The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 4, 2012

Mike Pound: When is men’s underwear relevant?

By Mike Pound

— The New York Times recently asked an interesting question.

What the Times asked, via a reporter by the name of Eric Wilson, was this: “Are men really ready to shop for underwear the way women do?”

My first response to that question: “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”

My second response: “Wait, you’re serious?”

According to the story, men are spending more money for underwear than they have in the past

That didn’t surprise me. Men are spending more money for gasoline, so it stands to reason that our underwear might be more expensive than it was when gas was $1 a gallon.

In his story, Wilson described a new pair of men’s underwear developed by a Swedish company by the name of RevolutionWear. The underwear, which the company calls “Frigo No. 1,” comes with “a mesh pouch that is suspended from elastic straps ... Also, the waistband and leg holes are bonded to resist bunching, and laser-cut vents (are) placed along the lower back for aeration.”

My first response: “Seriously? Aeration? I’m not even sure what that means but I don’t think I want it going on in my underwear.”

My second response: “I don’t mean to generalize here but I think Swedish women are attractive.”

Sometimes, when I read the Times, I get distracted.

What do you think a pair of underwear with a mesh pouch, a bonded waistband, leg holes and laser-cut vents will set back a guy?

How does $100 sound?

You’re probably thinking, “For a package of four, right?”

If you’re thinking that you don’t know Swedish underwear. According to the story, one pair of Frigo No. 1 will set you back $100.

I’m not saying that $100 for a pair of men’s underwear is a bit much, but if I were to buy nine pairs of Frigo No. 1, I would pay as much as I did for my first car.

Granted, it wasn’t a good car, but still.

Brian Boye, who is the fashion director for the magazine Men’s Health, tried on a pair of Frigo No. 1 and said he was impressed.

“I don’t know if everybody needs $100 underwear, but for certain occasions, it can be relevant,” is what Brian said.

Look, I’m an old guy. I can’t think of any occasion where I would need my underwear to be relevant.

That’s just me.

Even if you discount the cost of Frigo No. 1, Wilson wrote that men’s underwear is getting more expensive. Last year, men’s underwear sales increased by 7 percent to $3.3 billion. And that was just the money spent by the Secret Service. Ha!

It seems that more and more companies are making fancier men’s drawers. A New Zealand company makes underwear out of Merino wool that costs around $45 per pair. Another company makes $54 briefs with “mother-of-pearl buttons.” And for $36, a company called “Naked” will sell you a pair of underwear made from a microfiber that the company says is “spun on a 40-gauge machine with distilled water from the Italian Alps.”

I think I’ll stick with my fancy French underwear from Les Fruitier des Looms.