Men's underpants have gone mad
Men's underpants have apparently gone madOLIVER SUTHERLAND
OPINION: There was a time when buying a pair of men's underpants was a simple affair.
There was either Jockey, with its Y-front, or Hanes, with a vertical fly.
Both were made of comfortable 100 per cent cotton and came in three leg lengths - briefs for the young guys, standard, and midways for the older men.
Of course, the oddly constructed and unsupportive (American?) boxer shorts - satin, of all things - did exist but seemed not for ordinary mortals.
Now, in the menswear sections of the department stores, there is a huge range of designer, celebrity-branded underpants, and it is almost impossible to find any with a fly or made of cotton.
I suspect that we have Dan Carter to blame.
To create the sleek body-(and genitals)-hugging image of the billboards, any sort of opening has gone, to be replaced by an enclosed "pouch", and the fabric is now some unforgiving stretchy blend of "cotton/elastane" that allows little ventilation and absorbs little moisture.
Worse, after a few washes, whatever cotton is in this mix has largely gone, leaving something resembling a nylon stocking.
I have tried these and suspect that they are designed by a woman, for whom pulling down the undergarment in order to "go" is natural.
In fact, one of the more convenient features of being a man is that equipped with the useful member and a fly, passing water is a simple business.
As I write, it is midwinter and I have on my merino long johns.
Now, here the whole feminisation of men's underwear gets much worse.
While the outdoor shops are full of polyprop and merino long johns, requests for a pair with a fly are met with incredulity by the staff with whom, because they are usually women, it is hard to even raise the matter.
I suppose there are men who in winter want to unzip their outer pants, pull them down, then reach in and pull down the highly elasticised tops of first the flyless long johns and then the Dan Carter briefs and then reorganise everything again.
But I suspect that most have simply succumbed to someone's smart marketing and forgotten what it's like to leave all the layers in place and just reach in for Mr Wobbly as nature intended.
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- © Fairfax NZ News
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