My #1stWorldProblem: The Frustrating Search for Perfect Men’s Underwear

m&s underwearThis is The Monday Line
by Denis G. Campbell

Marks and Spencer, you have vexed me. I know of nowhere else to take my frustration!

When one moves overseas, you must adjust to new clothing suppliers. I arrived in the UK a dozen years ago and everyone asked where to find good undershorts said, without exception, M&S carried the best men’s underwear in the world. I must admit, I scoffed derisively… until I tried them. For our readers outside the UK, M&S is your grandparents’ High Street store. Like Filene’s or Jordan Marsh when we were growing up. They were anything but trendy.

The problem? They were right. The high end M&S Autograph microfiber line did everything you could expect of a pair of underpants and more. That is until… some genius in your product design and development group decided to mess with well enough.

Suddenly the high-end Autograph line was co-opted by some unknown model guy with six pack abs. The line was sent into a tailspin as my beloved microfibre half boxers were gone… forever.

The good floor ladies in your store did their best, even looking online to help me. Had I known the end was near, I would have purchased £400 pounds worth and stockpiled them like so many canned goods for the coming nuclear winter!

So what to do?

Well, I tried the Fruit of the Loom guys. They had done reasonably well with inferior fabric but a great waist in the past. They failed. DKNY and fcuk were up next. Also failures. No one had your exquisite elastic waist and cool microfiber feel. And let me tell you M&S, my ‘boys’ only get the best!

The problem is exacerbated because the men in my family tree are derriere deficient. We are a straight line from the shoulders to the heels. We wear a fat wallet and three handkerchiefs in the other pocket to simulate buttocks. So a good waistband is ESSENTIAL internal equipment! Otherwise we spend a lot of time in the men’s room ‘adjusting’ and if that is TMI (too much information) then so be it.

I am, to borrow from the classic film ‘Network’ ready to go over to my window, fling it open and scream, “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!” That no one can manufacture a pair of men’s half boxer briefs that will both stay in place and provide a good fit (and please use real, less endowed men in your adverts). We already are reminded on billboards, newspapers and our partners, do we really need you to remind us of our ‘deficiencies’ when purchasing this essential piece of clothing kit? I think not.

tommy johnFor about six years I have listened to the American Dan Patrick Radio Show sport podcast. They along with others began to advertise a new brand of men’s underwear called ‘Tommy John.’ So I took the plunge and spent £60 pounds on four pair of underwear pants, 50% more than M&S (even with discounts and shipping). A month ago, they arrived here in the UK in a very fancy FedEx Tommy John box.

At first I was impressed with the feel of the fabric. But alas, one month and about 8 washings in, the elastic is already creating ‘slippage’ despite their lifetime and total satisfaction guarantee/claims.

So if the supposed new ‘best in the business’ cannot even last a month, where am I to turn? It seems no one can compete with that solid M&S Autograph high-end line. They were £20 for a pair… but they lasted forever.

Now? I am reduced to being a grumpy, frustrated editor who regularly has to pull his pants up because they keep slipping. Thank you for listening.

Hey! You kids! Get off my lawn!

Denis G Campbell View more

Denis G Campbell
Denis G. Campbell is founder and editor of UK Progressive magazine and co-host of The Three Muckrakers podcast. He is the author of 7 books and provides Americas, EU and Middle Eastern commentary to the BBC, itv, Al Jazeera English, CNN, CRI, MSNBC and others. He is CEO of Monknash Media and a principal with B2E Consulting in London. You can follow him on Twitter @UKProgressive and on Facebook.

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