I wrote this following post back in 2007 when I was blogging on Myspace....a conversation after staff worship yesterday brought it to mind (don't ask!) so I thought I would re post it here. If talk of male underwear offends you, quit reading now.
I've just returned from the store where I've just purchased my first jock strap. I'm 39 and never experienced this rite of passage before.
I'm going to a costume party tomorrow night and as part of my costume I need to wear white trousers - pants for you speakers of 'American English' (though isn't 'American English' an oxymoron? But I digress). All I have at home are colored boxer shorts and although I have the fashion sense of a circus clown even I know that colored boxers will show though and create an unexpected comic slant to the costume. This knowledge left me with 2 options a) Purchase new underwear or b) Go commando
Well 'b' is not really an option for me. I've been commando once in my life through circumstances way too embarrassing to blog about here and I have absolutely no desire to do it again. Consequently I had to put the plastic to good use and purchase a new garment. Weighing up my underwear options I was left with a) Whitey Tighties b) White Y fronts c) White boxers or d) a white jock strap.
Well Whitie Tighties are a no go for me. Suffice to say I'm a boxers rather than briefs guy. White Y fronts would be possible but those are what I wore as a kid before I discovered the freedom of boxers. Going back and slipping on a pair of those (why do we refer to them in the plural? A pair?) would feel like regressing to childhood. What next? Disposable diapers or terry cloth and pins? White boxer shorts are not that readily available - so off to the sporting goods store.
Now to be perfectly honest there are lots of other options available to me, but I must confess a certain curiosity about the humble jock strap. Growing up in the U.K. this mighty garment of the American High School locker room was never seen. Never. My knowledge of Jock Straps has all been garnered from American High School Movies - mainly John Hughes films, and one highly guilt ridden viewing of 'Porkys'.
As I drove to the store this morning I found myself wondering if a boy's first jock strap (or as the packaging calls it 'Under Armor') is one of those marks of maturity. Do dads take their sons shopping in the same way mothers go with their daughters to purchase their first training bra? This garment must be important, it even has its own entry in Wikipedia!
All this philosophical musings came to an abrupt halt when I realized that I would have to hand this to the checker and pay for it. Now, I don't have the body of a sporting demi-god and so I began to panic that she would smile at me, see my purchase, and then call all the other checkers over to ridicule this fat hairy Englishman buying a garment for obviously '....illicit purposes as he can't possibly be the sporting type' except for maybe competitive darts and if you need under armor for that you obviously have some difficulties with your aim!
Why do I care so much what other people think? Well when I was a boy my parent's method of discipline involved a lot of shame. My brother and I were never hit; instead comments like "People around here know what you've done and what you are really like!" were often uttered. Consequently my brother and I imagined a huge invisible crowd of people watching our every move and we lived in fear of being found out.
I'm still working though my issue of caring too much what other people think. The church I grew up in added to that image by painting for me a God who is leaning forward on His cloud watching my every move waiting for me to put a foot wrong so he could press the 'smite' button. St. Paul didn't help much either. In Hebrews 12:1 he says 'Therefore since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses....' Paul paints an image of the heroes of the faith looking down upon us and cheering us on, but I always had a nagging suspicion that in my case they were shaking their heads in shame and embarassment because they see 'what I'm really like'.
I'm learning to not care so much about what people think. In fact, me writing an entire blog about Jock Straps (or for you delicate types - Under Armor) and posting it where almost anyone can read it is one more step in my healing. Some of you might consider this blog 'inappropriate' in someway. And it's ok if you do - as in the same way that it's ok that I think the whole thing is actually kind of funny.
So, tomorrow night is the costume party - I'll post some pictures of me in costume soon. I will be able to attend secure in the knowledge that my underwear is not showing though my pants. There's just one problem though, how do you wear these stupid things???