Final draft of the Boxer versus Briefs paper.

This is the final draft of my paper that was turned in today. The format was changed slightyly by pasting it into blogger. Thank you all for your input and editing help. I should know by next Tuesday what I got on the paper.

Boxers versus Briefs
A quick glance at what is in America’s pants

America is at war. At war with a faceless adversary who is fanatical about the beliefs they hold. This war has been waging for years and has solid uncrossable lines. These lines have become a bit softened in recent years, but the sides remain as resilient as ever. The war has to do with the very thing that supports our nation . . . Our underwear; specifically men’s underwear. The debate over whether it is better to wear boxers, briefs, boxer briefs, or to “go commando” has been waging between men (and women) for decades.

It could be a safe assumption that early man did not argue with one another over the use of fig leaves versus turtle shells as to which was a better undergarment. Historians have found remains of Egyptian Pharaohs buried with their loincloths, presumably for use in the afterlife. It wasn’t until around the 13th century that pull-on undergarments were invented and began to see regular use by society. These are the forefathers so to speak of today’s various types of underwear. The Industrial Revolution and the technology it brought saw the beginning of mass produced undergarments. For the first time, people could buy their undergarments in a store, rather than making them at home. These were what we know today as “Long Johns”. (History of Men’s Underwear) In today’s fashion driven oversexed marketplace necessity rarely drives purchases, and one could hardly see buying some long underwear as a fashion statement. There are several types of undergarments- specifically for men that dominate the fashion marketplace today. They are:

· Briefs. Also known as tighty-whiteys. These are tight fitting, elastic lined undergarments, usually cotton, that fit around the waist and high throughout the thighs.

· Boxers. These are the traditional looking “shorts” usually with an elastic waistband and looser through the thighs and come down to about mid thigh. They can be made from all sorts of materials from silk, to flannel.

· Boxer Briefs. These are a combination of both of the above garments. They look like boxers, however, fit snugly all throughout. Usually made of a cotton/lycra/wool blend.

· Thong/G-Strings. These are rarely found to be worn by men, unless they are dancers in the exotic industry. They consist of very little fabric of various types, snugly fitting the genitals and having a thin string or piece of fabric running between the legs and connecting in the back. Also known as a “T-Back”

· Commando. This is a slang term for one who wears no underwear at all. Also known by slang as “freeballing” in men, and “freebuffing” for females. This is becoming more acceptable in today’s hygienically active society. Bathing once a day or more reduces the need for underwear as protection. Also in our hypersexed culture, seeing underwear as the final barrier before sex, the lack of that barrier is a more risqué approach to attracting partners. Traditionally the Scottish Kilt is worn without any undergarments. (History of Men’s Underwear)

For this discussion, the focus will be on the two main camps in the fight on which undergarment is the best to wear- boxers and briefs, however, a look at both boxer briefs and the commando approach will be discussed. According to a recent poll conducted on the author’s website 39% out of eighteen responses, wear or prefer boxers, while a tie of 28% wear or prefer briefs or boxer briefs. A single vote of one individual wearing or preferring to “go commando” gives this choice a 5%. The graph below represents these numbers.

Graph 1
This polling trend shows boxers leading out just a skidmark ahead of briefs and boxer briefs. All sides of this argument that are represented have a multitude of reasons why they wear or prefer the garment of their choosing. (Rutherford) The following is a look at the various reasons that each camp uses to support their war cry of “Our undies are better than yours!”

Briefs people have usually gone with the policy of “Mighty tighty whiteys, and I’m smuggling plumbs.” This refers to the idea that briefs offer more support in the crotch area, and therefore is a better undergarment. There is also an issue of mobility. Because briefs fit more snugly, and have no thigh coverage to speak of, movement of the legs is less restricted by bunching and tightening of fabric. A larger number of overweight or heavily muscled men have trouble wearing boxers due to the fact that a standard cut fit may be too tight for thicker thighs. Some women also prefer the look of a physically fit man in briefs – just look at a Calvin Klein ad and you will see the “perfect body” model posing in just his briefs.

The boxer brief camp is relatively new to the fight, not becoming largely accepted on the marketplace until the early to mid 1990’s. (History of Men’s Underwear) This camp represents the fence sitters of the groups. They want the snug fit and support of briefs, but the coverage of boxers. This is perhaps just a fashion trend, and may die out when the “next big thing” comes along. This is sort of an initial step for people leaving one side or the other. People not quite ready to make the move out of their camp entirely may land in this category. This seems to be another fashion that is looked upon favorably by the female of the species lately.

“Going Commando.” This is sort of the radical extremist cell of the group. These people are undying in their convictions of “giving up the shackles of modern society and their underwear.” This is sort of a “keep your societal norms out of my pants” mantra for this group. The author had a hard time finding anyone who would admit to this way of life. It is sort of a taboo style of clothing. Many a man has a story about the girl he met at a club or wherever who was “freebuffing.” As with any situation, a group who goes against the societal norm should be approached with caution.

Boxers, the leader in the poll, and the choice of undergarment of the author, has many scientific and historical reasons behind its being the winner. There is a lot of medical research that believes that the wearing of boxers can increase fertility, due to the lack of heat building and constricted blood flow throughout the testicles that briefs have. For families looking to conceive, doctors have for years advised patients to switch to boxers. Up until the early 90’s, the only undergarment issued to troops by the U.S. Military were boxers. This policy has changed in recent years and now for the most part enlistees can choose the undergarment of their preference. There is also an access advantage with boxers. Boxers have a slit opening in the front, sometimes offering a button, but more often not. This allows easier access when going to the bathroom, as opposed to briefs/boxer briefs that have a series of elastic folds to contend with.

The author grew up as a briefs person, many times trying boxers and boxer briefs only to return to his original camp. On the advice of a female friend, the author purchased and tried a pair of cotton boxers. The fit, comfort, and look was all it took to instantly change camps from briefs to boxers. The author has been forever changed after seeing the light at the end of the elastic crotch flap, and will never go back again.

So what does all this mean? It means that Americans are as diversified in their undergarment choices as they are as a people. It means that there is plenty of room for all sides of the underwear battle, although the obvious choice is boxers. Judging by the numbers, it is a close call for the three contenders. So is this a question of the ages? Will historians one hundred years from now be debating this in colleges? Only time will tell.

Works Cited
“History of Men’s Underwear.” http://www.manstouch.com/
Rutherford, Eric. “A Brief Poll” 10 October 2005.


At 10/18/2005 8:35 PM, Blogger Christi said...

"Must be approached with caution"...HAH!!! Good paper though...I enjoyed reading the final product. I especially enjoyed the subtle pun on how boxers were just a "skidmark" ahead of briefs. Well done, Eric...well done.

At 10/18/2005 9:27 PM, Blogger Alien Shaman said...

Thanks for pop-up spam!

At 10/18/2005 10:12 PM, Blogger everyday.wonder said...

Nicely done, Eric. I don't know how you managed to make a research paper about undergarments fun to read, but you pulled it off, no pun intended.

At 10/20/2005 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good stuff. I'm wondering if the boxer-brief plot becomes the basis for a NaNoWriMo novel?


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