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Sadly, these shorts were sold out by the time I spotted them on DHGate.com* at the bargain prices of $2.68 (with free shipping!):

CUSTUMES INSIDE TO WEAR

*DHGate, for those of you who don't live on the Internet, is an online marketplace like Amazon.com for Chinese manufacturers seeking to unload surplus goods to resellers. This is where sweatshops sell their knockoff shoes after they've fulfilled their orders for Ivanka Trump. For example, compare these shorts with the $14.99 pair you'll find from SuperHeroStuff on Amazon.com.

And while I do want to wear Superman's shorts, I post this pic mainly because of the delightful Engrish catalog text.

CUSTUMES INSIDE TO WEAR
Give you the most suitable underwear, wear make you confidence. I
of you in the other half of the face, not inferior, to give you strength to master everything.

It takes a Superman to understand what that is trying to say.

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Six days ago, I insinuated that anyone who wore a pair of those "Man of Steel" briefs must frequent hookers. One of my readers took umbrage with my statement and sent me the following image as proof:

Super-Fike

I stand by my statement.

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Why do I have a Superman Month? Because in my daily life, I have telephone conversations in which I discuss the existence of adult Underoos. Behold:

That's a costume I can get behind!

Of course, that's a Supergirl costume. These things actually exist (they can be purchased here) and yes, they are licensed by DC Comics. But don't worry, they make something for the boys, too.

Man of Steel? Subtle.

Seriously, this underwear is every dick joke rolled into one convenient package, pun intended. Also available here, it takes a certain kind of man to wear these things in private, much less over his tights. A giant "S" emblem exactly over the business end and a waistband that reads "Man of Steel"? Subtle. Something tells me that the wearer of these bad boys frequents hookers.

But I'm not saying that I don't want a pair very, very desperately. "Up, up and away!"

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In honor of Pope Victor (who first decided that Easter would be celebrated on a Sunday), I interrupt your Day of the Lepus celebration with the following long-form complaint about chicks.

Why does Victoria's Secret mail out catalogues every month? Who buys underwear that often? A quick web search reveals that they mail over 400 million catalogues each year. (A mere 33 million catalogues per month.) The population of the entire United States of America -- men, women, and children combined -- is slightly over 300 million.

I'm a little torn on this issue: I'm not opposed to free porn arriving in my mail box. (That old Sears catalogue and I had some good times.) But I do have concerns about the frequency and volume of these catalogues. I see more Victoria's Secret catalogues than credit card applications and "have you seen me" postcards combined.

I'm not the sort to lament the overgrowth of landfills (I hope everyone drowns in their own filth) or mourn the destruction of a tree (I hate trees, too). But it seems to me that mailing endless piles of catalogues with pictures so heavily airbrushed as to be considered paintings of impossibly-shaped people (we called you ugly in high school because you were, ladies) in order to market push-up bras to women concerned that their chests are too small could probably be a sign of the apocalypse (if one were so inclined to be looking for those sorts of things).

That is all. You may now resume your regularly scheduled pastel-tinted activities.

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So this is Christmas? I must say that this Christmas was probably more enjoyable than recent years past. No one argued. No one threw punches or food. No one stormed out and drove home. (Though my father is sleeping in his car tonight. But it's just out of appreciation for tradition.)

The lack of friction around the table this year made me realize that I often hear people talk about their dysfunctional families' holidays, but I never hear anyone talk about their functional families' holidays. I think it's about time that the June Cleavers and Donna Reeds of the world speak up. Is Nixon's "silent majority" too busy enjoying the holiday season with their sweater vests and sober relatives to tell the rest of us that we're screwed up? Or are they just smart enough to lay low, lest they find themselves co-starring on a very special holiday edition of Cops with my father?

I even enjoyed a better than average gifting this year. The only thing I asked for was socks, but in addition to the socks, I also received 12 pairs of underwear and a fog machine. Wowee! I'd say it was "like Christmas," except for the fact that it actually was Christmas. In this case, my extensive mental inventory of useful sarcastic cliches has let me down, leaving me grasping for words with which to describe the event. (Sarcasm just can't be used to describe satisfaction.)

The 12 pairs of underwear made me wonder about why we call them "pairs" of underwear. A quick internet search reveals that back in the day, only nobility wore anything over the coverings of their genitals, so there was technically no such thing as "underwear" until the last few centuries. (Unless, of course, you were hanging out in a royal court wearing a codpiece or tunic.) Modern legged outerwear evolved from two, unattached leggings (a pair of hose, to be precise) to become the single garment that we now call "a pair of pants." As I understand it, the word "pants" evolved from the word "pantaloons," a type of legged, female underskirt garment designed to cover their highly coveted naughty bits. This would make "pairs of underwear" a vestigial etymological remnant of a bygone wardrobe in our lexicon.

Note that since "pants" originated as a type of underwear, modern outerwear "pants" should properly be referred to as "trousers" since "pants" is specifically derivative of a type of undergarment and "trousers" are outerwear for the legs. This appears to be yet another difference in American and British English languages. They get it right, whereas we American's don't care what you call it so long as you can't see our legs.

It turns out that "men's cotton briefs," such as I received for Christmas, weren't even invented until the 1930s in Chicago, Illinois. Named for the 20th century male undergarment called a "jockstrap," they were designed and sold by a company which would later adopt their brand name as the company name: Jockey.

Now, all this thinking of underwear has reminded me of an editorial that I once wrote to the University of Georgia's student newspaper, The Red and Black. I took the opportunity to satirize the University community's overreaction to one editorial cartoon by criticizing another by my classmate Mack Williams (now an accomplished animator for Cartoon Network's Adult Swim program Frisky Dingo). What does this have to do with underwear, you ask? Simple: "culottes," a French underwear that appears to be a cross between a skirt and shorts. I quote from one of the many, many responses to my letter:

First we had someone decrying Williams' Feb. 26 cartoon as an insult to the soldiers who fought at Iwo Jima, when it should have been plainly obvious such an insult was not the cartoonist's intent. Now we've got someone with his culottes in a bunch over Williams' portrayal of poodles in a subsequent cartoon ("Poodles not often angry or mean dogs," Feb. 28). Poodles! Come down off the ledge, Stephens, and understand that the poodle in that cartoon was a symbol for something else -- the cartoon was not about poodles any more than it was about bulldogs or people with facial hair.

The full text can be read from the archives of The Red and Black online. The event played out in the editorial pages' "Mailbox" from February 28 through March 3, 2003. The highlight of the affair for me was this dialogue exchanged in the online feedback section:

I am stunned at how many people have been writing in about the initial poodle letter. I know Americans are supposed to be irony-free, but this is ridiculous. The letter was satirizing the Iwo Jima complaints. Come on, people, show that you deserve to be at college.

Which received the following response:

He wasn't satirizing anything, it was written by a mixed up old secretary who has his priorities all mixed up. Not everyone is as clever as you think they are.

Now THAT is satisfying journalism.

Hmm. I seem to be rambling. It must be the effects of too much cranberry sauce, Hershey's Christmas Kisses, sweet tea, pound cake, Coca-Cola, and Klondike Bars. I suppose the point of all of this rambling is that I associate 17th century women's underwear with poodles. (But I don't endorse putting poodles into women's underwear. That's just weird.)

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I was just searching Amazon.com for the movie Side Out (with C. Thomas Howell), and my search returned a listing for crotchless panties. (God bless the internet.) Which, naturally, got me thinking about crotchless panties. What exactly is the point of these things? It has all of the bulk of underwear and none of the function. (But what a breeze!) I like easy access, but why wear panties at all if they are simply going to have a big hole in them? When my underwear develops holes, I throw it away. I've always said that I think people look more appealing with some clothing on, but this is not at all what I had in mind.

Amusingly, under "Features," Amazon lists the following for the "String of Bubbles" crotchless panty:

  • Surprise someone special
  • Allows you to wear jewelry in places you never though about
  • It feels amazing
  • Fun to wear
  • Adds spice to your life

Certainly, none of these "Features" answers any of my questions. But ladies, so long as you can have an excuse to wear more jewelry ("Ooh! Shiny!"), why not crotchless panties?

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Underwear is Winterwear.

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To be continued...

 

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