Imelda who?

The Xmas holidays are over, so I’m back to doing the school run, and it got me thinking: stereotypically, women, especially stereotypical school moms, are stereotypically renowned for getting off on shopping. Stereotypically, that is often for shoes.

Stereotypes exist for a reason – there’s frequently a degree of truth in them. I believe the received wisdom is, in the case of shoes, that it’s a form of self validation. Although it is generally unacceptable to say so, unless you’re careful, being a full time parent can easily strip you of your identity. You cease to be yourself, and you become just someone’s parent. Buy spending money on yourself, you assert that you have value as a person. When you throw in historical gender influences – women are supposed to be attractive – and the ease with which self maintainance goes out the window when you have kids to focus on, it’s easy to see how a new pair of Blahniks is going to stop you feeling quite so shit about yourself.

One of the few other full time dads I know is a cycling junkie. Beyond keeping house, and looking after the kids, he has no employment, and doesn’t do much else other than play with his bikes. He spends inordinate amounts of money on titanium X and carbon fibre Y. A week or two back I put it to him that these trinkets are his shoes. (And yes, I’m pretty sure his cycling shoes contain both titanium and carbon fibre!)

It recently struck me that I too have my own shoes. Or rather pantsuk. I’ve just done a quick inventory:

  • wpuwim614 pairs of day to day underwear. They’re all manner of colours and styles, and range from the itsy-witsy, teeny-weeny, yellow silky Bulge bikini to the rather more encompassing, but no more modest, lime green Ergowear Max Light Midcut briefs. (I’m really not sure why they’re classified a briefs, because brief they aint!)
  • 3 pairs of modest boxers and briefs. I’m not sure why I keep these – perhaps it’s in case I ever need underwear in hospital, or something like that. (Now I come to think of it, if I’m going to have nurses see me in my smalls, I’d rather they saw the colourful pairs, so these really should go.)
  • One pair of silk boxers. The oldest pair of undies I own. I’ve had them longer than I’ve known my Wife, and I don’t think I’ve worn them in that time.
  • 14 assorted thongs, g-strings, and items that barely contain enough fabric to constitute clothing. These have hardly been worn in the last year.
  • wpuwim32 pairs of manties in different shades of lace. I don’t remember when I last wore these, but they’re so outrageous I couldn’t bear to part with them.
  • wpuwim4When my favorite underwear manufacturer, Ergowear, brought out some limited edition colours more than 18 months ago, I got suckered into buying two more pairs. They have remained in storage, unworn, ever since. (The intention was that when any of my day to day pairs needed replacing, these would slot into my underwear drawer, but sadly nothing seems to be wearing out.)
  • wpuwim1And then, in a fit of unnecessariness, I ordered two more pairs:
    The yellow Max Light Bikini Briefs were part of the aforementioned limited edition range. They ceased to be generally available some time ago and I genuinely though I’d missed the boat on that front, but lo! … one online retailer happened to have a few pairs left. And in my size. Kerching!
    I have had a pair of X3D Bikin briefs for some time. They’re made of a fabric Ergowear call Suave. It’s very soft, incredibly stroke-able, and rather delicious to wear. The most amazing thing is that it looses none of these properties even after the repeated long term abuse metered out by a standard laundry cycle in the washing machine. So while I was ordering the yellow briefs, I also ordered a pair of the burgundy X3D Suave Mini Boxers. Whilst these are a Medium (just like everything else) a pouch that’s just a little smaller, and a waistband that’s just a little lower, mean these leave delightfully little to the imagination. Not that they will have the opportunity to any time soon as, like the pink and green shorts, these are going into storage until their purchase is actually excusable.
    That took it to 38 pairs of underwear. But if that wasn’t enough, because the weather’s been getting cold and no one wants frostbitten nuts, I ordered Max Light Midcuts in Bijou (blue) and Olive (green), and because summer will arrive eventually, a Max Lite Thong in Vermouth (pink). All of a sudden the collection was up to 41!


The name Imelda Marcos may spring to mind right now, but can a boy ever really have too many pairs of underwear? And I’ll acknowledge that does make me sound little camp! But dig a little deeper into self analysis and there’s potentially another conclusion to be drawn.

40 pairs of shoes … I mean underwear, at what I’d estimate is an average of £23 each … throw in some P&P charges … add it all up and …


Just as a footnote, I googled “How many pairs of underwear should men have” (or words to that effect). I wasn’t looking for a definitive answer; rather just curious to see what the consensus was. There seems to be general agreement that for both men and women, the number is somewhere between 14 and 21 (two to three weeks worth) of day to day undies. Anything special, something perhaps reserved specifically for sport [Ed: or shagging!] doesn’t count. Since I’ve only for 14 pairs of pantsuk that get worn regularly, it seems as though I could still add another 7 pairs before it gets excessive. Yipee!

3 Responses to “Imelda who?”

  1. I have 2-1/2 weeks worth of underwear, all utilitarian boxer briefs.

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