handsome man. It’s funny to me how there are plenty of cases where in a catalogue you’ll see women modeling the majority of underwear being sold, but the majority of men’s underwear isn’t modeled at all, it’s just pictures of the product. So when it is modeled, it’s a very unrealistic body type of the average man.

Which brings me to briefs. As a guy who does enjoy wearing briefs (I’ll go further into my preferences later), it really pisses me off when companies make it seem like only two types of men should ever be wearing briefs. They’re either the super bodybuilder type of guys, or gay men. That’s it, you either have to be an athletic freak, or enjoy the occasional penis. So let’s look at it from a high school perspective. Taking this logic into play, to wear briefs and show them off in a high school boys’ changeroom, you’re either the asshole jock everyone (apparently) wants to be, or you’re hated/feared by everyone else because you’re gay, because again let’s be honest, that’s how a lot of boys would react. They’re either hateful towards gays or homophobic to the point they fear that the guy’s trying to flirt or come onto them by walking around in his underwear.

That is a super unhealthy point of view to have. It’s weird and a little sad to me that people do indeed make assumptions of people’s personality and sexuality just based on the clothes they wear. Just like some people think girls are slutty when they see they’re wearing a thong or G-string, it’s just as pathetic that some people will also look at a guy and just because he’s wearing a pair of briefs, he must be gay. I don’t see the correlation there, hell I’d see a guy wearing a thong and I wouldn’t immediately make that assumption, because maybe the guy just feels the most comfortable in that type of underwear.

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The whole homosexuality assumption is just ridiculous to me and basing someone’s sexuality on something as pointless as the underwear they wear is idiotic. Is it possible that the majority of guys who wear thongs are gay? Yes, it’s possible. But does that make every single guy who wears them gay or at the very least, bisexual? No, and it certainly doesn’t mean we should be making the assumption either. The same used to go for pink shirts, only gay or super flamboyant men wore pink we all used to say and think. Do we still believe that? No. Yet some of these assumptions still exist with other kinds of clothing.

We all seem to forget that different people of different races, cultures and sexualities wear the same kinds of clothes too. There are a ton of gay men who wear boxers just like “normal” guys do. So why can’t we assume there might be “normal” guys out there who wear thongs just like gay men? You can’t have it just one way or the other.

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It’s silly too because we associate the swimwear version of briefs far differently too. The classic Speedo, a staple of awkward swimwear to the general public. You still won’t see a lot of men wear this type of swimwear in public, but we see it in major televised events, you know…like the Olympics! A lot of swimmers wear the classic Speedo, again the swimwear equivalent of a pair of briefs. Yet do we openly talk about how gay these men are? Unless you’re an absolute fucking moron and a bigot, no we don’t. But like I said in the Swimwear vs Underwear article, we do look at swimwear far differently in public than we do with underwear, so we have to keep that in mind. But it doesn’t make it any more stupid that the exact same shape of clothing but in underwear form has a much different moniker attached to it.

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So to finish off this article, I thought I’d give my own personal feelings on underwear, specifically briefs. And what better way than to show you. Now I won’t post a picture of myself wearing these because of my own self-conscience not wanting to just throw pictures like that up online, but the pair of briefs from MeUndies (I should be getting paid for the number of times I’ve advertised this company since first buying from them..) you see above this paragraph is not only in my drawer, but I’m currently wearing it as I type this article. I’m not a well-toned muscle-ridden athletic freak, I’m 155 pounds soaking wet. And I’m also not a gay man, not bisexual either, not that I’m homophobic or anything of course either. But I wear briefs, and now have transferred my once 100% boxer-briefs underwear drawer into a 50/50 split because ever since trying them on again in the last couple years, I love them. They’re super comfortable (especially the MeUndies ones, they are super soft and comfy. Again, expecting my paycheck in the mail, guys!) and I feel like I have just a little more mobility and my skin can breathe a little more.

To me, when I look in the mirror and see myself in a pair of briefs, I don’t look at myself and think anything’s different or that I’m abnormal. I don’t look and think that my sexuality is changing, I’m certainly not wearing these now in attempt to entice anyone, I’m in a happy relationship with a girl for over 8 years now, so unfortunately all the gay men I’m supposedly trying to attract with my choices in underwear will have to get in line and take a number. The only thing I will admit is that seeing myself in the mirror as I am right now in a pair of briefs does make me want to improve how I look. Is that solely because of the underwear? Of course not, I’ve always wanted to improve my body, put on some muscle and get healthier. All wearing briefs has done is increase the drive to actually get off my lazy ass and accomplish these goals. Do I want to look like those over-muscled models? Absolutely not. But I want to look better and healthier and that should always be your goal, to look healthier. Better however, is always in the eye of the beholder, your better is different than mine.

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Just like it’s ridiculous to judge women based on what they wear, it shouldn’t be any different for men. While women are judged by more than just their bare essentials, while men aren’t judged as harshly, when it comes to underwear, men get chastised for their selections just as badly, at least I think so anyway. And it shouldn’t be like that, especially with underwear. I select my underwear not based on anyone’s judgment, I select them based on two things: Are they comfortable? Do they look good on me? That’s it. If they fit both criteria, I buy them. I don’t care what people think about my choices, because only two people in the entire world right now gets to see me in them: My girlfriend and myself. If I knowingly had to change in front of other guys, would I wear my boxer-briefs instead? It’s more likely for sure, I would think about it, but it also depends on if I know the people in question or not. I think I’d be far more likely to not give a shit and wear a pair of briefs if no one knew me. But honestly, if anyone made fun of me or gave me hell for what I wear, I’d tell ’em off. Because I really don’t care what people think about the choices I make in terms of not just underwear but any clothing I wear. I made the opposite choice in high school and I hate myself for doing so.

And honestly, if they weren’t so damn uncomfortable, I might have even worn a thong at some point in my life for a full day like a normal pair of underwear. I tried it once as a joke to myself, fully expecting to A, be uncomfortable and B, look stupid on me. And it did both, but A was a huge part of that. That shit’s uncomfortable, man!

3 comments

  1. […] the way down to briefs. Hell, here’s another old article if you wanna check that out, click here, this one being a two-year old classic on another transition I went through, from plain ol’ […]

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  2. […] goes back to my old article about my own experiences in elementary school and how after years of wearing […]

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  3. […] most of them is more “adult” or “sexy” underwear. If you guys remember my article specific to boys’ underwear, I commented on how in my own experiences I had to deal with […]

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