Saturday, May 17, 2014

Confusing World of Undergarments



Women - Try as I might, I don't think I'll ever fully understand them. Why? because I'm a man and I've discovered that, while men are simple, women are complicated.

I'm not talking what wine to drink with chicken or beef complicated. No, not how to match sock color with the rest of your outfit complicated. I'm not even talking Rubik's Cube complicated.

I'm talking about calculating the vastness of the universe complicated; pondering the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and God complicated.

In comparison, men must appear like simpletons to women. We basically see and name about twelve colors, while color selections are endless to them. Our underwear come in two basic styles: boxers and briefs. Yes, I know that there are other styles but men will still classify them into one of the two aforementioned categories.

In keeping with this complication of all things woman, I made a grand discovery this last week while shopping with my wife. We were at that really big low-priced  retail chain because we needed some groceries, windshield wiper blades, and possibly some clothing. My wife found some clothes she liked and asked me to watch the shopping cart (called a "buggy" in Alabama) while she tried them on.

"Sure," I said before wheeling the cart to the men's clothing department for some socks. I quickly found some socks I liked and *BONUS* they came in a two-pack. I put three of these in the cart, you know, to cover all my bases. Yep, I consider myself reasonably fashionable, and purchase socks in the three basic colors to match any outfit: black, blue, and brown.

Within minutes, I was back to waiting, nestled within the four rows of bras outside the dressing rooms. I couldn't help but notice the vastness of the bra section and, before long, I began to give closer inspection to the bountiful shelves in some weird quest to bring understanding to this seemingly infinite array of women's support garments.

My mind was soon reeling and I felt a cold sweat building at the back of my neck like back when I was learning algebra for the first time. Here's a very limited and partial list of the different styles I found available in alphabetical order (yes, it's that long) not including specialty and medical styles:

Adhesive -Yes, it's like a sticky-note, but it's a bra.
Backless
Balcony - I have no idea.
Bralette
Convertible - What?
Demicup
Front closure
Full coverage - Aren't they all full coverage?
Longline - As apposed to the shortline, which is next to Pennsylvania Avenue.
Minimizer - Why would anyone want this?
Molded cup - You know, like a jello mold.
Nursing
Petite - Do short women also have short breasts?
Plunge
Pushup - Not like the ice cream.
Racerback - Not like the snake, you know, red racer?
Sleep - I must admit, I have special sleeping underwear too. There called "Boxers."
Soft cup - Aren't they all?
Strapless
Stretch cup - Seems to me, men would need something like this more than women.
T-shirt - Is it a bra, or a T-shirt? I don't know.
Torpedo - Imagine the looks I would get if I wore torpedo underwear!

Of course, each one of these styles come in an endless band (or waist) size and cup sizes from AA to N.

Hey, wouldn't it be great if men's underwear came in different cup sizes? I, for one, would certainly appreciate it, but then again, I'd probably just become confused by all the choices and just buy boxers.

One thing is clear to me, while bras and underwear were likely first worn out of necessity , these garments - bras and underwear alike - must've been further developed by women.

How can I say this? Blasphemy you say? Sexist pig you say? Lemme' 'splain.

Bras obviously have developed over the years to meet the individual needs of women. Men's underwear, on the other hand, have not improved much (except for the 'Y' closure for briefs) since the use of the fig leaf, or the simple loin cloth. And, wasn't the loin cloth and fig leaf unisex?

Now, the person credited for patenting the first bra in america is Mary Phelps Jacob in 1914. She was a socialite, which explains how she basically got credit for 'inventing' the bra when, in fact, it had been around as long as recorded history.

Archaeological digs have uncovered bras in Greek settlements. At first women would tie a rope of braided wool around their chest for support. Nothing like the warmth of itchy wool rubbing across one's nipples. In later settlements scientists found ancient bras made from woven linen. Oh, the comfort of cotton has got to be better than wool.

Imagine Mary Phelps Jacob kind of like the Paris Hilton of today. Now, I know what your thinking. Mary, at least, had to create something, while Paris is mostly famous for her sex tape. Well, had you ever heard the phrase "That's hot" before Paris? No matter how long it had been said in one form or the other since humanoids mastered speech, she still managed to copyright the phrase.

Of course, there was this brief time in history when men wore a codpiece. The codpiece was a sort of outer covering, usually made of some hard material (for protection, I suppose) that gave the man an appearance of wearing a protective cup outside his clothes.

This gives a whole new meaning to the term "little man in a boat."

These codpieces did serve a purpose. they allowed for protection from whatever and easy access for... uh, relieving oneself. But, like everything else in that era, the codpiece turned into another form of artistic expression until it became almost comical in appearance.

Despite all this, the codpiece did have a short resurgence in popularity in the 1980's and 1990's for hair-metal bands like Kiss, Poison, David Lee Roth, and countless others. Thank goodness that fad ended quicker than a Hollywood marriage. I sure wish the whole 'baggy pants' thing would have done the same.


Oh, and don't forget all those movies of late featuring superheroes like Batman, and sadly, even Star Wars. I find it strange that Batgirl didn't get a codpiece, although I think the costumers more than made up for it with her quasi-torpedo bra top.

After everything I've learned about bras lately, I'm grateful that my choices for underwear are limited and simple.  I mean hey, If I get the urge to wear fancy underpants, I simply pull on a pair in some color other than white.