By William Thomas
Breaking news, but hopefully not wind – men’s underwear is in the throes of a technological evolution. New upstart companies like Tommy John and Mack Weldon operated by “twenty somethings” have discovered that since our underwear hasn’t changed much since the 1900s, it was high time for an unwarranted upgrade accompanied of course, by a massive hike in price.
The underwear industry has finally figured what most other corporate entities have been practicing for decades – take a perfectly good and functional product, add a whole bunch of shiny and unnecessary doodads and increase the price to tenfold. (My new Subaru came with a birthday app! No back-up beeper, mind you. But a birthday app!)
Actually in the case of the all-new but hardly improved butt huggers, with the cost going from $4.99 a pair to $70 a pair, make that a 1,302 per cent increase in price. Sales of men’s underwear used to follow a simple and traditional pattern. The woman bought a pair of underwear for the man because otherwise he just wouldn’t be wearing anything down there except rashes and brush burns. The man then wore that underwear faithfully. Okay, too faithfully. Then the woman, using the kind of rubber gloves that extend up to the elbows would take the man’s underwear and burn it in the backyard. This sparked sales of new underwear and on and on it went. Classic supply side, skid-mark economics. That’s the way we liked it. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.
The all-new gentrified gotchies at $70 a pop feature moisture control, cool zones and stealth waistbands. Scary, because we men always believe that our underwear was the moisture control! We never had a need for cool zones but we did possess a healthy fear of hot zones in the back and the need for a battery-operated methane gas detector. A stealth waistband? Honestly the only improvement on underwear we men ever wanted was a waistband with a locking mechanism that provided anti-wedgie protection.
Revolutionary improvements make these new models of bun baskets breathable, anti-microbial and anti-odour. In other words, they’re gas masks made from 100 per cent cotton that you wrap around your ass with a stealth waistband, which apparently cannot be detected by radar. (Safe to say if the ‘Underwear Bomber’ had had this kind of technology at his disposal, he wouldn’t be in jail today.)
The Tommy John designers have even reconfigured the front flap, which no man has ever actually used in the process of peeing because no man, except the Tommy John designer has actually noticed it. The front flap has now been re-developed into a “Quick Draw” fly … “for easier access.” No one so far, including myself has had the courage to ask: “For easier access to what?!?”
The key question about men’s underwear used to be boxers or briefs? From now on men might be asked: “Who are you wearing down there? Armani or Louis Vuitton?”
About the only thing these guys forgot to put in this state-of-the-art underwear is a noise alarm by which any internal eruption over 50 decibels triggers a voice recording that reminds you to change the batteries in your smoke detector. A fire retardant liner wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
Although he could not have foreseen today’s major advancements in men’s chonies, Rodney Dangerfield may have had an inkling when he said: “I tell ya, I get no respect. Every time I put my underwear on I can hear the Fruit Of The Loom Boys laughing!” Actually, the Fruit Of The Loom Boys are balling their eyes out because if upscale undies take off, they’re out of work.