Thursday, November 29, 2012

Outwards and upwards

Dan Carter in his undergrunds

What a pleasure to read Douglas Lloyd Jenkins in this week's Listener on the subject of men's underpants. Wipe that smirk off your face - what I mean is that the piece is informative, well-written and entertaining, taking this everyday item of male attire as a worthy subject for investigation.
I've written of blokes' underpants before, noting the arrival on the scene of the bulge- and bum-enhancing items retailed by Marks & Spencer. But Jenkins ranges over centuries in his discussion of changing jock fashions. One particular juicy note is struck by his observation that, had historical TV drama costume designers really paid attention to detail, the viewer would have been left in no doubt how Mr Darcy's parents felt about  circumcision, so tight would his pants have been. Gosh. 
One delight is the number of elegant variations on male genitals that Jenkins comes up with - "male package", "key assets", "this body part", "male parts", "problematically positioned elements", "personal equipment", "bulge", "male componentry".
He points out, near the end of the article, that Kiwi men worry not so much about wearing "enhancing underwear" but about its removal: "particularly in amorous first-encounter circumstances - given that this is a moment with which men don't, in any way, want the term "disappointment" associated."
I laughed out loud, not just at the skill with which Jenkins expressed his point, but in recognition of the fact that - as a small-breasted woman - I have for the same reason always been nervous of enhancement by means of foam, wire and jel. Sooner or later, the truth will out.  

Unknown model displays a marvel
of engineering


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