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Feb 5, 2012

Men in their Underwear



WARNING: The following post deals with adolescent themes.  Anyone over the age of 18 should be accompanied by a child.
Friends, on this cold winter Sunday, rather than talk about the serious topic of sequined pantsuits, I thought I'd discuss something lighter, skimpier -- practically bare.



How do you feel about the gratuitous display of men in their underwear in advertisements?  Do you care at all?  Are you of the opinion that what's good for the goose is good for the gander or some such poultry-related adage? 

Do you think these ads target women who shop for men, men who shop for themselves, or something else entirely?



Late last week, I looked north out of my living room window and discovered this brand new painted billboard just blocks from my apartment.



Let's have a closer look.





I certainly wasn't shocked (it replaced another ad for H&M, a woman in her bra), but I did have a moment of Oh.  Not Oh as in Wow but rather Oh as in Uh huh.  Can you hear the difference?

Two things.  Haven't we already seen David Beckham in his underwear recently, for Armani?  If those briefs were good enough for him then, why is he hawking his own line now? 





Also, $14.95 for a pair of underwear is not cheap by any means, especially for a store like H&M.  I once owned a pair of H&M underwear and while they were cute (colorful boy-style briefs), the Spandex in them made me sweat.  Spandex in underwear may be flattering on a billboard ad or in the locker room, but in real life it's hot. 

Parenthetically, I recently stumbled upon this vintage pattern, Simplicity 5417, on Etsy, and I thought to myself, Who was sewing men's bodysuits in the Seventies?  I mean, a jumpsuit I get; this I don't get.  Why would anyone want snaps down there.  Can't you just tuck your shirt in your pants and call it day? 



Speaking of days, I must get on with mine, but I would love to know the following:

In general, do you like to look at men in their underwear?  Do these kinds of ads make you want to purchase underwear for a loved one or -- if you're a guy -- for yourself?

On some level are you thinking maybe in David Beckham's underwear, Somebody might look a little more like David Beckham (or at least David Beckham photoshopped to porn star perfection)? Isn't that the point?

Finally, Spandex in underwear: Too hot and clammy for the nether regions?

Enquiring minds want to know!

Ka-Ching!

53 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I agree with you,sex sales and let people talking about these scandalous out doors. Honestly, clients dont care about the publicity or the model: they look at the price first and then for what they are buying.
      I love you blog!

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  2. David Beckham is just great eye candy. It's like window shopping.

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  3. I don't buy my OH's underwear and never have. I do however throw them out when they've become so holey i fail to see how they function! ...and even then he'll attempt to save them haha

    Okay, so DB is nice eye candy for a daydream or two, but in reality he's far from my ideal man no matter what he looks like; he's hardly intellectual at any level and that's a deal breaker for me. Now if underwear companies used someone who massaged my brain and my eyes maybe i'd start buying OH's undies LOL

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  4. Men with female partners generally make their partner buy everything including underwear. This makes me wonder just who buys this underwear besides for Valentines Day as the market would be limited.And yes DB is cute but that's not everything.

    Also spandex in underwear doesn't work because it's too hot. There's a reason why most people buy cotton underwear - it absorbs sweat etc

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  5. I can't imagine, if I were to be a celebrity, posing in my underwear! It just feels so unclassy. At the same time, it's nothing I haven't seen before on a beach, so I mostly ignore it in ads, etc.
    I'm SUPER intrigued by that men's pattern though! I can't believe you didn't buy, even in the name of odd things. Shame on you.

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  6. I do like looking at men in their underwear, and it's nice to see some acknowledgement of the female gaze. Most of the time the ad industry pretends either Men Are Not Hot or Women Have No Interest in Looking at Men. So any deviation from that is welcome to me.

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  7. WELL, AS LONG AS IT'S ANYBODY; BUT DAVID BECKHAM I THINK IT'S PERFECTLY LOVELY ;) (Opps Sorry I shouted!)

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  8. Re: the men's bodysuit: I remember an interview with Roger Ebert after Gene Siskel died, in which Roger spoke about Gene's love for the film Saturday Night Fever. Apparently, Gene paid an ungodly sum at an auction for a body suit worn by John Travola in the film. The costume designer made all the shirts like this for the film so that they would stay neat and tightly tucked in during the dancing sequences. THAT is the only instance I've ever heard of men's bodysuits.

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  9. Note to self: When in London remember to say "I can't find my trousers," not "I can't find my pants."

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  10. Spandex in the nether regions may be why DB looks so out of sorts. :)

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  11. Men modeling underwear is way less appealing to me than women modeling underwear. I like to imagine wearing the item, not sleeping with the model.

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  12. Elaine (nobody you know)February 5, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    I hope this is filed in dimestore psychology because this confirms two of my long-held beliefs:

    1. We are all "straight" and all "gay" in varying degrees. I find the women in the D&G ad far more attractive than the man. And I suspect my husband would agree that he would enjoy looking at David Beckham in his underwear (but maybe for him, preferably in a tuxedo) as much as I would. Madison Avenue merely needs to hold our attention for the "briefest" (ha!) moment to get us to buy. It knows these ads turn the heads of many, many people, (predominantly) straight men, (predominantly) gay men, (predominantly) straight women, etc. If they're buying billboards on the theory, it's true.

    2. Boxer briefs are the most flattering choice (including, but not limited to, bodysuits) for any man. Oh, he looks REALLY good.

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  13. Is it just me or do most men look kind of silly in their underwear?

    I like, now and then, seeing hot men in their skivvies. But not being accosted on the street by photoshopped images. It's nice to leave something to the imagination.

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  14. I don't really have an opinion on underwear on billboards, as long as it's not the thong variety...

    As to the undie-preferences... my husband is very picky (as in all things) about his underwear. Boxer-briefs, legs longer rather than shorter, and a small amount of spandex is a must, as he really, really hates the way the 100% cotton ones bag out while wearing. Which can be really, really hard to find by the way. These days he's wearing some very fancy, very expensive hi-tech wicking-fabric things, but the store we get them at seems to be phasing out that brand so I'm not sure what he'll do next.

    I would be so incredibly happy if we could find him underwear that was only $14/pair. It's been years since he found any he liked that were under $20...

    I haven't quite gotten desperate enough to try to sew underwear for him yet, but I won't swear it's not in my future...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might want to take a look at Jockey Pouch Midways. They are longer leg boxer-briefs with 3% spandex in them so they don't get baggy like all-cotton underwear. They're not cheap (the Jockey website has them for $25 for a package of two), but they are by far my favorite type of underwear for everyday use. Because they are a bit longer, they don't always work well under shorts (they stick out under anything shorter than cargo shorts-length).

      Delete
  15. Speaking from having experienced the 70s in my teen years. The reason for the widespread use of bodysuits with snaps in the crotch was that all the pants available were low rise. So even if you only leaned forward, not even bent over, your shirt came untucked because there was so little to tuck into. They were the remedy for the plumbers crack we have to endure today because of the propensity for wearing low slung pants. I miss bodysuits. And "real" low rise pants that fit well, not the baggy and slouchy pants that only stay on by virtue of a belt or the ugly habit of holding up your pants while attempting to walk or run. And speaking to that, I do not understand the clothing choice of the "thuggin'" group. I would assume that if you are a thug, you might just have to run from the police sometime and if that is the case I would want pants that would enable me to make a quick getaway. Not something that is so baggy that it might catch on things and you need to hike them up to move properly. Doesn't sound practical to me. Oh well, who ever said that fashion had to be practical. lol

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  16. Loud snorts and guffaws from this quarter! Let's get down to business! Oh dear.

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  17. spandex is way too hot for me to wear. i live in TX and there is no way to do this in the summer. I make mine and it is in the wicking kind. DH...tightie whities...no imagination here.

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  18. First, THAT Munsingwear ad! Words fail me.

    As for underwear, well, I've been the recipient of many pairs during a little over the past year. Better underwear, and by that I mean around $25 per pair, is cut and made in a superior manner (ode to the "contoured pouch"). Having been in basic white briefs for years, it's equivalent to a woman going from knee socks to silk stockings. The fit, the feel, and the festive reception they get (from the generous one), all go to having altered my unseen clothing choices.

    Natural fibers, or mostly natural fibers, are a must. Hybrid funks are seldom anyone's cup of tea.

    Lastly, Simplicity pattern 5417 and the snap crotch closure; how "urinal awkward" would that be?

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  19. Men in their undies... Not usually something that catches my eye unless it's my own hubby... I think the point of those types of billboards is for the buyer to imagine that they look as good i those undies as the person in the pic... Not sure that may be the case in all instances... But people sure can dream...lol

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  20. I have a degree in art. This is only relevant because it means that I've seen more barely dresses or naked people than most because of figure drawing and figure sculpture classes. And after all those classes I came to a conclusion--people look better with clothes.

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  21. I see DH getting dressed and undressed every day, so I don't have to go looking for pictures of men in their underwear. I have made him some undies in the past, but he usually buys his own. We know from experience that too much plastic in clothes is sweaty and icky.

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  22. This being the case (ie that spandex is too hot and sweaty to wear) are there any dancers who read this blog that would like to comment on the use of spandex (aka lycra) in dancewear?

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    Replies
    1. I started taking dance classes three years ago - auditioned for & danced in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". Audiences pay for wiggle not jiggle so I am 40+, another dancer almost 30 and a full figured young lady all wore: good bras so nothing would fall out during cartwheels, high waisted spandex undies, a long "corset" with dozens of hook & eye closures, shaping nylons for durability and over all that a bodyshaper for shaping and being decent during quick changes (this is the South) plus several different costumes on top. All I can say is we sweated from places we did not know could sweat. Everything covered in spandex would be soaked. We would have given a lot for some snaps to make bathroom breaks quicker and easier. However we looked smashing. As for everyday dance class & performance - sweat is better than the sag of cotton and nobody really thinks anything about it cause we expect to sweat, at least I do. The kids seem to complain about everything but their clothes making them sweat so who knows.

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    2. Oh I take ballet, jazz, tap and clogging.

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  23. As a straight woman, it's my opinion that men do not look 'sexy' naked---except from the back. The male form, in my opinion, is just not beautiful. The female form, on the other hand, is simply gorgeous. A fit man in a modest pair of undies, however, is very nice to look at---but the spread leg crotch shot---meh! DB is not making me want to buy undies for my husband--and my husband would not even notice this ad. So, for us, in order to sell underwear, we need a victoria's secret model in men's briefs OR a shot of DB walking away form the camera in a comfortable pair of boxers. As for spandex---no one likes to be simmering in their own juices, ew. Gimme breathable cotton baby.

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  24. I just hate all kinds of commercial. It's blunt, uninspiring and messes up kids, especially the underwear ones (the commercials not the kids :-P). H&M just might make me a tagger with a big fat paint roller one day.

    Like Tanit-Isis husband, my better half likes just a little bit of spandex to keep'em where they're supposed to be.

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  25. As a girl, I find it rather distateful. Of course I look at them ( I can´t help it!) but I wish they would make the adverts more "artsy" and less sexual, like they do with some women lingerie brands. I always like a more ehtereal, or distant approach from the models in adverts, it makes me want the product more, as it has an unreal quality to it.

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  26. While reading this post and glancing at the Superbowl WHO pops up? David Beckam, his tatoos and his underwear. No comment...hubby is sitting next to me.

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  27. You can get too much of David Beckham in one eyeshot ...! I don't mind men in their underwear, but I prefer the fitted boxer shorts to just undies!

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  28. I love looking at men-- dressed, nude, in underwear...what I can't figure out is why women's magazines have the same images as in the men's magazines-- all women with cleavage. Not interested in looking at other women-- but I might buy Cosmo if there was a half-dressed man on the cover.

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  29. Last time I had a bloke to buy things for, he didn't wear undies. Advertising obviously didn't work on him.

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  30. I'm so glad you brought this up, because I need to get something off my chest, Dr. Lappin. "Let's get down to business", as they (apparently) say. I'm a straight woman, and I do appreciate the male form in many contexts. I especially love a well-dressed, well-groomed man; SOOOO sexy. This near-nakedness, however... this embarrasses me. It isn't even the underwear, necessarily (I don't mind a certain jaunty model showing off his well-made boxers, for instance); a bare-chested man in a low-slung pair of pants elicits the same prudish reaction from me. When the base of a man's abdominal muscles (you know, that diagonal bit that funnels toward the family jewels) are prominently on display, I feel very uncomfortable, and I need to look away. It is just too much! The suggestiveness of the nearly-nude is what disturbs me; I think I would be less embarrassed if they just went around with no pants at all. Isn't anything private anymore? Not even our privates? I know I'm sounding like the Dowager Countess about now, but it's a problem in my life, because it's EVERYWHERE. Dear gentlemen, I'm sure there's something exciting south of those waistbands, but I do wish you'd wait to expose them until you are in appropriate company. For the rest of the world, be a dear and pull up your pants.

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  31. Would it be distasteful if I said those kind of underwear spreads make me wonder if those underwear come with gel inserts similar to the kind that are sold with some women's bras "to build and enhance." For the dh and our sons all I want to know is how accurate the sizing is & waist sizes for boys instead of ages. No young man likes his mother asking about fit and if the whities are too tighty.

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  32. I guess I am more of a prude than I thought, but I don't like to see either gender in underwear. It is not the nudity, I guess but the suggestiveness of it all. I find similar pictures with almost as much skin showing, but wearing clothes instead far more interesting. People playing beach volleyball kind of attire is more attractive IMHO!

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  33. I'd rather not see underpants for males or females advertised at all, particularly on a billboard right in my constant line of sight. Any young toned and photo shopped body reminds me that mine is getting older and I haven't been to the gym enough and (all too often) that I didn’t really need whatever less than healthy snack I last ate. On the other hand, because they are not garments I wear I'll look very happily and without any body-guilt at a nice male (live or pictured) in a singlet. I don’t think Americans call undervests/tank tops singlets do you? I know you wear them because Marlon Brando magnificently did in 'A Streetcar named Desire' and possible also in ‘On the Waterfront’. Come to think of it Peter, you too may have sported one in a picture. Incidentally the iconic Aussie singlet brand is 'chesty bond'.

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    Replies
    1. A few years back my kids told me those are now called "wife beaters" & not "A line tees" as that is the style the wife beaters & other bad boys seem to wear.

      Delete
  34. I think these ads are for guys to perv on guys. Women don't seem to get stimulated or enticed to buy underwear because of porn-styled men.
    It certainly does not make me want to buy underwear. (Not that I do anyways)

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    Replies
    1. Come to think of it, when's the last time we saw you in your "Chesty Bonds," Don? ;)

      Delete
  35. Well, as a man, I find the advertising images a bit silly. Since I wear a kilt everyday, advertisements like these make me smile. :)

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  36. What struck me about this ad was how unbecoming the "undies" are. They're neither boxer briefs nor briefs, and hit at unflattering lines on the model. So, meh.

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  37. That view from your living room brought back a lot of memories. I used to work at 1515 B’way – the building with the crown right over David Beckham’s head. I was in that building when the first of these types of billboards appeared. It was that first daring Calvin Klein ad and at the time it did cause quite a stir (a positive one) among my coworkers, both male and female.

    To answer your questions:
    -These days, my reaction to this type of thing is more negative-to-neutral. I’ve seen it before. Bleh.
    -It doesn’t make me want to run out and buy these undies for the DH or me.
    -When I was young, these types of ads may have had more influence on me on a subconscious level, but now I don’t think the undies will make anyone look like David Beckham looks in the photo. I don’t even think David Beckham really looks like David Beckham looks in the photo – as handsome and fit as he is. Ad photos have always been touched up, but in today’s ads nothing is real, darling. It’s all illusion.

    Spandex + Undies = Bad Idea

    I remember tops such as those in the 5417 pattern and I had a couple of them. Back then, pants were worn hip-hugger low and tops were tight and fitted. Tops didn’t stay tucked in.

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  38. Just saw this: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/02/05/michael-kors-s-favorite-mistake-designing-bodysuits-for-men.html

    Michael Kors was sewing men's bodysuits in the 1990s! Quoth Kors: "Whenever I am tempted to do something that’s totally insane for men, I decide that I’m going to try it on myself. And then I say, “Just remember the bodysuits.”"

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  39. I do buy DHs underwear, but the choice will not be influenced by ads. There are two brands of briefs I judge to be long lasting and he likes the fit and that's what he gets. (Last time he bought some by himself he choose the right brand but the wrong type. The one he does not like to wear. Well... )

    And there is one French brand of undershirts for the winter he likes, so we normally buy them in Paris when they are on sale.

    But ads... there are probably but I never notice them. But I don't notice the ones with the naked women either, they are so common in Europe... just give me a yawn. If I see them at all.

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  40. Back in Junior High, - 1970's - I had a shirt that was made out of a very stretchy clingy material and it snapped in the crotch. I LOVED it!! It was so great because we were all wearing hip huggers too and when you had this shirt on, you rest assured that no matter how low the pants were, or what position you were in, no one could see your underwear.
    Ironically unlike today when teenagers and those old enough to know better WANT you to see their underwear, we were terrified that someone show somehow catch a glimpse. I think that;s why those shirts were invented and popular. BTW, mine was bought - @ J.C. Penney!

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  41. Check out these EMO waterpolo trunks:
    http://www.emoproducts.com/EMO.html

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  42. Hi Peter!

    When I was younger (1980's) after graduating high school and finally purchasing my own underwear, yes, I would say that the men's underwear advertising of the time had an influence over which product to purchase.

    Back then briefs reigned supreme. Style or type was not the problem, not like today thanks to they hybrid boxer-brief. The problem was trying to decide colored or white, class full-cut or some of the new styles Jockey, Hanes, and Bill Blass were advertising at the time.

    I decided that the traditional full-cut with a sprinkling of color worked best for me (and still do!)

    Men's underwear advertisements no longer play a role in influencing the selection and purchase of my underwear, but it is wonderful to go online and see the classic traditional briefs are still available for baby boomers like myself although you have to sometimes get through many web pages because of all the racy trendy briefs manufacturers and retailers keep advertising that are made for twenty-somethings with 29" waistlines, LOL.

    Speaking of Simplicity patterns for men's traditional briefs with the intention to learn how to sew my own. I thought that would be fun. Well, I still have the un-opened patterns and still have not learned to sew. Maybe you can recommend someone that I can contact who would be interested in doing this for me.

    This is a great blog that I came across by accident. I love it. I will check back often.

    Carlos Michael
    Tulsa, Oklahoma (Southern California born & raised)


    http://carlosmichaelpadilla.blogspot.com
    http://theunderwearexpress.blogspot.com

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  43. David Beckham is gay. I have always thought so, ever since that Calvin Klein underwear ad came out. I used to read gay magazines so I recognize the style of the ad. I expect he is waiting to "come out" after he retires from soccer.

    I think an ad presetation like this is totally revolting, tasteless, lewd-that is to say, entirely in step with the zeitgeist. But anyone can do anything they please these days, provided they can pay for the privilege.

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  44. Ballroom dancers wear bodysuits.

    And Michael Kors is actually responsible for putting them in a line of RTW clothing a while back. I read or saw an interview where he greatly regretted it...

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  45. as for mens underwear i wear really old fashioned white shorts you know the baggy high waisted that you see in very very old films, if i could get the cream colour i'd get those but they are hard to find. i go for comfort and believe that mens underpants when seen are just that and not some fashion statement. when you strip off in a changing room or they are on your washing line i want people to know that they underpants and not some fashion thing. same with long johns im not embarased they go on the washing line and i get changed in changing rooms it does'nt bother me people seeing them.

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