(These Nasty Pig “Fighting Shorts” (top) will set you back $80 a pair, while this Hanes 6-pack (bottom) will give you change for a $20!)


Hey guys!  Betcha didn’t know that those boxer-briefs that you stepped into this morning (or got tore off you last night) are, according to some economists, an important marker of the financial state of our nation.  According to a theory by former Chairman of the Federal Reserve  Alan Greenspan, the sale of men’s underpants remains steady and strong when our economy is stable.  But in tough times, sales go down as men tend to keep their undies for as many more months (years?!) as they can, rather than buy new ones. Therefore, men’s underwear sales are an important reflection and possible predictor of the economy.  This is not exactly a “new” theory.  It was actually hypothesized by Greenspan back in the 1970’s.  But the “Greenspan Underwear Theory”( A pretty picture indeed, huh?!)  just keeps being revived and re-analyzed again and again, most recently in an article by David Coleman in “New York Magazine”.  Apparently, in the beginning of 2009, it was expected that men’s underwear sales would be down for the first time in years– down as much as 2.3%.  Meaning, more guys would be holding on to their boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, and jocks for longer periods of time. Instead, according to retail sales monitor NPD Group, men’s underwear sales went up an impressive 4.8 percent for the first half of 2009: a sign that maybe the economic outlook was looking more positive.  But greater analysis showed some interesting stats.  The sole reason that sales of “underwear” are up this year is that sales of tops (undershirts) are up 18 percent. Bottoms– briefs, boxers, boxer-briefs, etc.– are down 1.5 percent.  Why are tops rising and bottoms going down? (Please don’t get homo-political on me, guys!)   Is the classic American undershirt (AKA wifebeater) becoming a rogue alternative to the overpriced designer T-shirt? Are more men are going commando? Are undershorts becoming less of a necessity and more of an accessory or fetish item?…

…which makes me wonder: Are gay guys willing to sacrifice their designer undies in tough economic times?   Granted, compared to a pair of Prada shoes or Emporio Armani sunglasses, a pair of always-reliable Calvin Klein briefs at $22 to $50 a pair is a bargain.  But remember, kids, you gotta get a week’s supply.  Versace will set you back $39 to 60 a pair, while Dolce & Gabbana will cost you about $60 a pop.  Ed Hardy, who’s wildly popular among the kiddies, sells his skivvies for $39 and up.  Prada, incidently, does not yet make men’s underwear, but Nasty Pig makes a “fighting short” made of lightweight stretch rubber for $80 a pair.   At those prices, 2(x)ist and Andrew Christian seem like steals, at $16 to 35 a pair.   But what price can you put on an item that can give you such a lift (pun intended) on an ordinary day?  And how would you feel if you finally meet your future husband, things get hot and heavy, and he pulls down your pants to reveal… Old Navy? (3 pack for $9.99) Then again, for some, cheap tighty whiteys may be the ultimate fantasy.  To each, his own… But one piece of advice will always be the same: Guys, change your underwear!

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