A Whole Lot of Underwear

What is the genesis of underwear? When did this start? Sure, if you happen to be wearing a suit of armor, I understand the need of a layer of clothing to protect the skin from chaffing. But besides the knight, who needed it? And why is it considered a mandatory article of clothing today?

I’ve been having a little trouble sleeping lately and it is amazing the questions plague the mind at 2 am. Fortunately, I haven’t hit the Home Shopping Channel phase where mystery packages begin showing up at the door, but the history of my internet browser weaves a strange and remarkable story. While I can’t tell you when or why underwear came about, I can brief you as to why I got on a kick about it.

My credit card got stolen.

It’s happened to us all. Random charges appear on the bill or we get a phone call from the issuer. The last time it happened to me the trail was obvious – gas a mile from where it was stolen, a few biscuits at the drive-through window next door, and then a major charge attempt two miles north at Home Depot – who denied it. The thief made it about three miles testing the card before it became worthless.

In this case, the card got stolen digitally and I am guessing they didn’t have the super-secret three-digit code on the back. Rather than test the card with some minor purchases, this guy went for broke with a charge of $434.42 at Hanes.com. And after I dealt with customer service, I chuckled and wondered what that kind of purchase would be.


I perused Hanes.com and it turns out that crook must have needed an entire undergarment makeover because you can get a whole lot of underwear for $434.42!

But then, since it is 2 am, the mind drifts into wondering all kinds of things about $434.42 worth of underwear. What would the shipping cost? Would that be assorted colors? What that might have gotten you 100 years ago?

So you find underwear advertisements throughout time like this:


Or this (my wife is looking into BVD’s if they will improve my dance style)


And what the heck are they selling here?


You could even have helped the Army out and gotten 789 surplus drawers!


Oh, the 70’s were such a confusing time.



I didn’t prove anything, but got sleepy and went to bed. As I lay there, part of me felt sorry for the crook with the empty drawers drawer while mine is full. Tomorrow he would have to wake up and put on stretched out, saggy drawers that in no way would help him dance, wrestle, or pose jauntily. Poor dude.

But I know myself. And I know that I would give a fellow human in need the drawers off my backside. So I stopped feeling bad for him. Maybe if he asked, or better yet got a job instead of stealing my credit card, he too, could enjoy the freedom of a fresh, clean pair of drawers.




There was a brief window of time when I considered myself stylish. I tried to match up to the men on TV although I could never muster that perfect quaff of hair. No matter how much product promising ultimate waves I used, my hair just lay there disappointingly flat. But clothes – well, I can buy clothes.

Somewhere along the line though, one’s cheapness intersects with the price of the fashion icon he is trying to emulate. When I was young and carefree my intersection point had a higher limit. Then I got married, had children, and was forced to adopt a budget. Even at my highest level, I never had a Ralph Lauren goal. He is too far up the scale. I aspired to reach that Samuel L. Jackson “look good in anything” vibe but settled in somewhere around Jerry Lewis.

Now I flat out don’t care. If I like it and the price is right, I buy it. I don’t believe in recreational shopping. I have to need something before I shop. Seven work shirts worn in the proper order are enough because no one remembers what you wore a week and a half ago. My eye for matching clothes died along with my hearing.

I also think my love of tie-dye lead to the demise of my ability to tell what goes with what. At some point, that random mix of colors flows off the shirts and into every fashion decision. Now tie-dye is more of a style philosophy than just a hippie shirt I own. I have become style-ish instead of stylish.

My oldest daughter gave me sage fashion advice before she left for school:

Dad, if you think it is a good idea, then don’t.

Read More