I was reading an expose about one of those ubiquitous, "no they're not, they're totally straight" boy bands that bloomed like so much aural algae in the 1990s, and I have to say I was at first shocked, then skeptical. (Or sceptical. I don't know exactly which one I was. The one that goes with "neighbour" and "theatre".)
In the article, the writer talked about how the members of the band would have an assistant go out every day and get them new underwear, new toothbrushes, endless supplies of liquor and drugs and, of course, adoring young female fans to decorate their sumptuous hotel suites. Which, by the time they left, were something less than sumptuous as these self-styled “bad boys” would trash everything in sight, leaving behind empty bottles, stacks of half-eaten pizzas, barnyard animals, overturned golf carts ... you know, all the usual stuff.
As I read this, I thought: “No way. I can buy the barnyard animals and the golf carts, but throwing out underwear? Men do not throw out underwear.”
It’s actually one of the key differences between the sexes. Men never throw out underwear, and women do.
(It occurs to me that this is a sweeping generalization, and there are probably people who can show me lots of instances where men have thrown out underwear. To those people, I say :”Please don’t. Please go get counselling. Seriously. You need help determining which battles in this life are worth winning. This isn’t one of them. Let it go. Oh, and throw out your underwear.”)
So, yes, it may be a broad, sweeping, unfair generalization, but that’s really only because it’s universally true. Throwing out underwear is an exclusively female behaviour
Don’t believe me? Ask any married woman. She will tell you that she not only throws out her own underwear when it falls into disrepair, she will throw out her husband’s. She does this because she knows he would jettison his remote control, dump his last beer, and discard several of his less favoured children before she could persuade him to part with a 14-year-old pair of Jockeys worn so thin you could read through them (not that I am suggesting anyone try that).
Ask any man why he doesn’t throw out underwear, and he’ll tell you it’s for “insurance purposes”.
When he says that, he’s not referring to potential bio-hazards (although ...).
What he means is, there may come a day when he will wake up in the morning to find every available pair of shorts is in the hamper, all ready for the big Underpants Party in the washing machine. Of course, being an idiot man, he will not have anticipated this moment and, say, done the laundry a day early.
Nope. When that fateful day comes, and every pair of briefs, boxers, bikinis, and even that thong she bought him (for that getaway weekend without the kids.) (He wore it for about as long as she wore the French Maid costume.) is out of commission, he will find himself down to one of two options:
(a) Dump the hamper out and play the “I guess these aren’t as bad as the rest” game; or
(b) Ride bareback.
Leaving aside (a), (because surely nobody on earth has ever done that), we can briefly (ha!) consider (b). In my admittedly limited experience in these matters, I will say that riding bareback in sartorial terms is much like riding bareback in equestrian terms: some people can, and some can’t. Those who can ride bareback choose to do it all the time, and for those who can’t, there is much chafing and soreness and danger to areas in which you are very sensitive.
So we’re left with - oh, yuck - (a) ...
... unless (!!!) ...
That’s right, unless this brilliant man has had the wisdom and foresight to endure his wife’s contempt and not follow her orders to throw out a perfectly good pair of underpants just because the elastic is shot and there is a hole worn through one of the butt cheeks. Well, both cheeks, but one of them is hardly noticeable.
With a flourish born of the exhilaration in being proved right for once in his miserable life, he will triumphantly produce this ragged, threadbare undergarment and carefully don it, hoping not to sever the one remaining molecule of thread that holds the thing together and trigger a chain reaction that will cause the entire underpants system to disintegrate into a small pile of almost-but-not-quite-white dust.
He will then happily parade in front of his wife, crowing, all “See? See? Didn’t I tell you?”, and will pull on his clothes and stride proudly out into the world, knowing that the rest of society is oblivious to the fact that his underwear is just a teensy bit ragged.
And what’s best about this is that he was finally, irrevokably, proved right in saving this favourite pair of underpants and how nice it is that they still fit perfectly and how silly his wife was for thinking he should --
... and then, just as his mother predicted, he will be hit by a bus.