Men Are Coddled
A lot of people think that it’s a hard time to be a man. But the truth is we’re living at a time of unprecedented phallic comfort. Just consider men’s underwear. Innovative technical fabrics are designed for extreme coziness, maximum stretch, and anti-microbial moisture-wicking.
Tencel and Modal are made from Bamboo. SeaWool comes from oyster shells. Polyethene terephthalate (PET) is spun from upcycled soda bottles. It’s not only the fabrics, but also the design. Flaps and gussets are sewn into the crotch of forty-five-dollar boxer-briefs, creating the perfect pouch. It’s so supportive, like a hammock for my junk.
This is one reason why I don’t believe any of those loudmouths on Twitter who say “cancel culture” and #MeToo are indicative of a devaluation of masculinity. No, that’s absurd. There are plenty of things that are hard about living in this era. Being a man is not one of them. I’ve got a modern-day techno-loincloth cradling my scrotum. I know exactly how pleasant these times are for male genitalia.
The founding father of men’s briefs was Arthur Kneibler. In 1934, he designed the first tighty-whiteys with a Y-front-fly. They mimicked the bathing trunks he saw depicted on a postcard from the French Riviera. High couture! He manufactured 600 pairs, dubbed “Jockey Shorts.” They sold out in one day.
That shouldn’t be surprising. Prior to Kneibler, men could only choose between boxers, long johns, or union suits — breeches and codpieces before that. Jockey Shorts were a long time coming. And like so many other innovations of the twentieth century, they were harbingers of cultural transformation.
Less than a century later, former US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan claimed you could track market growth in parallel to the sale of men’s undergarments. In 2008, he suggested that dads don’t replace their briefs when the family’s finances are squeezed. It’s an example of how paternal, stoic martyrdom is surreptitiously normalized as an essential attribute of fatherhood identity. We all give thanks for…