Friday, September 14, 2007

What's he wearing under there?

Oh, how I hate writing about men's underwear.

See, here's my problem. I'm just plain wierd.

For some reason, although I know men in the real world wear underwear, and although I don't find anything about men's underwear intrinsically unsexy, I have such a hard time including men's underwear in sex scenes. Or even regular scenes. So I often write heroes who don't wear any.

But that's kind of gross, isn't it? I mean, if you think about it, not only would a man with no underwear be risking all sorts of zipper injuries, but all sorts of, um, fluids and such would get all over his pants.

This is the same reason I rarely write women who don't wear undies. C'mon. We've all seen the trainwreck that is Britney and her love of ungracefully exiting from various automobiles, thus flashing us her stubbly ladyparts. Am I the only one who looks at that and thinks, not only is it just tacky, but...eeew! Her dresses must need some serious cleaning after every wearing.

(Yes, I realize this is a disgusting post. But you know what? I'm just this brave, to tackle the unpleasant little topics.)

The problem with men's underwear is that it's only sexy if it's somewhat prim. A man who wears little tiny undies just seems like kind of an egotistical jerk, really. But neither is it especially appealing in a sex scene to have to talk about lifting the undies up so that, um, they won't catch on anything when they're tugged down. Removing ladies' panties is simple, they slide right off (or are torn off, which is always nice in a book when it's not your own panties, probably expensive and specially purchased, which have inflamed the man to such a point that he needs to destroy them. Sexy in real life, too, believe me, but not as much fun after when you're thinking, "My favorite panties!" or "That's forty bucks down the drain.")

And there are so many lovely ways to describe ladies' panties. (I love the phrase "ladies' panties".) They're scraps of silk and lace, or just plain silky or lacy, or even triangles of silk, or sweetly cotton if you happen to be writing a heroine who likes more basic undies--but cotton panties don't tear easily, be warned. I had a few velvet pairs once, which was fun, and would be fun to write about. Women's panties slide under a man's fingers.

Men's? I dare you to think of a sexy phrase to describe men's underwear. They're utiliatarian. At least, they'd better be, because what kind of manly hero wears silky panties? Even silk boxers feel a little twee for a fully grown man, like he's hiding not only those (under his clothing, see) but some sort of nanny fantasy as well. Men's underwear is cotton. It has a thick elastic waistband. Thick elastic on pretty much anything just isn't sexy. It is not sexy to write about pulling away a thick elastic waistband.

But really, men should wear underwear. Their bits dangle. They need support. And nobody wants to see exact outlines against the fabric when a man sits down. That's just creepy. Not to mention those pesky fluids. And those treacherous zippers.

So what do you guys think?


Anne Douglas said...

Google Aussie Bum. It will give you a WHOLE new appreciation for men's underwear.

Unfortunately, Hubby is a fan of what I term his "flabby whities", there ain't nothing attractive about tighty whities that aren't tight.

I'm tempted to drop a few hundred bucks at Aussie bum, burn everything in his undie drawer and replace them all with underwear pleasing to the eye. I mean if he expects me to wear the good stuff, should I not expect the same as him?

kirsten imma saell said...

I've never found anything sexy about briefs (tight or flabby) on men, or even boxer-briefs. Really, for me, the only way to go is cotton boxers. Sure, they don't give a lot of support, but he can just have a scrotum lift when he's 60, dang it. I just don't find anything inherently beautiful about a flaccid penis, so I don't need the lumpy little bundle distinctly outlined for me all the time. Like cottage cheese thighs, these parts could just use a bit of obscuring.

Silk is a bit much(cough, cough, pussy, cough). But I do find a sense of humor appealing in a man, so if he could find some cotton boxers with ponies on them or something, that's awesome.

In my writing, there's no such thing as elastic, so it's all down to the drawstring. It's kind of sexy, too, cause the man can undo it slowly without seeming like a total pansy. It also gives him somthing to frantically fumble with because his hands are shaking, he wants her THAT BAD. A drawstring could probably work these days, as well. Maybe I ought to email Calvin Klein?

Charles Gramlich said...

I was gonna go have lunch but I'm rethinking that decision after reading this post and thinking about it. I always wear underwear when I leave the house, perhaps primarily for fear of zippers. Much of the time I wear boxers.

Heather Wardell said...

Your mention of lifting the undies up so they don't catch on anything brought back a seriously vivid and enjoyable memory, so thanks for that. :)

I think even the utilitarian men's underwear is sexy because it's so different from women's. And I agree that it needs to be different. Not enough different, a little too... delicate... for my liking.

Commando just seems wrong. So much laundry!

BernardL said...

How about 'Parts Package'. :)

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, I never notice these things in a book. I've been wearing simple white cotton thingies (the ones you can wash at 95°C) one size too large all my life, because I don't want to feel I'm wearing something.

I'm way too practical to be romantic. :)

Robyn said...

Only you, DQ. Only you.

But think for a moment of the comic possibilities. A somewhat painful snap of the thick elastic could be a good way to do the inevitable interruption of the first OMGthey'regonnadoit.

Angie said...

[snicker] Well, yeah, I'm with Ann on tighty whities just not being sexy, especially if they're saggy instead of tighty. :P I find boxers to be utilitarian enough not to call the guy's self-absorption into question, while not reminding me of my dad. [shudder]

You can always have the guy's partner undo his fly and then express physical appreciation of the equipment through "the thin cotton of his underwear" or however you want to describe it, and leave it to the reader to imagine whatever they find sexy, or at least the least not-sexy. :)

About removal, you can have a guy shove his underwear down when he pushes his trousers down; all it takes is a couple of hooked thumbs. There you go -- both layers disposed of in one action, get on to the good part.

And going commando can come across as very sexy, but only if the reader doesn't overthink it. [tickle] I'd never want to go without underwear myself (and never ever in a less-than-ankle-length skirt, ick!) but it can work for a certain class of rough-n-tough guys. The pacing and intensity of the early sex scene can help scoot the reader past before they have time to contemplate laundry details. [grin]


Anonymous said...

LMAO I like jockey's. You know, like boxers only tighter. But the hubs like boxers. I don't complain. I get him funny ones, like ones that say "With boxers like these who needs pants" or with cartoon characters or flames or what not on them. Plus, it's funny when it's just starting to er, get aroused it's like a peekaboo game LMAO

Anonymous said...

OMG am I ever glad I write historicals.

Mark said...

So...wait. Are you saying that there's nothing sexy about a saggy threadbare pair of white cotton man-panties? At least with Jockeys a woman has some guidance, just follow the skidmarks to the taint, easy peasy.

Or..have I gone too far?

Gabriele C. said...

Lol Seeley, the Romans usually didn't wear anything under. :)

December/Stacia said...

Hi Anne! Thanks for the comment!
Loosey whities, ugh. I'd do it. Just throw them away and give him new ones. Yes, if he's going to expect you to wear the good stuff you have every right to demand the same in return!

Lol kis! *cough cough pussy cough* is exactly right. They're almost as bad as sock garters.
I do like cotton boxers, but to me they feel young. Like hot young men, not older sophisticated men. I guess because I know from experience how they tend to bunch (I used to wear them myself), and rich men wear soft fabrics so the bunch would show underneath their suits.
Yes, email CK, because drawstrings=sexy. Absolutely.

Sorry, Charles! I didn't mean to put you off your food!
Yes, my hubs experimented with underwearlessness some years back, but wore buttonflys at the time. He says he's afraid of zippers too.

Hi there Heather! Thanks for the comment! And I'm glad I brought back a good memory.
I guess it's not so much that I find men's underwear unsexy, as it is it's hard for me to write it sexy. My own failing. :-)

December/Stacia said...

Lol Bernard! Pithy. Very pithy.

I don't think it's unromantic, Gabriele. You don't like wearing underwear, but you know you should. It's a combo of unbridled sexy and practical.

Yes, Robyn, only me indeed. :-)
That is funny. I don't have a talent for slapstick, but if I did I would use that!

Exactly, Angie. Commando sounds really sexy until you start thinking about it. Sigh. I'll have to figure something out. It just feels to wierd to have my hero putting pants on over his naked bits.

Hee, Michele, I remember that peekaboo game! The hubs wears those boxer brief Jockeys but the exes all were boxer men.

Lol Seeley, it's so much easier with those, isn't it?

December/Stacia said...

Sorry, Mark. That is exactly what I'm saying. But as has been discussed on this blog before, skid marks are just oh so hot.

You know, Gabriele and Seeley, I got so annoyed once at a historical, supposedly medieval, where the hero got all excited the heroine didn't wear any underwear under her gown and chemise. I was like, uh...women didn't wear anything under their gowns then. That's pretty basic research.

Scary Monster said...

Although Me daily preferences in underwear are determined by me sartorial choices and planned activities there is almost always a utilitarian aspect in detemining which particular style me wears.

Even going commando can be fun. Me can't understand the problem about zippers. although most men will joke about it, no guy is ever so distracted; unless he's drunk or in a rush because the husband walked in, that he would allow the jagged teeth ofthe crotch window to come anywhere near the trouser trout.

From a literary stand point you could always go in the opposite direction. A mans underwear could be the last piece of armour that the woman must pierce to get to his, ah, heart. You can make them as formidable as the character themselves and thereby making the woman's conquest as great as the man's.

Then again Me ain't a writer and this might sound like a dubious excersize in futility.


writtenwyrdd said...

I've actually known several guys who go commando. And when I write sex scenes, briefs get a (you guessed it) brief mention if at all. I don't think they are sexy on the page, either.

But now I have to go and think about it, because this is an important point. :(

December/Stacia said...

SM, I was actually more worried about the zipper rubbing up against him while he walks, or digging into him when he sits, rather than just getting himself caught in it while zipping.

So you wear different underwear for different outfits? Do tell.

Right, kis. I tend to write commando men because I can't think of a sexy way to intro his undies, but I confess when I read commando men in books and think about it, my first instinct is usually "Yuck".

Now I'm just avoiding the topic but it still makes me wonder.

Bernita said...

And I can't help thinking what would happen if she loses her grip on that elastic waistband part way down...

Kate Thornton said...

And some of those elastic waistbands are scary elastic, with the slingshot power of catapults.

Boxers give a girl a grip, anyway, and some nice soft flowy fabric, usually in a print or that delicious oxford-banker-blue, such a pleasure to touch...

December/Stacia said...

Ouch, Bernita! That would kill a mood, wouldn't it?

Yes, Kate, they certainly are, aren't they? They could hold up a full-grown man, just like in those old Krazy Glue ads.

I like plaid boxers.