I have, on any number of occasions, bought the Dude a pair of drawers. Because they were funny (boxers with robots on them!) or sexy (mind your own beeswax) or whatever. In doing this, I’m part of the vast majority of women who are the primary knicker-shoppers for their male intimates. According to a poll conducted by Debenhams, a UK department store, anyway.
Guys choose their own man-gerie for a relatively brief (geddit?) period of time–the college years, roughly, and Debenhams poll seems to have determined that this is driven by young men’s desire for access to even more underpants: those worn by hot chicks–and of course, the hot chicks who wear them. Once settled into a relationship with one of these hot chicks and her panties, goes the thinking, men’s foundation shopping precipitously declines.
So, underwear buying is done by Moms and Ladyfriends or Wives, not by Dudes? Color me unsurprised. Most buying is done by Moms and Ladyfriends or Wives (and Sisters, and yes, even Hot Chicks). Shopping–for groceries, for birthday cards, for unmentionables–is coded as a feminine activity. Care-taking, maintenance of daily living: ditto.
That dudes do step up the the plate in their early 20s might be a sign of peacocking (31 pairs o’ pants a year?), or may simply represent the absence of a woman willing to step into his life as Chief Brief (and other Humbling Things) Officer.
The Reuters story I first read on this spins this labor as a privilege, a stamp of Dudely approval: “If he lets you buy his underpants, you’re The One.” “Lets”? Quick survey: are any of you out there positively slavering to spend your money on scanties for a fella? Are you waiting for that all-important “Honey, I feel like we’re ready to take the next step. Would you…go to Kmart and pick up a 3-pack of Y-fronts for me?” conversation? And does this thrilling stage come before or after you have a key to his place?
And does that mean that Moms are “The One”? Someone’s Freudian slip (no doubt purchased at Debenhams) is showing.
The final quote does attempt to frame this as a socio-political issue, although not very successfully: “This is the one issue that feminism has never addressed,” [Debenhams Head of Men's Accessories Buying, Rob] Faucherand said. “It’s not who wears the pants in each household — it’s who has to buy them that counts.”
There’s feminism, falling down again, failing to solve every single problem of every single woman ever, never supplying a Grand Unification Theory of How to Make Your Life Completely Without Conflict, Difficulty, or Annoyance. And you thought the big question on this topic was “boxers or briefs.”