Tuesday, September 01, 2009


I heard a little tidbit on the economy this morning which made me laugh...and remember.

Apparently, sales on men's underwear are up. Now, I don't believe this means men have suddenly decided to upgrade their decrepit, torn and stretched underwear, on purely whimsy...and neither does Alan Greenspan.

Over the years, tracking men's underwear stocks have shown, during bad financial periods, men don't renew their underwear...at all. Not even one lonely pair. Apparently, the usual flat line of underwear sales even begins to dip.

But as soon as a recession begins to wane, men's underwear sales suddenly spike up from the aforementioned flat line. The deduction?  Financial matters are on the upswing.

I don't believe for one minute it is actually the man doing the buying.  Rather, it would be his significant other.

Every man I have known forms an inordinate attachment to his old undies. Replacing them (on their own), recession or no recession, would require extreme intestinal fortitude...

But I don't believe it is only men's underwear, which women are buying, that should show an upswing...recently I felt flush enough to try and replace my old pair of undies. 

There again.  I also feel an inordinate attachment to one pair of underwear which I've had since the beginning of time. Certainly they have been with me through two marriages and a committed relationship.

At times, they have been very large, other times they're snug, and then there are the special occasions when they fit just right.  The material has worn thin, the cotton which covers the elastic has eroded...yet I am still comforted when I find them, clean and folded, in my underwear drawer.

According to Greenspan, it should be bras I am buying, since bra sales go up, when money is more readily available.  But it is not bras I seek. Rather, when I go underwear shopping, it is a quest to find another pair just like my old pair.  

And perhaps men are wiser than I. In this case, at least. Perhaps they already know replacing the old is more difficult than I think. It is a quest which undoubtedly will end in failure.

And so, they hand the chore over to their other.

In a rather convoluted way, my conclusion is not that of the financial experts, which says men put their underwear last on the list of expectations they feel they must fulfil first.

I think men feel similar to the way I feel, about my old pair. We've been through a lot together, those old panties and I. They are thin, the tag has long since faded, but they have comforted me through many crises.

The World feels better when I wear them.

I believe this strange attachment...and I know it is a little odd...has its roots in our two-year-old need to have a favourite blankie or toy near.  Recently, I read those sometimes decrepit blankies are objects of trust by these toddlers. In case Mom or Dad leaves, the child still has an essence of his parents, which he's transferred to the blanket he so loves and trusts for comfort.

Some children don't require loved objects to give them comfort. As adults, then, perhaps they are the ones replacing and buying new underwear, since attachment to something is not their way.

And how did I get on this subject?

Perhaps the chuckle I received when I heard the economy could be on the rise since men's underwear sales have gone up lead me to a strange muse this morning...


  1. You assume that it is mostly women who buy men's underwear, and maybe you are right, but then maybe you are wrong. I not only buy my underwea; I buy Peggy's underwear. Ideally, I buy them off the Internet. That way, women clerks and customers don't look at me strangely--as if they think I am buying women's underwear for myself. Of course, I try to look masculine to counter such thoughts, but I can't help but think my efforts are unsuccessful.

  2. I don't have any old under pants, but I have mended and re-elasticed old bras because the makers have discontinued the ones I love. I'm thinking about a class action suit.

  3. An economic theory based on sales of underwear is probably as reliable as any other economic theory around . . . !
    Just called in to say hello. I'm a new neighbour on Blogland Lane - author in residence at number 101 - in residence when I'm not travelling around the country promoting my book.

  4. Well, here we are in the middle of a huge rise in chocolate sales - since we've only just hit the recession - will be interesting to see how mens undies to as we start to emerge from it! ;-)

  5. Snowbrush,

    I tried hard to not use either gender when I wrote this; yet I find I did it anyway. Of course, househusbands have the same inclinations as a housewife, that of replacing or renewing the old.

    When I buy men's underwear, I have never been looked at strangely; it seems there is still a double standard here. I have a vision of you in a delicate lingerie shop...you have my deepest sympathies (say I, as I am rolling about with laughter!)

    Shopping on the Internet would no doubt give you better deals over a wider area. Before I buy any women's underwear, I make sure to take out a second mortgage...


    I'll join you in that suit! I think my underpants and your bra might have been made by the same maker. They shouldn't do that...make a brand and then drop it. How on Earth can those of us with attachment issues to a piece of material carry on, constantly fixing and washing with extreme care this item of clothing we so love? Let's get 'em!


    Welcome! I'm at Lot 268. Come and visit anytime for some more pie...we'll have you strong and fit in order to face more of that travelling.

    You're right...underwear is as good as anything in predicting an end to a recession.


    Chocolate WOULD be huge at the beginning...I haven't checked, but I can imagine it sold big here. Very dark chocolate can make me forget anything!

    Keep an eye out for a rush on men's underwear in South Africa...you can be assured the recession will be on the run!

    By the way, congratulations on completing your rewrite!

  6. Yes the old things that bring comfort always bring comfort. That ratty pair of briefs that always feels right is like that old friend that is always there when need someone. You cannot part with something that brings that feeling of security to you.
    I too chuckled to think that you can measure the health of the economy by the sales of men's underdrawers. Thank you for putting one million dollar smile on my face.
    No where are those BVD'S?

  7. Hello Marion,

    Your writing about "unmentionables" is good theraphy, recession or no recession. There is something soul-cleansing about letting your underwear secrets out of the dresser drawer into the open...lol

  8. Enjoyed the read. Calling over to say Hi after a long time.

  9. I just loved this. Needed a lift. I wear mine to death and then I shop. On the other hand, my DH buys his all by himself. Dingy is not good as far as he is concern.

  10. I am laughing at this post because I recently felt a bit flush and went out and bought new underwear. Who knew???

  11. Dave,

    Unfortunately, I can only wear this piece of underwear for occasions when I REALLY require comfort, now. They're too worn. There are friends like that, as well...the ones I go to when I REALLY require comfort! They're the ones who have known me and all my idiosyncrasies the longest! And I'm positive sometimes they feel worn...


    The funniest thing! After I wrote this post, I saw something on TV about cleaning out underwear drawers being good for the Soul. Perhaps I'll have to actually throw those old underpants OUT! Wow.


    The Artist! How wonderful to see you again...it's been much too long! I see you have posted your paintings on this new blog. I so enjoyed your musings on your paintings!


    Wow...a husband who buys his own, without cajoling by his wife! (Note I said cajoling and not nagging...I rarely nag, only cajole,lol)

    I always wear good underwear when I go out in case of an accident (my mother's teachings), so I must have some in good shape. I imagine, when I die, perhaps I'll be dressed in those old underpants.

    I'd better put them away, now, though, if I want them on my dead body.


    Nothing like contributing to the economy, my friend...I recently plunked down a goodly sum on two or three pair myself! That's it for me, though, the economy will just have to rise by others buying new underwear!

  12. I needed a laugh today, Marion. Thanks for providing it. I don't think I'll ever look at my underwear drawer in quite the same way again :)

  13. Carmi,

    Isn't it amazing to discover that the lowly pair of underpants has such power?

  14. Reminds me I must budget and look at getting new myself. Bought a whole lot of underwear when I retired but didn't allow for weight gain from not being so active and giving up smoking so I get cut in half by elastic.

    By the way a long time ago we discussed DEET and mosquitoes. Appears it damages brain cells according to current naturalnews.com article (lots of very interesting info there on many health and enviro subjects).

  15. Well, what a great topic! I am guilty of wearing undies until they fall apart. My sons are too. Interesting theory about why.

  16. Jackie,

    When I buy new underwear, I always buy oversize ones. The reason being that women's cotton underwear shrinks after one wash...and I know what being cut in half by elastic feels like, so I sympathize with you. If I bought more expensive ones, perhaps they wouldn't shrink...and then I think about how angry I would be at spending more and then shrinkage occurred anyway.

    I read the article on Deet. I've always been able to put up with mosquitoes before I moved to the Cariboo without repellent...yet here I cover myself with it. The mosquitoes are very numerous and large here...and hungry! I've found if I slather myself with lavender, it works for awhile...after reading the article, I will try the cinnamon oil, even if it hasn't been tried on humans. It's got to be better than Deet. Wearing long sleeves and pants doesn't work here...those mozzies bite right through the material!

    Thanks for the info, Jackie!


    Well, there you go...sons follow their mother's lead every time. I'm reading a book about underwear and according to the author, wearing NEW underwear makes one feel refreshed and new within and without themselves.

    Guess I should try it.

  17. too chuckled at the same article. Even more so because my husband just bought new underwear. I don't think it was because of the economic upturn (if that is what you can call it-things still feel a bit tight over here on the coast). Not only did he buy new underwear, but he changed his style of underwear. No more white jockey shorts, now it's colourful boxer shorts. If I was the suspicious kind, I might think he was showing them off elsewhere, but since we are together almost all of the time at our remote cabin up the lake, I don't think that is it. I believe it is an outward symbol of his inner change. Since moving away from the city to a small town and an even smaller floating cabin on Powell Lake, his attitudes have become looser and more relaxed, so why not his underwear. - Margy

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