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.
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.
Exhibit A: Turning down for what with Jacqui
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.
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.