As most of you know, I spend the winter months in a little cottage in Hope Town, a loyalist settlement on Elbow Cay in the Bahamas. Each Thursday, like-minded writers gather at the local sailing club for the Writers Circle. Last week, my neighbor Aletha Langham wrote this piece which amused me so much I asked if I could share it with you.
Wide Fronts are for Wrinkles
When my nine year old grandson said, “Wide fronts are for Wrinkles,” I began to ponder men’s underwear! Just so you know, Wrinkles are “old” people!
My great grandfather wore a union suit. The London company who invented the union suit has been in business for 225 years. That should tell you a little bit about men’s fashion. The union suit was practical. You could turn your underwear into pajamas, get up in the middle of the night fully clothed to shoot a bear and return to bed by only removing your boots!
My grandfather was a boxer shorts kind of guy, which I observed while he was hospitalized. His skinny, hairy legs dangled down beneath his gown from the front, but from the rear you could see his white boxer shorts.
The loose, elasticised shorts were invented by Jacob Golomb in 1925. They replaced the leather belted trunks worn by “boxers”, so that their legs could be free to move around.
My father is a widey tidey man. I don’t know exactly what that means except that he does wear white, wide fronts and washes them every week in a mixture of Tide and bleach.
The next generation of men’s wears launched men into colors and designer underwear. Blues, greens, yellows, with some fashion houses’s name on the band. Why would you want to buy underwear endorsed by dancing fruit? Warren Buffet’s, Berkshire Hathaway Corporation purchased Fruit of the Loom in 2002 for $835 million. Since then it has been his portfolios biggest “under” achiever. You might say, “Buffet is taking it in the shorts!”
My son in law is military and is a Under Armor guy. Polyester shorts with straight legs and a tight waist band, in unexciting colors of black and grey. Under Armor capitalized on this whole military theme after 9/11. Gen-Xers or Millennials gave up their colorful wide fronts for the more patriotic, Under Armor.
So this is a “short” history of what’s going on underneath it all. I don’t know what underwear my grandson will wear when he is old - perhaps he will return to a union suit, but he will never wear wide fronts, as they are for Wrinkles.
Aletha Langham grew up in a poor family in Oklahoma and moved to Colorado looking for work. She began as a secretary for a small construction firm and eventually was running her own company, Mark Twain Homes. Aletha was named northern Colorado builder of the year by the National Association of Homebuilders. Now retired, she lives with her husband, Rich Storck, at Sea Glass Cottage in Hope Town. They also live in Blue Hill, Maine and Hiawassee Georgia. They enjoy almost all water activities along with hiking and biking. Aletha has a daughter, Quenby, son-in-law, Eric and two grandchildren, Sophie and Caleb.