Brief Talk breaking social norms for comfort and fashion
UNB Tim – Undies Rock, First welcome to the site! You are our new resident straight guy, well one of three! So we had a text conversation the other night about social norm and how both gay and straight guys have very similar stories. It was like preaching to the choir and we have very similar views but from very different places. Being gay it’s fully accepted that I can like undies, whereas you being straight its not culturally acceptable. How did you discover your love of underwear? Have you heard people say you must be “gay’ for liking underwear?
Undies Rock – Hey UNBTim, thanks for having me on, it’s been a blast so far! I want to start off by saying that was a solid convo we had, and I’m looking forward to sharing our view points. You know, I don’t know the exact point in time when it clicked for me, because I have always been fascinated by underwear, but I knew I was hooked when I bought my first pair of bikini briefs in high school. I couldn’t believe how comfortable they felt and how dope they looked. Ultimately, in the back of my head, I knew how “uncool” and socially unacceptable they were (are). Language such as “they’re gay” is typically what people are conditioned to think when they see a pair of men’s bikini briefs, and though I have not been explicitly called gay for the type of underwear I choose to wear (mostly because people don’t have the opportunity to see them), I know that people could assume this from my underwear selection. This stereotype has always frustrated me, not because I’m afraid of people thinking I’m gay, I couldn’t care less about anyone’s opinion of me (life’s too short), but what frustrates me is that a group of people who do no harm to anyone have had to suffer such social injustice. First of all, I don’t even know whose business your sexual orientation is, or how it even matters; personally I don’t want to know. Second of all, I certainly can’t rationalize the correlation between fashionable/comfortable underwear and gay men, other than the fact that they have the confidence to strut killer undies, which is admirable. Why do you think people assume underwear fans to be gay?
UNB Tim – That’s a simple question with a complex answer. When the blog started it was read by gay guys. I would assume about 100% were gay. I think gay guys are more open to talking undies and sharing what feels great. This, when noticed by society, lumped undies into the “gay” category of fashion. This is reinforced by entertainment. When they want to have a funny person in undies, they do something really off the wall. Look at the Borat thong he wore. Also, most times a bikini or thong are made fun of rather than seen as no big deal.
Even without movies, I think the general public has a notion that underwear that is skimpy is made for gay guys. They consider it too much like women’s underwear. I won’t go into the whole lace debate, but bikinis and thongs are considered feminine to a large amount of men in the states. Hell, even prints and pouch briefs are lumped in this category. Real men wear boxers or boxer briefs. No self respecting man would be caught dead in man panties.
This attitude is changing. This is due to the of the Metrosexual. Metrosexuals allowed guys to break out of the jeans and t shirts mold guys were accustomed too. It now allowed them to wear clothes that were flattering and develop their own style. This also includes underwear. Why would you wear great clothes but still get underwear at a big box store? Guys are trying undies through their own or through wives/girl friends. Underwear has become a fashion accessory. Its not longer something you just put on.
What do you think the biggest hurdle of guys from trying great undies? What changes do you see happening in society to make underwear more acceptable?
Undies Rock – These are loaded questions, and are topics that I have struggled with for quite some time. There really isn’t an easy answer, and I hate to get philosophical, but I really think it boils down to social conditioning. In a similar manner to how men have been conditioned to be accustomed to uncomfortable and ugly underwear, we need to work to open the conversation to men that fashionable and comfortable underwear are socially acceptable, and desirable. Continual conversation and positive exposure in the media outlets will help foster the mindset that it’s oaky for men to shop openly and own sexier underwear. I stand by this, and decided to join the conversation by blogging for UNB.
As you mentioned previously, people associate swim briefs and skimpier underwear with the outlandish portrayal in entrainment such as Borat, Wild Boyz, etc,. These gross over exaggerations ultimately engrain the notion in men that if you wear a swim brief or bikini underwear, this is how you will be viewed by society. Though these portrayals are far out, they possess the power to influence the mass, which they have. To further my position, what I find interesting is that for women it’s the antithesis. I feel this has been fostered from decades of positive press. Let’s not forget that only a few decades ago, it was a mortal sin for women to expose their skin. Let alone be 90% naked at the beach with nothing but a skimpy triangle top and swim thong to cover up. I have a strong feeling that if women’s swimwear and underwear was portrayed in a similar fashion to men’s (e.g. an unattractive female wearing a tacky swim thong) then I bet it wouldn’t be socially acceptable for them to wear skimpy intimates.
I know it won’t happen overnight, but if more men come to the realization that awesome underwear exists, and that it is masculine to shop for it, I think the social epidemic we are currently facing on this front will diminish. If you had to guess, when do you think men as a whole will accept underwear and swimwear? Do you think we will start to see more men wearing swim briefs in a couple years or decades or not at all?
UNB Tim – That’s a great question. I think every year we get more and more advancement in what guys will wear. I mean, the boxers are finally going down in popularity. The brief is picking up steam and the bikini is making a strong come back. I mean a few years ago you’d never hear much about bikinis and now its starting to spring up all over!
It’s like the 80’s all over again. Back in the 80’s more guys wore bikinis and swim briefs. It was pretty much a non issue. I remember changing for gym and being self conscious about wearing bikinis and there would be several guys in them in the locker room and it was no big deal. Even one of the big men on campus wore them.
Next, guys want to be comfortable. I have heard more guys talk about how uncomfortable boxer are to them. They give you no support, I don’t get boxers. I have worn them and given them a go but Its never a go to pair and I only have prob 3-4 pairs. More guys need support through out the day and discover if you get a good pair of trunks or briefs it keeps everything I place and you don’t have to worry about having to constantly adjust.
Lastly, guys want to be more fashionable. As we have said in this post several times I think. Why spend $100 on jeans to to wear $4 boxers under them? Wear something that matches your clothes.
I’m electing you to speak for the straight community! Why do you think are a few reasons straight guys are holding out on wearing great undies? What do you think can be done to encourage more guys to wear good undies?
Undies Rock – These are all great points that you’ve identified, and I couldn’t agree more. Hopefully we will see the switch sooner than later. But for sure it seems to be true that men as a collective are deciding more and more to wear comfortable yet fashionable undies. As they should.
Specifically for straight guys, there are a couple of reasons why men are apprehensive to indulge in great undies. I hate to circle back to this, but I feel a lot of it boils down to what men feel comfortable with. Though I don’t relate to this, I have recognized that a lot of men are susceptible to popular opinion. I think that all of the negative press on cool undies (ultimately equating to a derogative stereotype) has put a damper on any progress and development. I also think that it is an exposure issue. Not a lot guys have had the privilege to swim in a CA-RIO-CA bikini, or had the opportunity to wear a JM thong, or to divulge in the (what seems to be) hundreds of options (on a micro level) of underwear. With this in mind, men have no clue how to adequately judge and form an opinion on what is actually good, other than to accept the norm. Which is why men actually believe that curtains of shame (aka boxers) are in fact underwear (not shorts! LOL) and that they are comfortable and cool. This is our current state. Sigh.
There are a lot of actions we can take for the cause. I don’t want to make this sound like this is a strategic endeavor, but we have to be smart with our actions in this day and age. I think one element that will help the straight community is conversation. As more men talk about underwear, it becomes less taboo and more casual. I think men in this day are fairly open, and I think once a positive conversation is started, a lot of progress can be made. As I have stated numerous times, this one of my main motivations to blog for UNB.
Also, it would help if big brands start to offer bikini and better cuts of underwear, with a wider range of comfortable fabrics such as modal, nylon, polyester, etc . Big retail brands have the power to influence the mass with what is socially acceptable. And their statement of approval is simply making the product. This may not always be true, and I know consumers drive market trends, which they can bring to life or kill. But I think if big retail brands such as Gap, American Eagle (FYI they just started a body positive campaign – AE isn’t my thing, but power on!), might be surprised at the response they receive if they start to advertise and showcase cooler underwear. I can’t say this absolutely, but I have always felt like there is this bubble that is waiting to pop on this front, and I think when one mainstream company takes the helm, the rest will fall in line.
I think it will also help the straight community to have solid support and appraisal from women. Women possess the power to make men feel self conscious or confident with their wardrobe and body. Funny enough I met with Andrew from N2N and he mentioned the greatest blowback he has received is from women. This kind of had my head my head spinning. Apparently they are the first to taunt and tease men for their swimwear/underwear selection. Personally, my girlfriend raves over my undies, and I know that she is not the only female out there who can appreciate a solid pair of undies on her man. In fact I think more women would than not. Just because a few loud mouth hater chicas disapprove, holds no weight in this war at all. I think a lot of ground will be covered if women start to voice their approval and desire for better underwear and swimwear for men.
Concurrently, I think this also holds true for brands. Instead of brands advertising group photos of men together wearing underwear, I would like to see more photos of men in swim briefs with a female counterpart. We see this in brands such as Corka, Charlie BMZ, Clever, and other brands that advertise men and women together, and it looks hot. The imagery is enough for straight guys to interpret the approval and support from brands and women to feel it’s acceptable to have dope underwear.
Also I think time is a huge factor. As trends become obsolete, previous generations die that drove trends, etc., room is created for new designs and styles. Ultimately it up to us to set the trends, and be the leaders for progressive underwear for men, and if you’ve read this far into this post, your helping us step in the right direction (and THANKS for the support!).
Lastly I think that gay men and straight men need to unite on this front. We are divided, and there is no reason we should be. Division on such a mass scale only hinders progress. Numbers matter and our voice holds that much more weight as a collective. I get it, the mere fact that I am even acknowledging that straight men have different needs than gay men doesn’t help. My goal is to at least address the reality of the situation and draw attention and opinion to greater area of concern; amalgamation. Honestly, call me dense, but I haven’t ever been able to figure it out. Who cares if you’re straight? Who cares if you’re gay? I really don’t know, but somehow it’s still an issue. So let’s get with the program dudes. IT IS 2016 – NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR SEXUAL ORIENTATION. Not because it’s irrelevant, but because sex is sex, and believe it or not, people have sex with whomever ever they wish (as long as it’s mutual), and it should be no one’s business to delineate otherwise. But if you do care, spare yourself the shame and humility of publically acknowledging that you actually have the time to trouble yourself with such a trivial matter. We are people. We are men. Guys lets unite, and bring back cool underwear. Enough ranting lol.
Not to dwell on your previous response too much, but you mention how it’s almost like the 80’s all over again with the trends that are starting to catch. I found this interesting, not because I love the 80s (which I do!), but because it seems like progress was made in the 80s, but that it was dismissed in the 90s, for us lone undie fanatics to deal with the aftermath of poor decision making. I mean if we stayed on track with the trends from the 80s we probably wouldn’t be having the convo is the first place haha. Why do you think the trends in the 80s didn’t stick? How can we stop this from ever happening again? Lol I bring this up because I would hate for the undie community to lose all of the progress we’ve gained in the 2010s in the 2020s.
UNB Tim – I would say what stopped the trend was the Boxer. The boxer became the default underwear for guys in the 90’s. I know many people reading this would say they didn’t wear them. I think I bought one pair of boxers, which drove me crazy. I didn’t understand their popularity due to no support. It was like I was wearing shorts under my Khakis. This also lead the way to the Boxer Brief. The hybrid that changed the world of underwear too.
Going forward we need to let guys pick what ever they are comfortable in, not just be fashionable. If you love a thong, wear it, bikini wear it, boxer brief, wear it. That’s what UNB is for, guys who love undies and want to share it. Its about your passion and enjoying it.
Good things are happening in the world of undies. The rise of the Jockstrap in the 2000’s is the world of undies shifting. Also the creation of more hybrids. The biggest example is the jockbrief. Baskit lead this revolution and it’s pretty much a mainstay style in a lot of brands. Then we come to the rise of the thong again. Thongs have always had their die hard fans over the years. But more guys are trying them and finding they love them. We have had few guys say they wear them to the gym for the support they give. This isn’t just gay guys its straight guys!
I would like to say we are going through a revolution in underwear. No longer is it just gay guys caring about underwear. Straight guys and women are wanting something better. Its making them step outside their comfort zone and find something amazing. I have long said that once a guy tries amazing undies they don’t go back. They have a preconceived notion that they are uncomfortable and made for showing off rather than wearing. Once they slide them on they find out, underwear makers want their underwear to fit like a glove and your goods were made for them. Where would we be if all brands just made underwear that looked amazing but uncomfortable to wear? We wouldn’t be here!
How do we get it from happening again? I say let them discover underwear. I think more guys now are trying different style from the 80’s. I think the market was way smaller then. Now its HUGE. I mean we have how many blogs dedicated to men’s underwear? Plus we need to be more open about our love of underwear to our friends. As soon as you have just a conversation about underwear like it’s no big deal it won’t be a big deal!
Other than UNB, how are you spreading the word about underwear? What do you think guys can do to make underwear a topic that’s not taboo?
Undies Rock – Way to put me on the spot UNB Tim! Sorry, I had to J but that’s actually a great question. To date, I think that one of my greatest contributions has been all of the underwear purchases I have made. I have quite an extensive collection (don’t hate), which some may say I have a problem, but let’s face it, every man is allowed to have a hobby, and I just so happen to dig undies. I think all of the purchases I have made have been a voice for more fashionable and comfortable underwear and will hopefully drive market trends. As consumers we have purchasing power, and though you may not be able to find a cool pair at Macy’s, Kohl’s, or other department stores, cool underwear does exist. There are countless amounts of brands with awesome styles and cuts for every activity, and they need our support. I am also a huge proponent of swim briefs, and I strut them shamelessly at the beach, pool, etc. I will continue to press on with wearing swim briefs in hopes that I will inspire guys who are on the fence but lack the confidence to strut them due to fear of being marginalized. Hopefully in time, more and more men will realize that it’s actually way better to swim in comfort and style. Also at times I have given friends recommendations on underwear for various activities. It’s usually a little suspicious to them as to why I am so knowledgeable but I could care less, and really, anyone who knows me understands this haha. I also have an Instagram account dedicated to underwear (@undierockla). I’ll be honest, I haven’t used it much, as my life has been a little hectic, but as the summer roles in, I plan to share all of my UNB reviews on it as well as other undie related topics. Ultimately the small things do help, and everything I mentioned that I do above are things that all men can do and ultimately the more small things men do collectively play a greater part in the revolution of men’s underwear.
A lot of the taboo around men’s underwear has been due to the desexualization (I think I made this word up, but you get the point) of the male body in American culture. For women in America, it’s the antithesis, as they female body is almost over sexualized. American men have been conditioned to unreservedly accept the norm due to a multitude of reasons, but I think (as I stated countless times) that keeping the conversation in combination with positive press will go a long way. Every year, I see more men wearing swim briefs, and the men’s underwear market is continually expanding and thriving, which are all positive signs to me that progress is imminent. At this point I think we have covered a lot of ground on this issue; do have any closing thoughts that you would like to share UNB Tim?
UNB Tim – I just hope we have a lot more talks between the guys on the site and our readers! It’s time we have real conversations about underwear no matter if we are gay/bi/straight. Let’s make undies mainstream.