The Singular Frustration of Putting Your Underwear on Backwards

Sometimes I wear boxers, and sometimes I wear briefs. And sometimes, I wear boxer-briefs. Overall, I’m not too dogmatic about my underwear. When I was not yet an adult, I wore tightie whities as some sort of default, in the same way that so much of what we do at a young age seems to be merely by default. Later on, perhaps after being mocked for my tight white briefs by a sharp-tongued female, I started wearing more boxers. More recently, I have swung toward a combination of boxers, briefs and Mexican grandpa underwear. Now, I call them Mexican grandpa underwear because:

  1. I bought them in Mexico, and
  2. A Mexican person told me that they’re the type of underwear grandpas wear.

Left to my own inferences, I would have assumed they were male stripper underwear – The front part covers only the barest minimum, and the back covers scarcely more. By wearing them, I open myself up to all manner of mockery. And yet, I continue to wear them. Why? Because:

  1. On the not-infrequent occasions when I lack access to free or cheap laundry services, I will buy precious time before my next load of laundry by hand-washing a minimum number of shirts and pairs of underwear. Such revealing undergarments involve a lot less fabric, and are thus much quicker to wash by hand.
  2. I believe anyone who sees you in your underwear is already someone who has granted you enough confidence (and vice versa) that you have nothing to fear from their mockery.

I refer to these underwear as Mexican grandpa underwear because I first purchased them in Mexico, but I have no illusions about them being somehow specific to Mexican culture in the same way that mariachis or tequila are. I was later able to acquire a pair in Malaysia, so maybe these types of underwear are endemic to countries whose names start with M, or countries with spicy food.

One reason I value my Mexican grandpa underwear is because they so proudly display an enormous label directly above the junk area. “Here be junk!”, they may as well say, though they in fact provide free advertising for the underwear manufacturer. Mockable though it may be, it at least reduces the risk of putting your underwear on backwards, which is a serious problem that can afflict both boxers and briefs.

The experience of an accidental underwear reversal would not be nearly so vexing if many pairs did not come so agonizingly close to fitting. Unfortunately, some pairs are only capable of swinging both ways to the extent that you can semi-successfully pull them up before realizing that you are now the victim of an underwear death trap. It is a horribly restrictive feeling.

As an added layer of indignity, the mind wanders into unwanted places while being squeezed by an ass-backwards (literally!) pair. The convenient front flap becomes a back flap of questionable convenience when reversed, leaving one to contemplate the logistics of making full use of such an accommodation.

As with so many things in life, an underwear reversal is the type of situation where partial success is infinitely worse than no success at all. There may be a metaphor buried in there,  and a rather pessimistic one. And indeed, these may sound like the words of a defeatist, but if refusing to attempt to put on a pair of underwear backwards makes me a coward, then baby, I don’t want to be brave.



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