American men need to get schooled on the awesomeness of wearing bikinis and Swim briefs (they should take a lesson from the Australians, who consistently prove that there ain’t no shame in that game).
It’s surely a cultural thing. Let’s face it: it’s homophobia. Straight men, particularly in America, have a thing about showing too much skin down there. Even when they’re working out, the attire of choice is usually baggy shorts or sweatpants.
Marky Mark was supposed to change everything. In 1992, he posed in tighty whities for the groundbreaking Calvin Klein underwear campaign. Not only did Mark Wahlberg’s daring photos break sales records for Calvin Klein, it helped ignite the men’s underwear industry, which is generating billions of dollars to this day.
However, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Calvin still lags behind the more traditional Hanes in sales.
In the United States, wearing a Swim brief in situations other than a swim meet is perceived as a punch line – generally understood to be a gross turnoff, even if worn by the most Adonis-like creatures. Think of the spoofy song and video, “I’m Sexy and I Know It.”
In addition, the cultural perception is that women prefer men in boxers to briefs (although this is surely not a proven fact); briefs conjure up images of boyishness and immaturity, and maybe even a hint of femininity. For those who are insecure about such things, that does not lend itself to assured heterosexuality. And, of course, assured heterosexuality is always a fragile label that many straight men feel the need to constantly prove, to the point of exhaustion. And these days, fewer and fewer people care about labels like those, or need to be convinced.
In the movies and on TV, male characters wearing briefs or bikinis are usually the butt of jokes, or downright douchebags.
The answer comes from distant history: undergarments were originally seen as shameful. They were not meant to be seen.
Of course, as always, gay men flipped traditional cultural perceptions by bringing undergarments out of the closet and wearing them proudly. Briefs, thongs, jocks and bikinis were turned from a shameful secret to a proud obsession.
America was first settled by English Puritans, who lived their lives based on modest, colourless dress. This mindset became nationalised, and was passed down and internalised.
Of course, Millennials are changing the way we see and perceive everything, and that may include underwear and swimwear. The line between gay and straight indicators are quickly blurring.
American Olympic swim champions Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte are rocking Swim briefs – their photos have burned up the Internet. At the same time, the growing obesity epidemic continues to keep already reluctant men from showing too much of their bodies.
We offer a challenge to American men: cast off the fears and insecurities of the past, and be bold. Find your Swim brief or bikini brief and swimwear. Usher in a brave, new, fearless age. Change the culture – let it show!
Click here and start the new American revolution.