Friday, August 03, 2007


There are, I have found in life, many advantages to being a guy.

Chief among them is man's innate ability to somehow NOT care about fashion. (Unless, of course, aforementioned fashion is attached to a leggy supermodel. Then I might perk up a bit.) A lot of times here at work, my break coincides with a pack of co-workers I like to call the "girl gaggle." And quite often, due to promixity alone, I get to eavesdrop on their conversations. A lot of them go something like this:

"Shoes purses mall money. Prada leather Paris handbag?"
"Necklace! Mall blouse stylist fabulous!"
"Trendy. Shopping bargain, hairdo Chanel, discount Abercrombie!"

Or something like that. Maybe there were some verbs in there somewhere, too, I forget. Point is, to us guys, it's a totally foreign language. How shopping requires planning and forethought, let alone conversation, is beyond me. When I need something, I run out and get it, usually as quickly and affordably as possible. I mean, I'm not so clueless as to just pull whatever off the racks, but I'm certainly not walking needless miles through mall corridors in search of the perfect fashion statement.

This week, though, I was on a mission. A mission, in fact, inspired by my mother. My mom's sagely advice to me upon leaving home always included this gem: "Make sure you don't have holes in your underwear! What if you were in a car wreck and they took you to the ER and had to cut your clothes off?!"

Yes, never mind the fact that there might be a steering wheel sticking out of my spleen, surely the doctors and nurses would allow me to perish in favor of gathering around to mock and point at my worn britches. Still, advice is advice, and when I took my laundry out of the hamper last week and saw a couple of those dreaded holes, it was time for action.

That explains why I found myself inside the mall store that fittingly rhymes with "Bonkers" last week, perusing a wall of skivvies while desperately attempting to remember my waist size. That was when I saw them. A product that had never registered on my radar: designer undies for men. Calvin Klein, in fact.

"Ooh," said my brain, "I'll look just like Marky Mark." I mean, each pair was individually boxed, so they MUST be something special, right? So on a lark, in addition to the pack of cheap ones I found, I brought home one pair of Calvin Klein briefs.

I threw everything into the wash and tried them on the very next morning. For the amount of money they cost, I was expecting to feel like my southern hemisphere was being hugged by an angel. No dice - they felt like any ol' pair of britches. Still, I walked around that day like a king. I might be your run-of-the-mill nerd, but little did everyone know that underneath, I was, quite literally, Mr. Fancy-Pants.

Until that afternoon. It was a busy day at work and I had been running all over the office when I felt the, err, call of nature, shall we say. I had a spare second, so I ducked into the restroom. Now, another advantage to being a guy is that we can accomplish this task from the standing position, so I sidled on up to do my business... but... umm...

"What the...?" I said under my breath. Something was wrong. Something was really wrong. That's when it dawned on me -- my new undies were of the NON-fly variety. Now call me sheltered or stupid if you'd like, but in 36 years of living, I had somehow managed to never run into this problem before. I was in a rush and had no time to dally about with my dilemma, so I did what comes naturally: I giggled, backed away, and walked away like a fool, mission most definitely unaccomplished.

This wouldn't be particularly noteworthy were it not for the fact that said restroom was teeming with co-workers at that moment. Co-workers who just watched me walk in, examine my nether-region, say "What the...?", GIGGLE, and leave. This is decidedly NOT the way to make a good impression at work, unless your place of employment is perhaps Neverland Ranch.

The moral of the story is simple: For the amount of money I paid for these fancy duds, the very least I expected was, oh, FUNCTIONALITY. Even though I despise supporting them for their inane TV ads alone, a cheap pair of Fruit of the Looms would never cause me technical difficulties in a moment of need.

You girls out there can have your high fashion -- I'm done with it. There will be no Parisian catwalks in THIS nerd's future. Still, I can now appreciate better the sacrifice those of you obsessed with pret-a-porter make for those of us whose job is to sit in the waiting chairs at boutiques and go, "That one looks nice, too, honey."

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