It’s been a few weeks since I last posted – we’ve had a recent brilliantly relaxing holiday in the Vendee region of France with all my beautiful daughters, fine sons-in-law and, of course our fab grandsons (minus footballer S who was in the middle of his pre-season training programme, sadly). Apart from that I’ve been really, really busy on writing stuff. Tonight I’ve got a bit of a break on a big piece of web-building stuff whilst I await a go-ahead or otherwise. So time to do some blogging again. And the theme is underpants. Yes ladies I’m going to share some manly insight with you about how a real brutal hunk of a man chooses his briefs. Steady girls.
Now I’m a little reluctant to share this information, not because I’m coy but because I know my wife and daughters will probably be mortified. But I’m a writing creative force and a seeker of truth and justice, so I believe the world should know about how men think about their smalls. I’m risking some serious internal flak here so I hope you guys appreciate my brave openness.
This posting was kind of brought on because I lost a pair of faithful friends this week, a 5 year old pair of light blue briefs where the waist band had frayed slightly, dumped in the bin, by lovely wife C. Actually my lovely daughter S who lives in New York, and who we get to see all too frequently, spotted them on the washing line out in France and gently questioned my wife about whether I should still be wearing the items. My wife C explained that she’d been nadgering me to dispose of these hopelessly ragged (gently worn in my view) old pair of pants for months. Indeed C had bought me several sets of new briefs in recent months so there was no excuse for not getting rid of them. Except that I’d refused to do so on the grounds that a) they still had a bit of life left in them and, more importantly, b) were actually the briefs that I felt most comfortable wearing.
But the fact was my extended family were embarrassed to have my laundered pants airing on a washing line in the middle of rural France, a kilometre outside of the local village. So I knew this close familial criticism of their very slightly worn condition would play on my wife’s mind and their time on this planet was drawing to a sad close. Now this brought memories flooding back to me. Firstly I’ve had clothing which I loved, suddenly disappear in the past – a much-loved over-sized overcoat went missing as soon as I returned home to my parents’ after a time away when I was around 17. Then a much-loved grandad shirt from university days disappeared as soon as Carol and I landed in London after my graduation. It was slightly worn, I confess, but as my nan would say, had a bit of life left in it. Not accordingly to C and it disappeared within a day of landing in the Capital. Harrumph.
Secondly you need to be aware of my upbringing. My mum once took back a pair of my dad’s underpants to M&S because they’d started to fray badly. She explained to the lady on the counter that whilst her husband was a hard-working breadman who changed his pants every day and, yes, they had been washed a few times, she was massively disappointed to see that the waist-band had started to fray badly and she, of course, demanded her money back. She admitted she couldn’t find the till receipt. No worries, the lady on the counter said she understood my mum’s position but just wanted to check something with her supervisor first. Absolutely my mum said but still gave off her best indignant air. Within 5 minutes the assistant arrived back and happily admitted that the pants were indeed M&S’s own product and that they did of course have a policy of exchange for faulty products. However she’d been informed that the store couldn’t honour that pledge in this case since M&S had stopped selling that particular brand of underpants at least 12 years earlier, and they felt that a dozen years of daily service by a hard-working breadman was probably as much service as a pair of their pants could reasonably expect to deliver. Well I have to tell you that my mum was not impressed with M&S’s reluctance to accept that their product had become worn out prematurely but she graciously accepted their position and turned on her heels and left the premises, disappointed and only slightly indignantly. The pants were turned into dusters the very next day and as far as I’m aware are still delivering honest service 15 years later ie 27 years after their appearance on the M&S shelves.
That’s the stock I come from folks. If the elastic’s still viable, the state of the cotton’s a lesser concern. And I have to emphasise that the pants fitted me better than any new pants that I’ve had of the supposedly same size. Now I don’t blame my lovely wife C; I think M&S have slowly been reducing their sizes for years (though I’m sure everyone with an expanding middle-aged waistline says that). But without being too personal it’s not about waistlines. It’s about…hell, I’m sure you understand.
So I’m down to one pair of slightly faded pants and about 18 pairs of slightly tight newer pants all marked XL but secretly I know they are a Medium at best. And yet when I ask for 2XL it’s like trying on Christopher Biggins’ briefs; they’re frigging wartime grannie pants.
So these days I’m wearing black tops and shorts/leggings and only once every 3/4 days, depending on our washing routine, my favourite blue pants. Here’s what’s left of my last happy pair …
Years of life left.