Sour Grape Underpants

A few days ago the subject (somehow) of boxers versus briefs came up at work. It has long been understood that special and particular insight into a man's character can be gained by the knowledge of whether he wears boxers or briefs. The new, and, I thought, very interesting twist to this conversation was my colleague's suggestion that this personal preference was a lot less personal than I might believe; it was proposed that boxer v briefs was largely a generational choice.

I had never really considered this possibility. I suggested what I had always assumed to be predominantly the way of things, since it was the way for me: the children will tend to adopt the way of the fathers. My father wore briefs before me, so it was my default choice.

I found the idea that the choice might be generational very compelling, so I set out to find out some things in the most scientific way possible. I set up a poll on this blog, and a question on facebook, which when combined provided me with a massive sample of twenty-nine votes (with only two known to be repeats). The question was "in the matter of boxers v briefs, do you as your father did before you, or have you rebelled against his ways?" The two answers to be chosen from were "I do as my honored father taught me" and "my father knew not of what he spoke; therefore I have rejected his way". Nine people did as their fathers had; twenty other.

Comments included:
"When in college I rebelled from the ways of my father and switched to boxers. When my dad found out, he switched too. In his words: 'I couldn't have my son wearing sexier underwear than me!' So, not only did he go to boxers, it was silk boxers."
"I joined the boxer rebellion in the Spring of '96."
"I'm wearing boxers right now."
Let the wonderful cleverness of the last pass unmentioned. I think it's safe to assume that most of the "switchers" switched to boxers. I will not allow the fact that anecdotal evidence led me to my mistaken initial assumption; nor will I allow my complete ignorance of the underpants habits of avarian generations to stand in my way. I am ready to make some deductions about this generation of boxers-wearers.

  1. This generation of men lacks discipline. Instead of harnessing the might of its manhood so that it can be used for good, the wearer of boxers desires to be free from obligation. "He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left." One cannot dispute that the very structure of the boxer demands a turning aside to the right or the left.
  2. This generation of men is decadent. The comment above regarding silk boxers is particularly revealing. Instead of girding themselves for work, these men dedicate their time to considering what fabric will best please their decadent thighs. The wearers of briefs, on the other hand, can with quiet pride display the large patches on their thighs where their jeans have rubbed all the leg hair off. Can there be a higher badge of honor than such a signifier of hard work?
  3. This generation of men is less manly. It could even be said that this generation has less manhood. Being a gentleman in the past meant that the overwhelming amount of masculinity one possessed had to be "domesticated", reigned in for the smooth functioning of society and the contentment of women. This generation apparently has no need to domesticate its masculinity; instead, its masculinity is insignificant enough that it causes no disturbance, it can be allowed to roam free.
In no way should this inveigling against the wearing of boxers be construed as a sour response to losing an argument. I am too much of a man for that.

To he who takes this post too seriously: come, approach me, that I may pinch thy nose.


    1. One of the best posts you've done, sir! I enthusiastically endorse your facts, consequent arguments and aspersions.

      I would also like to point out that your line of argument is reminiscent of that used in the prior post concerning hair over the eyes ...

      Your Esteemed Ancestor

    2. Re the tone, Esteemed Ancestor, although it is similar, this time it's much more for funsies.

    3. What does it mean if I wear boxers AND have bare patches on the inside of my thighs?

    4. Hm...all I can say is, good thing you left that comment as "Anonymous".

    5. Should I try my father's silk shorts?

    6. This post was fantastic. An issue long in need of critical address. But what of the compromise? Boxer-briefs - a contained masculinity with the added support of thigh hugging poly-cotton goodness. This is my preferred undergarment.

    7. Brad, that's been mentioned more than once since I wrote this post. You're the first to hear this: I wear boxer briefs all the time.

    8. Yes, there seems to be a generational trickle-down, but sometimes that same process works in a rebellious manner. My grandfather wore briefs (notorious in his later years for mowing the lawn or greeting the mailman in his skivvies), and so largely my father wears boxer shorts. I wear briefs, because somewhere along the line I decided boxers were "Dad's underwear."

      1. Pretty funny effect, isn't it? Thanks for reading!


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