Saturday, July 31, 2010

Awkwardness in the Underwear Aisle

School is about to begin again. This will be my last semester until graduation, which means I’ll be student teaching. I’m nervous about this, but ready for it to begin. I think I’m more anxious than anything for it to just be over with, that way I can finally get hired somewhere and begin a new chapter of my life. It’s what I’ve been working toward for the last two years now.

Anyway, the other day I went to the store to pick up some things I knew I’d be needing for school; mostly new clothes, since I didn’t have enough formal attire for teaching that would satisfy being in a school five days a week (khaki pants and dress shirts). Like most people, I wear underwear, and that being the case, I knew it wouldn’t hurt to pick up a few new pairs while I was at it. So, I found myself walking down the underwear aisle. You might imagine that this is an aisle frequented mostly by men, but you’d be wrong in assuming that. It never fails that whenever I go to pick out underwear the aisle has at least one or two women standing around—no doubt shopping for their husbands—and I usually turn out to be the only guy around. Now, I don’t know if women find it awkward for men to be in the ladies underwear aisles (for whatever reason they would be), but I’ll admit I find it quite awkward to be choosing, and thereby announcing, what sort of underwear I wear in front of women. It almost, in a weird sort of way, just makes me feel naked in front of them, as if all of a sudden I’m stripped right down to my underwear. Because of this, I try to avoid going down the men’s underwear aisle until it is in the clear (though this is nearly impossible, because for every women that leaves, another seems to always show up, which just makes me end up wanting to scream for all of them to get out of the place—though I never actually have).

Not only do I find it awkward picking out underwear with women staring over my shoulder, but being of the sexual persuasion I am, I admit it seems a bit awkward to go walking down an aisle looking at a bunch of packages with almost completely naked (and usually good looking) men plastered all over their covers. I often find myself holding my breath and my heart rate increasing while in this aisle, which just makes me a bit self-conscious, wondering if my appeal to the imagery is noticeable to others. I do try not to look too long at any of the packages. I know which type of underwear I generally like (and to satisfy any curiosities, I’ll tell you it’s Hanes boxer briefs) and so I can usually just get them and go and all remains good in the world. But there are times when I can’t find the usual and do have to do some looking to decide what I want.

I wonder if the reason the men’s underwear aisle is usually devoid of other men is because, like me, most men just feel uncomfortable being there. If someone sees you looking at how the underwear looks on another guy, will they think you’re gay? I can imagine other men thinking this, whether gay or straight. Most men may just not like seeing all of those pictures of other men. There again, like me, they may just not like choosing their underwear in front of women. As for the women, I suppose they could just be a bunch of pervs who, like me, find the packaging appealing, but, unlike me, feel unabashed about looking.

What do you think?


AJ said...

Ha ya it is definitely a weird thing. Your right about both points. I actually never thought of it before but your right it really usually is women in the mens underwear aisle and not men. Strange!

I never understood why they have to have mostly naked guys on the underwear boxes. Couldn't they just show what it looks like on a mannequin and put that on the picture? But then all the underwear model unions would be upset I guess lol :)

But ya it is awkward for me too picking out underwear. The worst part is actually going to the register to to buy it though. The checkout person sees some of my intimate details right down to the size, color, and type of underwear I will be wearing. So i always feel a bit strange and exposed when purchasing it. But likely the person at the register is not even noticing any of those things and is just trying to get through the day and its in my head.

By the way this post reminds me I need new underwear soon. Drats!

Lead_Worshiper said...

First, I think some guys ARE uncomfortable. I know I was for a long time.

But now I'm something of an underwear snob. In fact, I have straight friends who ask my advice on underwear now. I'm not saying you should (or would) go there...but it's just underwear.

Plus, there's nothing too scandalous at Walmart. If you're getting new underwear, try the trunks (they're like boxerbriefs, but better!) at American Eagle. They don't scream GAY and yet they aren't frumpy.

Relax...don't worry about it. :-)

Brandon said...

AJ, I'm glad I'm not the only one who has ever noticed/thought this. I wasn't thinking about the checkout though. I usually just assume like you said that they're in a hurry and won't notice.

Lead, thanks for the advice, I'll look into that. And I know it's just underwear and I should relax about it. I'm just demonstrating how shy I can be about such things. :)

Jarred said...

There's an obvious solution to both problems: Don't wear underwear! ;)

I'll be honest, this never bothered me. I don't care if strangers know what kind of underwear I wear. And while I certainly think the models on the packages of underwear are quite attractive and look nice in the underwear, I never think of it for more than a second.

Brandon said...

Haha. Yeah, I suppose that could be a solution.

And please, I hope you didn't take me to be saying that I just get all googly eyed and break down in the underwear aisle. I don't just stand around gawking or anything. I usually just walk down the aisle, get what I need, and go. But I find the guys attractive and wonder if it shows. That wonder, I think in part, causes me to feel more awkward about being there.

Jarred said...

Okay. I'll be honest, I didn't quite get what you meant, so thanks for clarifying. To be honest, that doesn't bother me. But I also understand that my situation is rather different from yours. I also acknowledge that I'm also a bit "out there" when it comes to such things. ;)

Kyle Cheng said...

I agree with the awkwardness. x)

Anonymous said...

Today i was at walmart getting some boxer briefs, as i am picking up a package, a guy comes in the aisle, he says you know Fruit of the looms boxer briefs are buy one get one free. Thats what i just got, talk about awakard, he then asked my size and handed me 2 packages of mediums. I said thanks and left in a hurry.

Brandon said...


That's just what I was talking about. If someone had come up and started talking to me about underwear and even saw the sort I'd already picked out for myself, I would probably turn three shades of red and feel as if I was standing there only in my underwear. I guess I'm just bashful like that. Sorry you felt awkward about what happened, but, hey, at least you got a great deal. :)