The Fallacy of Manliness

If you’ve kept up with this blog or my movie reviews you’ve probably come to realize I do a lot of things that aren’t traditionally considered “manly.”

I wear speedos, which aren’t considered manly by some Americans because they expose your upper leg (the horror!) and are said to look like women’s bathing suit bottoms. Same thing for briefs, which can be said to look like panties thanks to that dreaded leg exposure and are seen by some as being “kids and grandparents underwear.”

I’ll wear pink shirts and/or shorts, because pink is fly AF and I don’t care if anyone claims otherwise.

I allow myself to cry at movies and openly admit what movies made me cry, which is quite possibly the least manly thing a man can do.

I love hugs. Sometimes I’ll hug complete strangers when introduced, even if it’s a man (this kind of depends on the situation).

I dance freely and fantastically at weddings, which is something that’s actually becoming increasingly common and acceptable with men these days although the manliest of men will still huff with their arms crossed on the sidelines claiming they don’t dance for fear of looking silly.

While I’ve become a bourbon fan, I still drink whatever strikes me as sounding good at the time without fear of what a drink says about me…be it a fruited beer (whatup Bud Light Lime), a margarita, a cosmopolitan, or whatever fancypants unique drink may be featured at the bar or restaurant I’m attending. Sometimes I’ll get jokes about my girly looking beverage (bonus points if it happens be pink or come with an umbrella) while the other men at the table stick to the most generic beer they can think of.

I even use a loofah in the shower, a habit that I never shook after having my hand forced due to there not being a bar of soap being available to me as well as my hatred for how much body wash is wasted when applied using your hands.

Some of these things I do because in my mind they’re more efficient than the alternative. My respective blogposts break down why I believe the speedos/briefs choices are efficient. A loofah is more efficient than applying body wash with your hands because a single squirt of body wash on a loofah is able to cover my entire body, whereas when using my hands I find myself having to continually go back back for more squirts. A bar of soap is fine and efficient as well…when it’s full size. Once it gets too small it takes a lot longer to apply and is just downright annoying to deal with, especially when it breaks in half. Sure, you can stick it on the back of a fresh bar of soap when it gets too small, but then you need to be making sure you have a second bar of soap loaded and ready or else you’ll have to navigate the bathroom while wet to retrieve one mid-shower.

I used to hold back tears at movies, forcing myself to think of something else when getting close because I feared the embarassment of being caught crying by people who were with me. However, during my recent MoviePass rampage I noticed that this actively takes you out of the experience and thus hurts the impact the movie has on you. Nowadays I let my emotions run freely while watching a movie, and if I feel tears coming on I just let ’em flow – bully for the movie for actually moving me to tears.

Other things I do because I enjoy them more. I like bright and colorful shirts and shorts that are fun and look sweet rather than keeping it safe with drab whites, greys, browns, and beiges…and pink is just another bright color. Associating pink with a gender seems silly and a bit childish to me; if men can’t wear pink I guess we should forbid women from wearing blue jeans. I love hugs because they create a closer connection between two people and they have a tendency to put people at ease by foregoing the awkward formalities and making things more casual when meeting people (again, kind of have to read the situation).

Dancing at weddings is fun for me, not to mention it being social, improving the wedding experience for everyone involved (who wants a wedding with a dead dance floor?), and being a good workout. If I’m just having one or two drinks with dinner, sometimes I enjoy a sugary cocktail because it may be more refreshing in the moment and it’s not like I have to worry about the sugar content giving me a hangover in the morning. Oftentimes I like to order a unique drink on the menu just to try something new that I can’t get other places, and if it comes out looking girly then so be it.

Regardless of what “unmanly” things I do or why I do them, I’m writing this post to challenge the whole concept of manliness. If being manly means abstaining from doing some things that are enjoyable or efficient for the sole reason of being worried about how you’d look doing them, then why would anyone think manliness is a desirable quality? In fact, being insecure about one’s appearance is often seen as a female quality, so in a certain light the very essence of manliness is…feminine.

In other words, if you’re a man who holds back his tears at a movie you’re a girly man. Check mate.

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Baseball and the Social Nature of Sports Fandom

I’d like to kick this post off with a little hypothetical situation. Let’s say that your personal favorite spectator sport (let’s say football, seeing as it’s generally the most popular sport in America) was not followed by any other person you would ever come in contact with in the future. None of your family members, friends, coworkers, or even random future acquaintances have ever or will ever watch football or care about who wins any of the games. If you go to a bar to catch the game, it may be on one of the TVs but literally nobody else at that bar would care about it. Would you continue watching that sport?

alone stadium

This is fun. I’m having fun.

For me, this answer is a resounding no. If I had nobody to attend or watch games with, nobody to talk about the sport with, and nobody who cares about the results of any of the games, then what’s the point? I’d like to think that I’m a big enough fan of football that I’d stick with the sport despite being isolated in my fandom in this scenario, but the reality is I’d probably watch the next season out of habit and then start to taper off until I just didn’t pay attention at all anymore.

The reason all of this matters to me right now because I’ve gone ahead and done something very bad; something that will make others question everything they thought they knew about me or how I could ever call myself a “sports fan” to begin with – I’ve become a fan of the New York Yankees.

The Douchebag Yankees Fan From Last Night

Come at me bros, I’m ready.

How could I possibly do this? In a post written just over a year ago, I claimed the Los Angeles Rams as my favorite football team simply because they had become the only team in LA and I built a defense about the merits of cheering for the home team with local fans rather than some team that plays thousands of miles away (social benefits were a big factor). LA has not one but two baseball teams, one of which I’ve claimed as my favorite throughout my whole life, the Angels. In fact, the Yankees have always been my least favorite team due to just how bandwagon-y they are and how without a hard salary cap they can perpetually buy whomever they want thanks in part to all of the bandwagon fans around the world thinking wearing Yankees hats makes them cool.

Here’s the true answer: I’ve never really been a baseball fan. I didn’t play the sport a ton growing up and never really excelled at it until I became the best softball player Raytheon’s ever seen over the past couple of years. I’ve always felt 162 games is way too many for a season, and the games tend to drag on for far too long with too much dead time in between action. I felt baseball was the perfect sport for the radio era back in the day, but on TV it’s just too droll to sit through and with so many live streaming / quick entertainment options present in the internet era it’s given people even less reasons to follow the sport. I enjoyed going to the ballpark every year or two for a change of pace because there’s admittedly something special about attending a baseball game in person, but other than that I just flat out didn’t watch the sport until the playoffs, and even then I’d only watch if the Angels happened to make the playoffs…and even then I’d still miss some early divisional playoff games opting to check the score on my phone rather than actually watch them on TV.

Angels win 2013

Here I am celebrating an Angels win with my bro Crash back in 2013. While I had a blast at the game and was ecstatic that they won, look at what I’m wearing – a Clipper jersey and faux-throwback Tampa Bay Rays hat that I wore because I’m TB and lime green is my jam. Notice how I didn’t even have any Angels gear to wear. While I’d cheer like a diehard at games, I was about as casual a fan as you could get 99% of the season.

Meanwhile my wife, Liz, is a massive Yankee fan. She was born and raised in NYC, and actually interned for the Yankees for a couple summers in college. My father-in-law, Howie, has season tickets and attends a vast majority of the games. I’ve always ragged on Liz and Howie about the Yankees, jumping on their backs when the Angels beat them or when they’d miss the playoffs. I even started cheering for another quasi-home team of mine, the Orioles, for a while just to get a little AL East rivalry going. I’d also point out what I saw to be flaws in their sport, like how slow it was and how each individual game is mostly meaningless considering the best team of a given season will lose about 60 games throughout its course, making the stakes of each individual game too low. Basically, they loved a team I had always hated in a sport I didn’t really care for and I was a dick about it.

Over the past couple of years I’ve learned that while rivalries are fun, reveling in your wife and father-in-law’s unhappiness isn’t that beneficial so I’ve softened on my hatred of the Yankees. Despite how I’ve felt about the Yanks, I’d always cheer for them as if they were my team when I’ve attended games at Yankee Stadium with the family, and I even started being happy for their victories as long as they weren’t at the expense of the Angels (happy wife, happy life!).

Earlier this year, I attended a game with Liz, Howie, and Liz’s sister, Dominique. I donned some of Howie’s Yankee attire, put on my thickest fake NY accent, and had a great time with the family as sweet Tanaka and the Yanks pounded the White Sox 9-1.

Family at the Yankee game

Watchng the Yankees murderball the White Sox from a sweet SkySuite table with the fam. Look at how excited Dad is that his favorite son’s cheering for the Yankees. It warms my heart.

There was this tall rookie hitter, Aaron Judge, who was actually my height (how many baseball players are 6’7?!?) and crushed a homer during the game. Judge ended up having a blistering first half of the season and was featured in the Home Run Derby. No Angels were in the Derby, so I put all my cheering chips in on this jolly giant whom I like to call Big Justice. BJ absolutely murdered everyone at the home run derby; it was incredible watching this guy go straight Red Wedding on all the other contenders without even breaking a sweat.

After my fantastic experience at the game with the family and having a blast face-timing with them during the Derby, I started to reflect about why I put this barrier in the way of myself actually enjoying this sport and simultaneously getting closer with my family. The Angels have always been “my team” simply because they are my home team, but I never watch the games and really don’t even check in on the scores because I’m just not a big fan of the sport in general and hardly anybody in my social circles has a big interest in the Angels. I attend about one game every other year on average, and I’m pretty sure I’ve somehow attended just as many Yankees games as Angels games since meeting Liz in 2010. I realized the only times I was ever actually enjoying baseball outside of my scarce visits to Angels Stadium was when I’d cheer for the Yankees with my family and share in their excitement about that team.

Therefore, I discovered that my true choice wasn’t between being an Angel or a Yankee fan; it was between being a Yankee fan or continuing not being a fan of baseball at all. I decided screw it and pledged myself to the Yankees the morning after the HR Derby, beginning a period that shall henceforth be known as the Dankee Era. Not being the type to half-ass things, I’ve jumped all the way in to truly get the baseball fan experience. I’ve been listening to games daily, realizing that just because we’re past the radio era doesn’t mean that baseball isn’t still a fantastic sport to listen to while doing other things. I’ll throw the game on my headphones at work, in my car on the way home, or on Liz’s shiny new Amazon Dot thingamajigger while playing with Kiki at home. This works because it’s a sport that you don’t need to give laser focus to every second of the game to be able to keep up with what’s going on. I can name all Yankee starting fielders, three backup fielders, a couple of currently injured fielders, seven starting pitchers, and six relief pitchers – all in all I can name far more current Yankee players than players who have ever played for the Angels, which shows just how much of a baseball fan I’ve been throughout my life. It also helps that the Yankees are packed with young talent (they’ve been coined the “Baby Bombers”) rather than some Frankenstein team composed of other teams’ megastars, which makes it feel less like I’m rooting for some fake powerhouse front-runner than it would have in past years.

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This is me wearing my Yankee pinstripe polo to work for Sweep Day after the Yanks took the first two games in the Reds series. My upset face is due to the fact that I had just learned that the Reds series was already over, apparently being only a two-game series rather than three. I was humiliated being at work dressed for Sweep Day when it wasn’t really Sweep Day. I may need to seek new employment.

Unsurprisingly, the glue holding this new fandom together has been the social component with my wife, sister-in-law, and father-in-law. We send out texts to each other daily regarding team news and commenting on the games, which has been really fun.

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Here’s Yodad, teaching Luke Skyhosmer the ways of Yankee fandom.

My wife loves that I’m actually supporting her baseball fandom and it’s gotten her far more into her favorite sport than she had been over the past year, which has brought her happiness. It’s only been a couple of weeks so who knows if this honeymoon will last forever, but going against standard fan ideologies and cheering for a team I hated most of my life has turned out to be the one thing that actually got me to appreciate baseball. It’s unfortunate that I can’t claim all LA teams as my favorite professional teams anymore, but dammit it was the only way and it’s been worth it. Many actual baseball fans will think this is some backwards BS, and that’s fine – it totally is. I don’t care though, because now I actually have a sport I’m enjoying following in those long summer months between basketball and football seasons.

Let’s check in with Dad one last time to see what he feels about this change of heart:

Family at the Yankee game

Happier than John Sterling coming up with another wonderfully cringey home run catchphrase.

High Heels and Board Shorts

Many men have long wondered why women feel the need to put themselves through the agony and discomfort of wearing high heels. It’s true they can make a woman’s legs/butt look good, but they seem quite difficult to walk in, painful to stand in for an extended period of time, and near impossible to dance or run in. As far as I know they are never mandatory attire – I believe nice-looking flats or at least “low heels” or something would be perfectly appropriate for formal events. With numerous physical drawbacks, no physical benefits unless you’re so short that your height actually impairs you in some way, and other acceptable options available it seems silly that women opt to put up with high heels for purely cosmetic reasons.

However, rather than trying to criticize women for their illogical fashion choices I’d like to point out that men do the exact same thing by wearing board shorts. Like high heels, board shorts provide numerous physical drawbacks that men deal with for purely cosmetic reasons. Also like high heels, board shorts have an acceptable substitute that come without these physical drawbacks – speedos.

Since many men are unfamiliar with wearing speedos, let me break down the various physical benefits they have when compared with board shorts. First and foremost, this attire is swimwear and is thus used for swimming. Board shorts create a ton of unnecessary drag that both slows you down and restricts your legs while swimming whereas speedos do not (you glide through the water in those bad boys), which is why professional swimmers wear speedos in competitions. When chilling out in a hot tub, board shorts are prone to get bubbles under them and balloon up all awkwardly, which certainly isn’t the end of the world but can be a nuisance that speedos avoid. These aren’t things men notice that much because they’ve likely worn board shorts their whole lives, but once you’ve experienced the freedom of speedos going back to board shorts feels like you’re wearing parachute pants in the water.

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Just add water!

When outside of the water after swimming, board shorts take far longer to dry than speedos do. They provide long cold / damp material that sticks to your legs for a half hour or so rather than allowing your legs to dry immediately in the warm sun. If you leave the pool/beach after getting out of the water, having damp trunks will get anything that you sit on like a car seat, bar/restaurant chair, or couch wet. If you take them off and pack them away, you have to throw them in a plastic bag or hang them somewhere to keep other clothes and items from getting wet. Speaking of packing them away, speedos are smaller than board shorts and thus fit in suitcases for travel more easily.

If sunbathing is your thing, board shorts prevent your legs from getting any sun above your knees, giving you a weird tan line with dark lower legs and pasty white thighs – speedos allow you to get an even tan from your toes to your hips. This isn’t a big deal for me personally because I don’t get much of a tan regardless, but it’s a consideration for some men.

If you’re a diver or a surfer, putting on a wetsuit is vastly easier with speedos than it is with board shorts. Board shorts get all clumped up and have to be repeatedly pulled down as you’re putting on the wetsuit, and even after putting the wetsuit on can still clump up and give obnoxious wedgies while you’re in the water.

I honestly have trouble coming up with even one reason that board shorts are functionally superior to speedos. The closest one would have to be that speedos lack pockets while some board shorts have up to two depending on the design (many actually lack pockets or just have one rear pocket these days). While I’m a lover of pockets, I can’t think of a good reason you’d need them while swimming. The pockets are useful before getting to or after leaving the beach/pool, but someone who wears speedos will have a pair of shorts with normal pockets that will be worn on top of the speedo before and after leaving the beach/pool so this is a non-issue.

So if speedos are so much better functionally than board shorts, why are so few men wearing them in America? I believe the answer is purely due to cosmetic reasons – a heavy dose of speedos not being “in style” along with a light dose of body comfort issues. I can’t argue with the style point, that is what it is and will ebb and flow with time. Honestly, as shorts get shorter and shorter (board shorts to the knees seem to be losing popularity as mid-thigh chubbies are gaining steam) I could see speedos actually becoming a fairly normal (albeit not dominant) swimwear style in 5-10 years’ time.

As for the body comfort issues, I spoke at length about those in my post on nudity. The misconception that speedos are “inappropriate” is completely false, otherwise NBC wouldn’t be able to air Olympic men’s swimming or diving events during daylight hours.

tom daley olympics

Tom Daley wears a tiny speedo, and NBC broadcasts it to millions without issue.

In France, board shorts and swimming trunks are actually outlawed at most public swimming pools – you must wear speedo-style swimwear. The reason for this is normal trunks are seen as “shorts” that likely have been worn outside of the pool premises and therefore may have accrued dirt from various places that is not wanted in the pool (another functional point for speedos: cleanliness!). Even if you show up in normal shorts and change into your trunks at the pool, you will be forced to wear a pair of loaner speedos most pools have…this law is the reason I own my current speedo now, in fact.

Normal speedos cover up far more surface area than the bottoms of standard women’s two-piece swimsuits do, and while people can see your “bulge” more easily that’s really all they see: a bulge confirming that you are in fact male (shocking!). Contrary to popular belief, nobody can see a detailed outline of your genitalia that can be faithfully rendered via police sketch. Scroll back up and look at that Tom Daley picture again…despite his notoriously small speedo and the fact that it’s a picture you can examine as closely as you care to, you can’t possibly discern what his penis looks like. Women’s bathing suits give a far more explicit definition for what their breasts look like (aside from the nipples, usually) than a speedo gives of what a man’s penis looks like. There are skimpy men’s thongs that go overboard with how little material they can get away with just like there are women’s thongs that do the same, but I’m not talking about those here.

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Normal speedo: appropriate swimwear. Thong: hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife.

Over this past weekend, I wore my speedo to the pool at a family resort in the California desert. At first I was unsure if I would because despite liking it far more than board shorts for all of the functional reasons listed above, I was worried that I’d be “making a statement” and potentially upsetting other guests for some reason. Ultimately I decided that it wasn’t inappropriate and I wasn’t going to wear something inferior just for fear of what others may think. While I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some hushed snickers here and there that I missed, I actually didn’t notice anyone acting weird, staring, or saying anything about the fact I was wearing a speedo – it was awesome. Well, that’s not entirely true – my teenage nephew was completely flabbergasted I was wearing them because he was trying to look cool for teenage girls that were staying at the hotel for a cheerleading convention, but he doesn’t count and in fact I milked the opportunity to embarrass him wherever I could.

Look, I’m not typing this in an effort to convince American men to seek out their inner Brazilian and switch from board shorts to speedos like I tried to do with my briefs post; the social stigma against them is just too strong for most American men to even consider it. Some men may feel they do not have the right body type to be able to wear speedos without receiving ridicule; it is unfortunate they feel that way about their bodies but I get it. I’m merely pointing out that while it’s totally fine that men wear board shorts, they’re doing it for cosmetic rather than functional reasons and therefore can’t judge women for wearing high heels and certainly shouldn’t judge men who choose logic over fashion by wearing speedos.

speedo dunk

Come at me for my speedos and my daughter will dunk on your NO DUNKING face

Nudity and Body Shame

Welp, I’ve already drifted outside the realm of socially acceptable discussion points in my A Brief Experiment post, so now that I’m here why don’t I push even further into the abyss? My wife recently gave birth to our second child, Charlotte. To help carry the load while we take care of Charlotte as well as our two year old, Kirsten, an adult female family member graciously offered to stay with us for a while. We’ll call her Francesca, because like Francisco that’s also fun to say. The very first morning home after we were discharged from the hospital, Francesca saw me completely naked. It was totally my fault that this occurred; I was changing in my bedroom without even thinking about the fact that I was in clear view from the hallway due to the bedroom door being wide open. I apologized and Francesca didn’t make a huge deal of it because she’s cool like that, but something occurred to me that prompted this column – I didn’t feel the slightest bit of shame that a woman saw me naked / what my penis looked like, instead I just felt guilt that I put her in a position that is extremely uncomfortable for almost all Americans, including her.

This incident made me wonder why nudity is such a big deal in our society. Thinking about it from a strictly logical perspective, it just doesn’t make sense. When a child is born and as they grow, they have no natural instinct of their naked bodies being something they should hide or be ashamed of. I’ve changed hundreds of my two year old’s diapers, bathed her, dressed her, etc, and she’s never cared one bit that I’m a man seeing/cleaning her vagina. I’ve been naked around her, and she hasn’t cared one bit that she can see daddy’s penis (other than perhaps wondering what it is). Of course I’ll start covering up if and when it starts making her uneasy, but until then I want her to feel comfortable with her body and to feel free to openly ask questions about bodies so she can learn from my wife and I rather than some kid at school / TV / the internet. Children don’t develop this sense of shame until later years when parents tell them / show by example that clothing must be worn at all times and that “private parts” are not to be seen by anyone. While my wife was in the hospital giving birth to both of our daughters, her vagina and breasts were out there for all medical staff to see, male or female, and nobody got shy or skittish because it’s just her body and worrying about “protecting her privacy” would be absurd and get in the way of doing the work they had to do. Various indigenous cultures never adopted the sense of body shame that we have today; clothing of sorts would sometimes be worn for protection from the elements, not to protect one’s “decency.” Clearly this feeling of having to hide one’s genitalia is not a natural part of human instinct, but is rather something mandated by modern society and civilization.

Even modern civilization is inconsistent on the subject – co-ed nudity is not only acceptable but expected in some European bath houses, while most Americans aren’t even comfortable with nudity in a same-sex-only steam room or whirlpool. I’ve heard many peers (both male and female) bemoan the occasional old person walking around locker rooms / hanging out in steam rooms nude, as if the mere sight of an older person’s naked body causes them actual physical discomfort. This generational comfort level gap is highlighted well in this comic by The Oatmeal (cartoon old man butt present in comic, not sure if that counts as NSFW or not hence the link instead of image).

Honestly, this discomfort and shyness just feels silly and in a way immature to me – we’re all adults, we all know what penises and vaginas are and what they look like. If I’m in a men’s locker room, I don’t feel the need to pull off the “change into my underwear while my towel is wrapped around me” move. I’ll shower, dry off, throw the towel in the dirty laundry bin on my way to my locker, get dressed, and go about my life. I don’t saunter up to people and casually start conversations while nude because I know it’d make them uncomfortable, but if someone happened to engage me in conversation while he or I wasn’t wearing anything it really wouldn’t bother me. Any theatrics to go out of my way to cover myself for as many milliseconds as possible are inefficient and utterly pointless in my opinion. If I’m in a men’s only steam room or sauna, you’d better believe I’m only using my towel to sit on, not to wrap up. Wrapping up in a towel and/or wearing a swimsuit in a same sex only steam room or sauna is ludicrous to me – the whole point of these rooms is to expose your skin to the wet or dry environment; covering half of your body with a damp towel or swimsuit is both uncomfortable and negates part of the effect the room will have on you. You should bring a towel in to sit on for sanitation reasons, but that’s it. Unfortunately when in a co-ed steam room or sauna you have to wrap up, which to me is still stupid but of course I follow suit because that’s what society demands of me.

It seems to me that our society is unable to separate the concept of nudity and sexuality, which is why it is only generally acceptable for people to be seen nude by others of their same sex. Unwanted sexual advances are of course wildly inappropriate and logically make people uncomfortable thanks to the intimacy of sex and the awfulness of rape. Nudity, however, is just a human being in his or her natural state. Imagine a fully clothed man or woman eyeing someone of the opposite sex while fondling his or herself with his/her hand down his/her pants. Now imagine a fully nude man or woman minding his/her own business getting dressed or taking a shower being seen by someone of the opposite sex. The former situation has zero nudity, but is obviously extremely inappropriate due to the aggressive sexuality on display. The latter has full nudity but zero sexual implications and therefore to me really shouldn’t be deemed inappropriate. A penis or vagina is just another body part. They may come in somewhat different shapes and sizes, but so do noses and fingers and I don’t see people feeling the need to wear facemasks and gloves all the time. Guys have adam’s apples, girls don’t – maybe we need to start wearing turtlenecks and covering our throats up too?

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If you’re really finding it difficult to separate nudity and sexuality in your head, give this a watch – it’ll do the trick

In my opinion, the only people who really might have a vested interest in what your genitalia look like are potential sexual partners, meaning a non-family member of your desired sex that is available and of a reasonable age. Even then, if a potential mate judges you based on the appearance of your genitalia they probably weren’t someone you really wanted to be with anyway. I’m married and I have no intentions of ever being unfaithful to my wife, so my “potential sexual partners” group is limited to exactly one person. Therefore, I only really care what my wife thinks about the appearance of my penis, and she already knows what it looks like. As such, I really could care less what anyone else on this planet thinks about the appearance of my genitalia, so I really don’t care who sees me naked. This is why Francesca seeing me naked didn’t make me uncomfortable at all – not only were there no sexual implications because of the fact that I’m married, but also she is a family member so even if I wasn’t married there’d be zero chance of sexual relations in our lifetimes, period.

I’m not saying it should be OK for you to approach someone of the opposite sex and drop your pants just for the sake of exposing yourself – that’s going out of your way to intentionally try and make the other person feel either sexual urges or uncomfortable. However, if you’re sharing a hotel room with a group of people and you need to get changed but the bathroom’s occupied, it seems silly and inefficient that society’s standards force you to either wait for the bathroom user to finish, awkwardly hop in the closet, or ask others to go step outside for a moment. Now you’re going out of your way (or forcing others to go out of their way) taking extra steps / spending extra time just to make sure others don’t see your body. What could have been a five second wordless underwear swap is now a big ordeal. Same thing with a shower, if you’re sharing a room with 3 other people and everyone needs to use the bathroom to brush teeth / put in contacts / blow dry hair / etc, how inefficient is it for each person to require the entire bathroom to themselves for their 5-10 minute shower? That’s 20-40 minutes of the group’s time completely wasted every day thanks to body shame. When I’m in this situation I tell people they can go ahead and use the sink / grab something out of the bathroom while I shower if they need to, but people usually don’t take me up on it because even the possibility of seeing someone else naked makes them quite uncomfortable. This vexes me a bit because their private parts are in no danger of exposure and they could easily just not look directly at my penis while grabbing what they need if it’s that important to them (peripherals don’t count, everything’s super blurry in your peripheral vision so it’d be the same as a censor blur on TV), but alas that’s how our society’s trained them to feel in this situation. To me, someone coming in and grabbing a blow dryer out of the bathroom while I’m showering is the same as someone coming into the kitchen and grabbing a beer out of the fridge while I’m doing dishes – just because I’m using one part of the room doesn’t mean the rest of it is off limits until I’m done.

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WTF ARE YOU DOING IN HERE, WOMAN? CAN’T YOU SEE I’M A MAN AND I’M USING THIS ROOM? DON’T LOOK AT ME AND SMILE YOU PERV!

The first instance where I really noticed this shyness leading to unnecessary inefficiency was on a family trip to Japan four years ago. We had just gotten to our ryokan in Kyoto and were ready to head out and explore the city once everyone showered. The problem was the ryokan only had one unisex shower room with three open (i.e. no dividers) showers. There were five of us, three girls and two guys, so we could have had all of our showers done in two trips (three girls then two guys) and quickly been on our merry way. Instead, my wife, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law each individually went into the shower room, showered alone, and came back to the room to “tag” the other one in when they were done. After waiting for three full shower cycles, my father-in-law and I just shrugged and went in together. What could have been two 5-10 minute cycles had been stretched into four and would have been stretched into five had my father-in-law and I been too shy to shower in the same room. Many of my friends back in America thought it was weird that my father-in-law and I saw each other naked, but we didn’t mind it all – we’re both guys and it would have been stupid to delay our day any longer while the other two showers went unused purely for the sake of modesty. Heck, if I’m being honest it was nice getting in some male bonding being able to shoot the shit about the various things we had seen / still wanted to see in Japan while showering.

Perhaps the most extreme example of society’s body discomfort getting in the way of people living their lives efficiently is breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a natural part of human life and is in no way sexual at all. It is by far the easiest, most natural, and healthiest way to nourish offspring…and yet for some reason society can’t handle it in humans because breasts are yucky sex toys apparently. The fact that you can’t give your child the nourishment it needs when it needs it thanks to others potentially getting a peek at your nipple is absolutely ludicrous. Having to put a blanket over the baby’s face (how is that comfortable for the baby…it could even overheat and cut off air to the baby, too) or scramble to find somewhere private like a bathroom stall before feeding your baby is so needlessly illogical it drives me insane.

breastfeeding in bathroom

I don’t see what you’re complaining about, eating on the toilet with a rag over your face is fun!

Look, I’m not trying to say I want to live in a nudist colony or that I believe we should go back to uncivilized times when everyone was naked all the time and the world should just be clothing-optional. I’m just saying there are some day-to-day life situations where “private” body parts need to be exposed like showering, getting dressed, or breastfeeding, and it’d make everyone’s lives easier if seeing someone doing one of these things wasn’t cause for panic. There are also situations in which wearing clothing hampers the experience like steam rooms, saunas, and even swimming, so if you’re in another country or in a same-sex only environment like spas or locker rooms in the USA where people strip down, just go with it…perhaps even strip down yourself, nobody else actually cares about what your penis/vagina looks like nearly as much as you think they do.

A Brief Experiment

DISCLAIMER: This blogpost openly discusses male underwear and definitely veers hard into the “TMI” range from time to time as how the various types of underwear interact with the male genitalia is critical when comparing styles. Ladies, you’ve been warned – there ain’t much or ya here, but read ahead at your own risk if you must.

PREFACE – WHY QUESTION EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT UNDERWEAR?

A few months ago, a male colleague (we’ll call him Francisco because it’s fun to type) and I had a random conversation about underwear. Francisco partakes in what I find to be unique underwear behavior – he wears briefs during the day but switches into boxers when going to bed. When I inquired about why he does this, he informed me that he prefers the extra support during the day that briefs provide but the freedom boxers provide when sleeping. I thought it was inefficient to go through two pairs of underwear a day and told him of the wonders of boxer briefs (Francisco’s a generation older than me, I figured there was a chance he either hadn’t heard of them or at least hadn’t tried them out). I reasoned that they’re the perfect middle ground, they give more support than boxers but are more relaxed than briefs…these should fix his dual underwearing habits once and for all.

To my chagrin, Francisco told me that he had given boxer briefs a fair trial and that they just weren’t for him…among other things he cited they were too restricting on the leg. I started defending boxer briefs against the suffocating, goofy-looking tyranny of briefs, but he merely told me “don’t knock ‘em ‘til ya try ‘em.” I told him I had, but then I came to the realization that the last time I had ever worn briefs was over two decades ago, rocking some (probably crappy quality) superhero briefs throughout my childhood. My body, more specifically my package, has obviously changed a lot since then, so I really had no leg to stand on when arguing against briefs. Francisco had worn boxers, briefs, and boxer briefs in adulthood and therefore had a far more educated opinion on the subject than me…and he came to the conclusion that briefs were superior to boxer briefs. My belief that boxer briefs were superior to briefs was based on data that was long past its expiration date coupled with conforming to my generation’s general mockery and maligning of “tighty whiteys.”

I conceded that we’d just have to agree to disagree, but it bothered me that I was on the side of ignorance in this matter. My generation largely looks down on briefs, but this seems to be due to the fact that they’re not currently perceived as “cool” rather than there being any physical problem with them. This is underwear…not something you’re going to be flaunting around in public like some in-style pair of Sperries or designer jeans. For most men, the only people who will reasonably see these are other men in a locker room or potential mates right before engaging in some horizontal gene transfer. Men in a locker room generally don’t give a rat’s ass what underwear you’re wearing, and even if they did I don’t see why you’d care…heck I’d probably feel bad for the guy that feels he needs to bash the style of another man’s underwear just to protect his self-image. As for the potential mates, as a man I’m not really sure what they’d think. Briefs are the most revealing of the underwear options, so if anything I’d think that’d potentially be sexy as long as they weren’t saggy stained tighty-whiteys that look like they were fresh off a long Walter White desert cook session.

Some men are nervous about briefs being “too revealing,” but that wouldn’t be a problem for me – I’m extremely body-comfortable and think America as a whole is a bit silly with how shy we are about nudity in general…but that’s a blogpost for another day. Also, literally the only extra body being revealed by briefs is the upper thigh, which looks pretty much identical to the middle thigh that is already revealed when wearing boxer briefs and to my knowledge isn’t a private part so I don’t see why that matters. In addition, as mentioned before the only people who will typically see you in your underwear are other men in a locker room and potential mates – both of which will likely be seeing you fully nude immediately after they see you in your underwear, so who really cares about revealing the dreaded upper thigh region?

GIVING IN TO CURIOSITY AND BUYING SOME BRIEFS TO COLLECT DATA FOR ALL MANKIND

After much internal deliberation, I decided I had to try out briefs despite my reservations just so I could actually have an informed opinion on the matter. This was not an easy decision because for obvious reasons you can’t just go try on briefs at the store – you have to make a full commitment and actually buy some pairs. I was perfectly happy in boxer briefs and doubted I’d be into briefs, but ultimately just couldn’t go on living my sheltered underwear-ignorant life anymore. I asked the wife to pick up a 5-pack of Hanes the next time she went to Target, a color variety pack with black, grey, and dark grey because I’m hip like that and wanted to steer clear of the “tighty whiteys” stigma. As an added bonus, I reckon dark pairs are less prone to looking dingy over time, and nobody wants dingy-looking undies.

Before even buying the pack I learned two things: there are different “styles” of briefs and these briefs were quite a bit cheaper than the boxer briefs I’d been wearing for years. Style-wise, apparently there’s full-rise (to be worn on the waist up near the belly button like an old geezer would), low-rise (to be worn on the hips like my generation does), and mid-rise (somewhere in the middle). I figured I’d be a low-rise guy, but unfortunately my cheap Hanes pack didn’t really distinguish which style it was…I just went based off the picture that they’d probably be low-rise-y enough for me.

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This man’s legs are FREE.

As for the price, these bad boys were less than $10 for a 5-pack, or not even $2 a pair. The Polo Ralph Lauren Boxer Briefs I’d been getting forever ran about $28 for a 3-pack, or a little over $9 a pair. This immediately made me question why I hadn’t looked closely into underwear shopping before…a mark-up of over 450% for something that I probably won’t even notice quality-wise seems pretty aggressive. Also, I had looked into Duluth Trading Co and MeUndies underwear just because the commercials seemed interesting, but those things ran about $20 a pop. There was no reason to spend that much just for a trial run of something I didn’t expect to like.

WEARING BRIEFS, FOR SCIENCE – FRESH OUT OF THE PACK

The first time I put the briefs on, I was pleasantly surprised – they weren’t nearly as restricting as I thought they’d be. Honestly, they felt like they provided about the same support for my package that boxer briefs did. This may be due to the fact that the set I bought seem designed to be a bit more mid-risey than I expected (looking back at that picture above, I realize that is a tad higher than I usually wear my underwear), and wearing them in the low-rise position on my waist made them a bit looser on the bottom than they probably “should” be, which I was fine with (no way I was pulling them up to mid-rise level). The biggest difference I felt when walking around was that my legs were finally free. I felt like I could throw my legs out any which way in a completely unrestricted manner and my briefs wouldn’t move a bit…with boxer briefs the legs would inevitably ride up a bit when doing extreme lunging or something. Not that you’re doing much extreme legwork in day-to-day life, but still you can feel the liberation and it’s nice. If you think logically about it, having underwear stop at the joint between your leg and midsection seems a lot more sensible than having it stop somewhere randomly down the leg from a freedom-of-motion perspective.

Also, I’m not gonna lie – I thought the briefs looked pretty good in the mirror. This may have to do with the whole body comfort thing, but still. As an added bonus, due to the looser-than-expected nature along with the dark color pairs I was wearing, it didn’t feel like they were overly/inappropriately revealing of my package…at least any more so than my boxer briefs were. This is important to me personally because I like to sleep in my underwear. If I’m at a hotel sharing a room with others that I’m comfortable with or at a close friend’s / family member’s house and have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom / grab a glass of water or if it’s the morning and I’m heading to the shower, I don’t want to feel like I have to slip on a pair of shorts just because my briefs are super-revealing and someone may see me and get offended or something. This is a non-issue for many guys because they’ll slip on shorts and a t-shirt regardless, but I’m the type of guy who takes his shirt off at weddings and owns a pair of Speedos…I really don’t mind who sees my body, so long as I’m not offending anyone / making anyone too uncomfortable.

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Exhibit A: Turning down for what with Jacqui

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Exhibit B: Embracing European style with the in-laws in Hindeloopen, NL

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses, though. By the end of the day, it seemed the briefs started to sag a tiny bit more than normal. This was likely due to them being $2 along with me wearing them a bit lower than they should be, but still. It wasn’t a problem until I sat down on the couch with my legs spread reasonably wide as I normally sit. I had removed my jeans because I wanted to get the full experience of these briefs plus I just really enjoyed the liberation my legs were feeling. Anyway, with the late-day sag the middle section over my package was loosely resting on my package rather than gripping around it. This caused there to be a bit of an opening on either side, which at certain angles with my legs spread enough revealed part of my ball sack, or even worse would allow a bit of my sack to creep out a bit on one side or the other depending on how I was sitting. Now, this isn’t the end of the world because how often will you be sitting pantless with your legs spread halfway apart around anyone who isn’t your wife, but it was certainly suboptimal and bordered on being a deal breaker.

All up, I enjoyed the surprising feeling of liberation briefs provided as well as the level of support and appearance but wasn’t totally sold on them.

WEARING BRIEFS, FOR SCIENCE – AFTER A LOAD OF LAUNDRY

Next up in my data gathering was testing the briefs after a load of laundry, which as expected made them a tiny bit snugger. It turns out I went from kind of liking them but with reservations pre-wash to loving them post-wash. They now provided a tiny bit more support than boxer briefs, but it was welcome and nowhere near being what I would call overly restricting or suffocating. They still weren’t so tight as to be uncomfortably revealing or anything like that, while the end-of-day sag was reduced. I sat back down on the couch pantless with my legs spread halfway and the briefs stayed dutifully along the sides of my package, not allowing for ball sack revealage/slippage unless I really contorted to unnatural positions. My legs were as free as ever – in fact I had to wear boxer briefs for a few days before the laundry was done and all I could think about was why did my legs need this extra cloth restricting and overheating them.

As an added bonus, going from briefs to boxer briefs then back to briefs helped me notice another feature – briefs did a much better job at preventing the dreaded “ball sack stuck to leg” problem that men deal with. This was a huge realization for me; I won’t claim that briefs will eliminate sack-to-leg issues altogether, but they definitely seem to reduce it. This was especially noticeable when sleeping because I sleep on my side and while in boxer briefs will usually be sure to tuck some underwear material in that sack-to-leg space just because I hate that feeling so much….I’d likely just sleep au natural if it weren’t for this to be graphically honest. Briefs seemed to rectify this with no extra manual tuckage required.

RESULTS

Briefs are surprisingly great; all of you guys out there like me who haven’t tried ‘em since childhood should give ‘em a try sometime. As Morpheus once said when perhaps discussing underwear with Neo, “free your mind.” I just bought a second 5-pack of Hanes and my boxer briefs have been benched for the foreseeable future or until I’m behind on laundry.

PS – As for all of you boxer-wearers out there – you’re wrong. I was one of you all throughout middle and high school because boxers were perceived as “cool” back then. However, all it takes is one moment of clarity during a session of jamming your bunched-up boxers down your pant leg when slipping on a pair of jeans or khakis or an instance of your dong sneakily poking out between the flaps to realize that you’re wrong. See the light and be reborn.

The Decision 2: Decisionier

If you pay any attention to the NFL and sports in general, you may have heard that the Rams are moving back to Los Angeles after a ~20 year stint in St. Louis.  I have lived in Los Angeles for over 7 years now (not counting my childhood and high school/college summers in Orange County), have no current intention of moving, and consider it my home.  This Rams relocation has brought me a great deal of excitement in that I’ll finally have a local football team to cheer for with friends and a nearby stadium that I can actually watch games at.  As soon as the news dropped the Rams catapulted from some random team I couldn’t care less about to my #2 favorite team behind my lifelong football love, the Cowboys.

All was well in the land of Toolbro until later that very day the hype and excitement reached critical mass and a previously unthinkable notion lubed up my ear canal and forcibly penetrated my skull – why not go all-out and make the Rams my #1 favorite team, bumping the Cowboys down to #2?  The city I consider my home is getting a football team for the first time in 20 years, and a football team relocating is an extremely rare situation…I’d be foolish not to at least consider it, right?  At first I laughed at the thought and tried to forget it…this is sports, you pick one team and that’s your team for life.  According to the cult-like sports fan mentality, if you ever swap teams for any reason you’re a no good filthy casual who deserves no respect.  I did this in the NBA a few times over the span of my life and my final decision was discussed at length in one of my earlier blog posts, The Decision, but that was different because I had always followed a player (Shaq) more than I had a team.  I realized the error of my ways and picked a team that I intend to stay with for the long haul.

“But Toolbro” you say, “why can’t they just both be your favorite team?”  For me, this is not possible.  I tried this with baseball, a sport I don’t honestly follow much.  I always liked the Angels (again, casual fan), then made the Orioles my “co-favorite team” after marrying Liz because she’s a hardcore baseball fan and the intra-division rivalry with her favorite team, the Yankees, was fun and made me follow baseball more (plus I have long ties with MD, so the Orioles were always a kind of secondary rooting interest in the past).  However, this predictably caused problems whenever the Angels and Orioles played each other or when they were both jockeying for the same wild card berth.  Rather than make me a bigger fan of the sport, this divided interest lessened my fandom of either team.  I had to make a call and have one team be top dog while the other sat on the sidelines as my #2…ultimately it was an easy decision to go with the Angels because LA’s my home and that’s the team I’ve always liked the most anyway.

The Rams vs Cowboys debate kept nagging at me until I decided to actually give it some real consideration and typical TB over-analysis.  Fortunately for you, I’ve decided to lay out my extensive analysis here on the internet for everyone to read.  Yaaaaay!

Cowboys vs Rams

The Case for the Cowboys

  • Favorite team my whole life, ever since I started watching football, and I’ve followed them regardless of where I’ve lived.
  • I’ll get viewed as a filthy casual sports fan if I jump and start rooting for the Rams…until now I’ve never really given a crap about the team, only cheering for them at times because they’re usually the underdog.
  • The team is good, I still honestly believe they would have made the playoffs and had a very real shot at the Super Bowl this year if Tony Romo hadn’t gotten injured.  Meanwhile, the Rams suck and Nick Foles is Nick Foles.  I bet that the Cowboys will have a better record next season than the Rams, no question…and think they actually have a shot at the Super Bowl next season.  It would suck to cheer for the team this long only to declare them my #2 right before they finally give Romo his first ring.
  • Jerry Jones may be polarizing…
    Jerry-Jones-boob-grab

    Here’s Jerry, Jonesin’ for a bonesin’.  Smooth move unbuttoning those top buttons Jerry…plus 1 for the Cowboys.

    …but at least he has a ton of money and truly loves football / is willing to throw a ton of money at the Cowboys organization to put a good product on the field.  I don’t really know crap about this Stan Kroenke guy, except that he too has a ton of money and is willing to throw it at building a stadium to move the team to LA.  Also, he has a legit mustache…OK maybe that last part should be in the “Case for the Rams” section.

    Stan-Kroenke-mustache

    Here’s Stan, Kroenkein’ while he’s…donkeyin’?  Doesn’t really have the same ring.  Minus 1 for the Rams.

  • Tony Romo and Sean Lee are my two favorite players in the NFL, and I already own jerseys for both (2 Romo jerseys actually) as well as a couple Cowboys t-shirts.  It doesn’t make any economic sense whatsoever to jump ship to the Rams because I’d have to throw down cash to start accruing some Rams memorabilia, and all my Cowboys stuff would lose value as they transitioned to my “2nd favorite team”.  Roger Goodell would love this, but F Roger Goodell.

The Case for the Rams

  • Local sports team, would finally make all of my sports allegiances align (Kings, Clippers, Angels, Galaxy being other favorite pro teams).  My entire life I’ve been given sh*t for liking the Cowboys despite never having personally lived in Dallas (my parents lived there just before I was born and were Cowboy fans when I hit the age that I started watching football, so I cheered for them with them).  Cheering for the local sports team has a TON of benefits:
    • Local sports radio will cover the Rams, not the Cowboys.
    • Local TV will always show the Rams games, not the Cowboys.
    • Local bars/restaurants will always have the Rams games on, not the Cowboys.
    • I will be able to cheer for a team along with (some) local friends and local bar patrons, which is more fun than cheering alone for your team that most other people revile.
    • If the Rams ever actually win the Super Bowl, I can go to the parade and enjoy all the festivities that come along with it first hand.  If the Cowboys ever actually win the Super Bowl, I can…high five myself and tell everyone else that I’m the best because my team won I guess.
    • I can actually attend Rams games in person.  The only Cowboys game I’ve hit in the last 10 years has been a freaking preseason game @ San Diego a few years ago.  This is a really big deal because when Kirsten becomes old enough to actually watch sports with me, it will be a lot more fun to take her to local games if we’re cheering for the local team as our favorite team, rather than just being like “here’s the Rams vs the Niners.  I like the Cowboys, but I’ll cheer for the Rams in this game for some reason I guess, yay.”
    • Notice I said “we” in the comment above.  This has been a growing source of inner turmoil for me – what team will Kirsten like?  Liz loves the Giants, I love the Cowboys…two division rivals.  I could honestly see Kirsten getting sick of mommy and daddy fighting over their games all the time and trying to persuade her to like one team or the other, then picking the Eagles or Redskins just to stick it to us both.  Now, if I liked the local team that plays in the city she was born in I’d imagine she’d like the local team along with me because of the games we’d go watch together.  It’s very distressing to me to imagine a world where Kirsten and Liz gang up on me during Cowboys/Giants games.  It’s very pleasing on a personal level to me to envision Kirsten and I attending Rams games together both decked out in Rams gear.
  • While the division rivalry with Liz is fun in a way, it’s kind of very not fun for at least two days a year, when the Cowboys and Giants play each other.  Inevitably one of us ends up pissed off and super sour about it the rest of the day/week.  I don’t need to be walking on eggshells and keeping celebrations to a minimum when my team wins dangit!  This will only get more destructive as Kiki gets older, although I’m sure we’ll keep our emotions in check more for her sake, too.
  • As mentioned earlier in the post, Los Angeles feels like my “home” now.  This is mainly due to the fact that I moved around as a kid and the divorce kind of made Orange County feel like “Dad’s home” while Maryland felt like “Mom’s home.”  Penn State was the first place since early childhood that felt like my own true “home” and I’ll forever have a soft spot for the school because of this, but now that I’ve been in LA for so long and have started a family here it has finally taken the title.
  • The Rams suck, so at least I won’t be viewed as a front-runner for jumping ship to the Rams right now.  This would be quite a different conversation if the Seahawks were coming to town or some team like that.
  • Small random bonus – I recently learned that Stan Kroenke, the Rams owner who is bringing the team to LA, is also the majority owner of Arsenal, my favorite English football club.  This doesn’t matter much, but it’s pretty neato petito to me.

As you can see, this battle basically comes down to emotional attachment (Cowboys) versus cold hard logic (Rams).  Usually the heart beats the brain out in these battles, but I’ve taken enough time to give logic a fair chance.  Strictly speaking from an objective standpoint, it just makes sense for any sports fan to cheer for the team that plays in the town that they currently reside – there are just too many physical benefits to ignore, and considering sports is entertainment why wouldn’t you root for the team that gives you the most opportunities/options to entertain you?  I decided to let this dilemma incubate for two weeks to let the hype and initial excitement blow over and make sure I was making a rational decision, because in my mind once I make this decision there’s no backsies.

The Decision:

Let’s Ram it baby!!!  Do yourself a favor and watch the video above if you’ve never seen it before.  Hell, even if you have seen it give it another watch…that tune’s just so damn catchy!

Ultimately, my decision came down to the realization that the Rams aren’t just the cold hard logic choice…they’re also the emotional attachment going forward choice.  Going forward, I will have a stronger emotional attachment with the team because they play for the city I deem my home and will give me many great moments with my daughter attending games and cheering for the team.  The Cowboys are the emotional attachment looking back choice, kind of like staying attached to some long-distance relationship girlfriend who only comes to visit once every few years.  Looking back it’s been a helluva ride with the Cowboys and I have a ton of fond memories of the team and wish them the best going forward, but ultimately it’s time to move on with my life.  I’ll still cheer for them as a #2 as long as they don’t get in the Rams’ way.  It’s not you Tony, it’s me.  I look forward to visiting your Hall of Fame exhibit in Canton someday.

tony-romo-crying

I can’t even make a joke here, this picture still hurts my soul.

Now just comes the question of whose jersey will I inevitably get (in the retro blue and yellow LA throwback colors, of course), Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald, or punter legend Johnny Hekker?  Early favorite is Aaron Donald because of this picture:

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Pro Football Focus’ top player of the 2015 and even dolphins love him…what’s not to love about the guy??  Don’t say that he went to Pitt, Aaron and I have made a mutually beneficial agreement to let go of our pasts and move forward together.

 

Pearl-Snapped

Finally…Toolbro HAS COME BACK to the blogosphere.

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Just in case you weren’t cool enough to catch that reference

My wife has started turboblogging lately, and I’m jealous so I’m getting back in the game.  Here’s her blog, it’s well written and the ladies seem to love it, but if you are a male USE EXTREME CAUTION YOU MAY GROW A VAGINA FROM READING IT.  She knows her target audience, and caters to it.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you: Headbands and Bagels

Anyways, seeing as BridalBro’s blog is all about fashion, I’ve decided to write about a certain glorious piece of clothing that may have magic powers: my pearl snap shirt.

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That’s me last night, looking like someone you certainly shouldn’t trust with your kids.  I was going for the “just off the plane from West Virginia, ready to tip some ladies and dance with some cows” look…nailed it.

I first bought this shirt when I realized I was having my bachelor party down in Austin, Texas, where the pearl snap reigns supreme.  I wore it out to the bars that Friday night, and remember exactly zero of the night scene in Austin.  Apparently things got pretty wild, I kept ripping my shirt open and got kicked out of numerous beverage-serving establishments before getting thrown in a cab and taken back to our house.  I regret blacking out the entire Austin bar scene, but I do remember having an amazing weekend and literally being uncontrollably happy the entire time.  I also regret losing my ID and credit card at the bars that night, but I made it home no worse for the wear so all’s well that ends well, right?  Right.

Months go by, I get married and stuff, and all the while Pearl Snap hangs in my closet, waiting to be unleashed again.  This thing is like the symbiote that controls Spider-Man / Venom in the comics / movie…put it on and everything becomes a violent blur.

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Feeling…sudden urge to…DANCE!!!

You see, anyone who really knows me knows that I LOVE to pop my shirt off during moments of extreme elation and/or greatness.  It can be sinking the last cup in beer pong, hitting a home run in softball, Tony Romo leading the Cowboys to yet another victory [11-5 this year baby!] with a sweet bomb to Dez Bryant [doesn’t matter if play got overturned, shirt’s already off bro], Carly Rae Jepsen coming on at the bars, Carly Rae Jepsen coming on the car radio, hitting a single in softball, killing a 13 year old in Halo 4, giving or receiving a solid high five or chest bump, seeing a rainbow…you get the point.   Pearl Snap dangerously makes this celebration SO much easier by providing easy access to my chest at any time with a simple, satisfying ripping motion.  This causes a problem because the ripping motion along with the excitement of suddenly baring my chest in public sometimes creates a moment of extreme elation, which in turn makes me want to pop my shirt off all over again.  It’s an endless cycle that produces doomsday results as the ladies all flock to my chest, in some cases trampling and seriously injuring their less athletically gifted counterparts.

Having my chest is an absolute nightmare at the beach

*Quick aside: I searched “Ladies Trampling” for that picture there…and dear GOD apparently “trampling” is yet another weird internet porn fetish.  A ridiculous amount of pictures of multiple clothed chicks standing on naked dudes’ faces, chests, junk, everything.  WTF??  Who seriously gets off on that?  It’s like a foot fetish taken to the extreme or something…and as I said in most of these pictures (certainly not all) the girls were clothed on naked dudes…so…is that like gay porn or something?  I’m so confused on so many levels, I had to turn on my Safe Search for the first time in possibly ever just to get some normal pictures…and even then pictures of girls’ feet on dudes’ faces were all over.  Freaky, bro.  Back to the Pearl Snap.

All this excitement, along with the bar-appropriate (collar, button-down) yet low class / down to party vibe (cheap flannel with pearl snaps) has vaulted Pearl Snap to the highest echelon of my bar shirts.  However, to quote Spider-Man, with great power comes great responsibility.  I can’t just go around wearing this shirt all the time, I’d probably die and would certainly break-up all of the relationships blossoming in the South Bay.  No, that wouldn’t be prudent at all – Pearl Snap must only come out for the most special of occasions.

Finally, last night comes.  I’ve owned Pearl Snap for about 6 months now, and had only worn it once.  It was Angie’s birthday and we were heading down to party at the Redondo Pier for the first time since Halloween of 2010, so I felt it was an opportune time to test the powers of the Pearl Snap yet again.  How’d it go?  You be the judge:

No caption needed.

Yup, the legend lives on.