Y - the fascination?
This morning whilst in the shower I thought to myself what undies shall I wear today and after a quick think on the subject I decided as my other half had already put on a pair of Y-Fronts I would do the same, as he does like it if I sport a nice pair of Y-Fronts.
I’d picked out in my mind exactly which pair I was going to wear and as I had worn a pretty restrictive pair yesterday, unfortunately they were 100% cotton so had very little stretch in them I’d decided to go for an old pair of light blue nylon 80’s Y-Fronts.
As usual, I couldn’t find what I was looking for in any of my draws, but what it did do was make me think why have Y-front briefs got such a fascination for me and judging by the amount of guys on ‘briefsbook’ who post pics of themselves in Y-Fronts, for them too.
After all, Y-Fronts have always been labelled as pretty ‘Geeky’ and almost every film that has a character like this at some point are shown to be wearing ‘tighty whities’ which seems to be put in to the film just to reiterate the point. In the UK a character like this is associate with Y-fronts but in the US, they're usually shown to be wearing A-Front Hanes or FTL, either way, the characters are always portrayed as being a down trodden and geeky guy! Where as the hero and his palls and thinking about it the villain too are usually big chested, fit guys wearing Boxer Briefs or even worse, loose fitting Boxer Shorts.
So why do so many of us ‘briefsters’ absolutely love them?
For me they've always represented the complete opposite. I’ve said before how I think a guy in a jockstrap just oozes masculinity (read the article here) and I've also posted an article on much the same regarding Y-Fronts (check out the article here) … but that was way back in 2012, and before “briefsbook” really took off. But now, searching through my draws this morning has made me think even more about the reason of why so many of us like them and I wanted to revisit the question.
For me I think it’s because they were probably the first main stream undies that I can remember. For all of us who had our teen years in the late 70’s and early 80’s all we used to wear was Y-fronts of some description and not necessarily branded ones like Jockey. In those days the question wasn’t “boxer or briefs”, it was more a question of which briefs style do you wear, Full, Midi, or Slim fit. To be honest if you were sporting the Jockey waistband you were thought of as quite ‘well off’ around where I grew up as they were the equivalent of todays designer brands like Calvin Klein or Armani. No, for most of us, it was the major high street stores who all manufactured their own Y-Front style briefs, like Marks and Spencers or C&A, oh now there’s a blast from the past, WOW, C&A used to have a great Mens Underwear department and let’s not forget the good old Woolworths! Plus unfortunately we now have to add BHS to that list!
I can vividly remember walking through the local Woolworths store seeing all the kewl Y-Fronts on display and at the time they were all displayed at waist level in stacks one on top of each other, so I would run my hands across them as I was walking down the isle. Maybe that’s where I got my passion for all the soft and stretchy materials.
Polyester and Nylon
A major attraction for me back then regarding underwear and especially Y-fronts was the fact that most of them were made from Polyester, which I always confuse with Nylon. Yes, Nylon Y-fronts were also nice to wear but it was the Polyester ones that always got me over excited, in more ways than one lol.
As far as I can remember Jockey only ever made their Y-Fronts in cotton, which is great, don’t get me wrong, but pulling on a pair of Polyester Y-Fronts just used to send me over the top! Sliding that fabric up over my legs until they reached my nether regions was just one hell of an experience. Then when they were finally holding everything in place, well to be honest, sometimes it was just too much … I think most ’briefsters’ will understand what I mean ;0)
Not only did we have the fantastic Polyester, but we also had the superb colours and patterns which we just don’t see any more. Yes, we are seeing the likes of Calvin Klein and other mainstream manufactures playing with patterns and colours, but we need more … they need to research those times and emulate them!
Those were the days!
It wasn’t just all of my mates at the time who wore Y-Fronts but also nearly every guy you saw did, you only had to check for ‘briefs lines’ and you knew. I was recently exchanging a few messages with a briefsbook member and he jogged my memory of how most places like department stores and swimming pools at the time had communal changing rooms. Anyone else remember these?
Swimming Pools also had single changing cubicles too, but I always made a bee line for the communal ones. Oh my word the Y-Front and briefs sightings were amazing. Especially if the guys used to hesitate before putting on their jeans. I actually wasn’t waiting for them to be naked, I wanted to see them in their pants. Not like now a days, the majority can’t get changed quicker enough in places like gyms, but then again I’m not that interested now as they are mostly wearing god damn boxer briefs!
Going swimming or changing for a games lesson at school was like a 'briefsters' heaven! If you were spotted wearing boxers then you mostly had the pee taken out of you for wearing 'grandad' shorts! Oh how times have changed!
Downfall of the Y-Front
Times started to change with the introduction of the dreaded Boxer Briefs (Thanks to Calvin Klein and Marky Mark for that and Levis, with the ‘White Boxer Shorts’ advert in the Laundrette) all these wonderful sights that I grew up changed for good and with Jockey finally cracking down on the ‘Y’ design all of these fantastic cheaper Y-Front alternatives disappeared and also with them, Polyester. No longer could they produce a Y-Front style brief without having a licence from Jockey so they mostly turned their underwear designs over to A-Front styles and of course, ultimately, Boxer Briefs! You go into any high street store now and the shelves are packed full of uncomfortable and ugly Boxer Briefs with a little tiny section, if at all any, of Briefs. The Boxer Briefs get all the colours you can imagine and the briefs mainly just get basic colours.
I remember some years back when an Australian underwear company called DT Jocks came on the scene starting off with a Y-Front design and they also made them in some wacky patterns, even the company introduction on their website states as much:
“Established in Australia June 2003 DT released its initial ground-breaking range of premium men's underwear. Introducing a mix of style, fun, fashion and comfort to the realm of men's underwear DT infused elements of groovy 60s and 70s simplicity with modern quality fabrics to make its own unique stamp on cool"
These images have been borrowed from the tumblr website of briefslad1me, who is a massive Y-Fronts fan and has a superb collection of Y-Fronts images including all these pics of the original DT Jocks Y-Fronts. Please checkout his website at http://briefslad1me.tumblr.com.
Again Jockey put a stop to them using the ‘Y’ design and so they had re-design them and in my opinion, they were never the same.
Which leads me nicely to a question I’ve been asking myself for ages. I can not understand why Jockey hasn’t taken the lead in the upsurge in Mens Underwear through the years. Lets face it the value of the Mens Underwear market is astronomical. They have the classic Y-Front design which they now protect the use of, so why didn’t they take the lead and produce as many designs as they could in all sorts of colours and patterns, they could have been the leaders in the Mens Underwear race. Instead they’ve just kept on the side lines producing the same old ‘dross’ in boring colours and mainly cotton. As I’ve said before I do love wearing cotton, but having the mix of Elastine and Polyester or Nylon is much better and yes I know they do produce some briefs styles that include all these, but they are very few and far between. PLUS and it’s a big PLUS, why don’t they make all their products available World Wide!
In the UK, we only have a very basic range available to us, but if you look at the like of India or the US get, it’s a completely different choice. And lastly, Why or Why do Jockey not still produce the sportier versions of their Y-Fronts. I think back in the 80’s they used to be called “Slim Guy”, I may be wrong on that name, I’m sure some one can correct me if it is wrong! They were amazing to wear and my god they were HOT to be seen in. A normal Y-Front but with much narrower and trendier sides.
Every time I’ve seen a brightly coloured Y-front that is available by Jockey in the last few years I jump for joy, but then read further and they are never widely available here in the UK and they are always a limited edition! For gods sake Jockey, take the ‘Bull by the Horns’ and produce good colours in your Y-Fronts range!
I’ve just checked Jockey's main website jockey.com and amazingly they have produced a brief, click here to see, not a Y-Front but a brief available in all wacky colours and patterns, but guess what, as normal NOT in the UK! Go to the UK website jockey.co.uk and all we're offered is boring black and white dross with a few basic colours!
And just to leave you with a parting thought … have you seen the prices that some of these 70’s and 80’s versions of Y-fronts are fetching on eBay, surely that is a sign that Jockey needs to start 'bucking' their ideas up!
So this is where I believe I get my fascination and love for Y-Fronts from … they were the first mainstream underwear that I wore and everyone else did too, plus I suppose been a gay guy, I just associate them with, well … men! I can probably think of a few other reasons too, like the fact that the inverted ‘Y’ kind of leads you too a certain part of a man, but hey, we’ll go with the first reason for now ;0)
I look forward to hearing any comments the rest of you ‘briefsters’ may have on the subject!