Ask any woman, and you will have it confirmed that here are few things in the world more repulsive than straight men's underpants. Matters have improved substantially over recent years with the arrival of Calvin Klein, or if you buy your pants from market stalls, Kelvin Kline.
Men's Pants 1900 - 1970
Throughout the earlier part of the 20th century men's pants were one size (enormous) and although legend has it that they were originally white with elasticated waists and legs, any pants of this type that have been witnessed have been a uniform underwear grey, and any form of elastication had clearly withered 3-4 generations prior to sight. The British tradition of men inheriting their pants from their great-grandfather, thus setting up a kind of triple generation set of family heirlooms (tri-loom) means that any pants that still exist are at least 75 years old, and do not stand up well to non-destructive testing techniques.
Whilst this style fell into disuse in the 1970's, some were seen as late as 1993, but only in Newcastle, and not by reliable witnesses, as anyone getting that close to a Geordies1 pants, whether full or empty is, by definition, unreliable. It is believed that the ability to pull the pants up as far as your armpits gave additional warmth to the wearer, and that this explained the Geordies ability to wear cap sleeved t-shirts and no coat or jacket between November and February. Attempts by sociologists to investigate this has created what Social Scientists call the Northumbrian Triangle. Any sociologist sent to Newcastle has subsequently only ever been seen again on the Northumbrian Police missing persons list. If you (and this only applies to men) go to Newcastle and walk up to a group of cap sleeved brown ale swilling Geordies and say 'can I see your underpants' you will probably find yourself at the bottom of the Tyne quicker than you can say '?..!'.
This, however, does not apply to women. It is believed that the reason they have failed to return from the field trip is that they usually only have male sociologists for company, and even a Geordie with Big Pants pulled up to his arm pits can turn a womans head against the usual option of a muesli eating, Guardian-reading, dream-catching, sandal-wearing, bearded, vegan sociologist whose idea of a good time is The Liberal-Democrat Anal, sorry, Annual Conference.
There is another theory that the whole idea is a vicious rumour put about by Psychologists and is designed by them to reduce the number of Sociologists and get their hands on that part of the Social Science budget normally dished out to sociologists. Apparently they use our tax money to find out why people who have no money are unhappy about it. Whilst most of us will not have a problem with the disapearance of this part of the useless third of our population, we did feel obliged to investigate this theory.
All psychologists we spoke to denied any involvement.
We were, however, unable to locate any sociologists. There were no male sociologists at all, and all the female ones were on the phone to Trainline, buying one way tickets to Newcastle.
This style of nether garment also gave rise to, or more accurately, gave fall to, the bizarre side effect known as the Extraneous Big Pant Gonad, which meant that at any time 1/3 of the male genitalia existed outside the pant. This is a sight that anyone who has witnessed it will never forget as, no matter how far into the recesses of the brain this image is pushed, it can always be brought flooding back by the sight of a freshly plucked chicken. The image of an overweight balding man with eight pints of bitter inside him, walking across the bedroom towards the source of his passion whilst displaying the Extraneous Big Pant Gonad has been suggested as the reason for the decline in the UK population during the early 20th century. It also gave rise to two great mind experiments where, although you know that one third of the genitalia will always be outside the pant, you can never know which third. This became world famous, and is known to us all as Schrodingers Gonad and The Big Pant Uncertainty Principle. These theories were later applied to universally accepted laws of small particle physics. Except in Italy, where as a result of the Italian Male Ego science saw the invention of Large Particle Physics, proving that you can never remove an Italian's ego from any experimental results.
Men's Pants, 1960 - 1970
During the 1960's, the big pant was still the only option, unless one includes specialist manufacturers of Ladies Foundation Garments in men's sizes. The interesting development during this period was a gradual reduction in size of the pant from enormous to just very large, and the inclusion of and access hatch known as the Y-front. This allowed access to the genital area when bladder relief was called for utilising the 'Pull and Flick' method to release the necessary member. Unfortunately, on returning the member to it's rightful place, the pressure placed on the sub-scrotal area by the elastic usually involved the unwanted release of 2-3 ml of urine, leaving a permanent yellow stain on the front of the Y.
The ubiquitous existence of 'Izal' toilet paper in the UK at that time created an additional problem. Izal was uniquely bad at the job in hand, and particularly good at spreading the jobbie on to the hand. One side was so shiny, it simply spread the offending faeces around. This left the residual matter with a particularly shiny surface, and whilst extremely uncomfortable it did have the advantage of disproving the theory that you can't polish a turd. The obverse was so rough, that you would be more effective and comfortable using a porcupine. The result was that peculiarly British Male Icon, the Skid Mark.
On elastic deterioration, the average British Male, once undressed could present to his beloved the sight of himself in full passionate splendour complete with Extraneous Big Pant Gonad and Piss Stained Skid Marked Trolleys. Peep-toe sling back ankle length black socks completed the seduction outfit.
The population continued to decline...
Men's Pants, 1970 - 1980
This period saw the increase in foreign holidays, and the influence of Mediterranean fashions in the development of pants. However, the 'Tanga Briefs' favoured by our Italian and Spanish brethren, and as still worn by Mr Peter Stringfellow2 , were not stylish enough for the UK market, and required some modification. British style was stamped all over this foreign import, usually in the form of a witty motto or picture emblazoned across the genital bulge. Who can forget the sublime wit of a drawing of the leaning tower of Pisa, or the mottos 'A hard man is good to find' or the legendary 'Wild Beast'?
The population began to stabilise
Men's Pants 1980 - 1990
In the decade of ultimate style, the hankering of the British male to return to the free days of the Extraneous Big Pant Gonad was tempered by the innate style of the Mottoed Tanga Brief. British inventiveness being what it is took the best of each design, and created the humorous boxer shorts. With all the wit and wisdom of the tanga, and the freedom of the Big Pant, a truly British pant was created for the latter 20th century.
The population began to grow. This however was due to immigration.
Men's Pants 1990 - 2000
Gay businesses such as Hom finally moved into a market they know most about, and with it stylish underwear became virtually impossible to not buy. However, the British Heterosexual Male (BHM) has, for some reason, simply got it wrong and, whilst we now have the material, they do not possess the ability to wear them properly. Current research indicates that it is the case and is outlined here.
Population figures are not available for this period.
- Expanded Bulge Theory
This theory simply states that men believe that by buying pants that are three sizes too small their genital bulge will appear more impressive than it actually is. Whilst this theory fits well with our understanding of the male genital bulge obsession, research has shown that even BHMs are not stupid enough to believe that the resulting hairy beer belly overhang will not distract from the enhanced bulge. This becomes obvious when you examine the statistics, where it is clearly shown that in 74% of cases, the bulge was totally obscured by the overhang.
- Expanding Beer Belly Denial Theory
This theory has a more holistic approach. Men clearly believe that they do not age despite all the evidence to the contrary. Anyone who has witnessed the sad sight of a 43-year-old overweight, balding and slightly sweaty mortgage broker attempting to pull a 26-year-old dancer will know well. The theory states that men continue to buy the same size of underpants that they bought at the age of 18, regardless of their age, size or weight. This theory was generally accepted until research performed by Brooks, Metcalfe and Findlay cross-referenced underpant purchases against the age of the purchaser. The discovery that the average age that men buy their first pair of pants is 26.4 launched the 'Mum buys his pants Theory'.
- Mum Buys His Pants Theory
Most men have reached the age of 25 or 26 before they buy their first pair of pants. This does not mean that they do not wear them. Mothers stop buying their sons pants at the age of 18, at which age each man has an average of 4 pairs of pants. As most men believe that a pair of pants will last eight years, they will be 26 before they have to buy their own. At 26, they go to buy their first pair, and as they hate shopping, they simply check the size of the pair they are still wearing, which even after 8 years of fading (or 32 washes) will still say 30-32. This is then what they buy, oblivious to the fact that the 23,360 pints of lager and the 2,920 Chicken Vindaloos consumed in the intervening years may have had some impact on their waistline.
If you don't want a woman to laugh at you in your pants, go pant shopping with a gay man. He will keep you straight.