Life is a mysterious journey. It can be a hard, lonely trek into a meaningless, empty void. Or it can be a happy expedition to the mountaintop of fulfillment. None of us will know until we get to where it is we think we were going.
Be that as it may, we all – weary traveler or brave warrior – want to make our way through that vast wilderness assured of comfort, resilience and some ease of movement.
That’s why men of refined taste might find reassurance in the fact that the British Bulldog himself, Sir Winston Churchill, “customarily wore underwear made of pale pink silk.”
That’s according to the writer and journalist, Thomas Ricks, in his book Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom.
We believe Mr. Ricks because we simply cannot imagine Churchill wearing tighty-whities as he oversaw the successful defense of England against the Nazis. Can you?
What You Need to Know about Underwear
Would it have mattered if Churchill, he of “blood, toil, tears, and sweat,” wore tiny red briefs instead? Absolutely.
How we guarantee ourselves comfort, durability, and unhindered motion says a great deal about who we are and what sort of lives we are bound to live.
For instance, does anyone doubt that Marilyn Monroe wore spectacularly sexy underwear? Of course she did.
That’s because underwear can be both a reflection of one’s personality and a symbol of sexiness and power.
Of the latter, Lyndon Johnson – a man famous for his overbearing masculine presence – knew well to exploit to his advantage.
President Johnson famously presided over conferences while on the toilet, with his drawers arranged mightily around his ankles. That might just be the ultimate demonstration of confidence and authority in all of politics!
It’s difficult to imagine that anyone had any misgivings as to who was Commander-in-Chief at such meetings. Eat your heart out @therealdonald!
In fact, we’d bet good money that many of the president’s underlings obediently sniffed the supremacy that must have permeated the rarified air.
But returning to the question at hand…
1. Is it okay to go two days in the same undies?
Given that men like LBJ and Churchill often live lives of vigorous adventure, one wonders if they ever had time to ensure the cleanliness of their undergarments.
Experts suggest such men most likely make time for essentials like health and hygiene – at least to a point.
You’re unlikely to run into any real health issues wearing the same underpants two days in a row, says J. Scott Kasteler, MD, of Jeffersonville, Indiana. There are certain exceptions to this rule, though.
Your adventures will probably cause you some injuries from time to time: some small scratches, perhaps a few sores or rashes here and there. If that is the case, medical professionals say it’s best to put on a fresh, clean pair of underwear right away.
They also say it’s only prudent to don a fresh pair of underwear should any strenuous action cause you to break into a sweat. This is especially critical for adventurers and voyagers with vaginas. Moisture buildup in the nether regions can lead to yeast infections, after all.
2. Does fabric matter all that much, really?
In terms of fabric, you will find that the many tribulations of our existence seem a bit easier if you make a habit of wearing clean, well-fitting cotton underwear. That’s just a plain, simple, and demonstrable fact.
Comfortable cotton underwear allows for breathability and the absorption of moisture, which – again – can otherwise lead to infection, rashes, and vulvovaginitis. None of these health issues are glamorous, comfortable, or pretty. That, too, is a demonstrable fact.
That’s why underwear that ensures comfort and proper ventilation can be crucial to any politician’s public image and rhetoric.
Jimmy Carter wore a symbolic hair shirt for his horrifyingly uncomfortable “malaise in America” speech, and America felt a collective itch for something new.
Thus inspired, the American people promptly voted for the comfortably stylish Ronald Reagan, instead.
Synthetic fabric that wicks moisture is also helpful – both for politicians and for athletes. In fact, one 2015 study found that people who wore these synthetic fabrics saw improved athletic performance and comfort over wearing cotton fabrics.
3. Is it all right to wear thongs to the gym?
While we’re on the subject of athletics and exercise, health-conscious voyagers often wonder whether wearing thongs to the gym might help or hinder performance. The subject has come up again and again in numerous online articles and fora.
Science has yet to fully investigate the matter of thongs and athletic performance. For this reason, we might never know what sort of underwear the heavyweight champion, Joe Louis, wore to the ring – although we seriously doubt he wore thongs.
Some doctors have expressly warned against thongs in the gym for female travelers. Why? Thongs expose your bits to other pieces of clothing – like, say, sweaty leggings – that could trap moisture and, again, increase the odds of infection.
“Wearing a thong during exercise can bring E.coli living in the rear toward the front as you move, increasing your risk for urinary tract infection,” says Dr. Nicole E. Williams of the Gynecology Institute of Chicago.
4. Which is better, boxers or briefs?
Speaking of the legendary pugilist Joe Louis obviously provides a convenient segue for the age-old dispute between boxers and briefs.
This dispute should be of particular interest to people who have scrotums. That’s because the preeminent quarrel surrounding boxers and briefs is basically a debate over sperm production That, in turn, has bearing on a man’s ability to produce baby travelers.
Research suggests scrotal temperature is a major factor in sperm production. By that we mean that the tight underwear that keeps a virile, masculine traveler’s testicles firmly packed and toasty also accounts for low quality sperm.
That is precisely why medical experts suggest that you eschew tight-fitting underpants, saunas, and hot tubs if you’re currently in the baby-making business. Otherwise, you’re probably fine with whatever is comfortable.
5. Are you better off without underwear?
Other than boxing, few spectacles in the world of sports provide a more appropriate metaphor for life’s arduous voyage than the Tour de France. The men’s bicycle race consists of 21 day-long stages over the course of 23 days of pain, mental anguish, and physical punishment.
If you’ve ever ridden a road-bike for anything other than a boardwalk cruise at 5 mph, then you know that it’s always best to go commando. Yes, not a single rider in the Tour de France – or any other tour in professional cycling – wears underwear beneath his bicycle shorts.
There’s a reason why the chamois in cycling shorts is often made of sweat-wicking, antibacterial material.
On top of potentially bunching up or rubbing in uncomfortable places, any kind of underwear can trap sweat and bacteria on a long ride. Sweat and bacteria inside a cyclist’s tight shorts can prove problematic during a race.
Of course, going commando is likely to be advantageous for life’s everyday pedestrians, too. Wearing nothing underneath prevents uncomfortable chaffing as you walk even as it ensures good ventilation – provided your outer garments are clean and not too tight.
When you lay down to rest at night, you’ll fall asleep faster and better without underwear, too, according to research. That in itself should permit you immeasurable health benefits.
Confronting Adversity in Silky Pink Undies
Certainly, you’ll need more on your journey toward your goals than just the right underwear – but a good pair or two will most assuredly help.
The great adventure that is life can be hard for everyone – no matter what you’re station in society. Why make it even more uncomfortable and difficult by wearing ill-fitting, sweaty, dirty underwear?
Even Churchill was not so destined for greatness as the popular imagination might have you believe.
He had no university degree. His father is rumored to have been infected with syphilis and his mother was American in a British society.
Young Winston turned to journalism only to make ends meet, and yet even then he could barely manage – presumably because he drank like a fish.
He was also mocked and ridiculed relentlessly by political rivals (not necessarily for his silky pink underwear, although that could not have helped).
But he persevered. He kept a stiff upper lip and wore his sensible pink underwear with courage and grim-faced determination.
In the end, Churchill prevailed – comfortably, durably, and with an elegant ease of movement that simply never surrendered.
So, too, dear friend, can you.
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