Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Freedom From Constrictive Japanese Underwear

Sometimes you hear about a product that is allegedly really popular and you almost start to wonder if you need one yourself. Then you hear that the product is selling like crazy in Japan and that's when you no longer wonder if you need one for yourself. That's when you know that you do not.

That's because for some reason, the folks in Japan go absolutely ape dung over anything that is a) slightly unusual or b) really freaking bizarre. They have this gift of being able to convince themselves that they really need the unnecessary item that is being hawked as the greatest thing next to sliced bread. (And really, the greatest thing next to sliced bread is some sliced cheese. Put that cheese on that bread its next to and what's not to love right there?) And this item is no exception to that rule...er, gift...um...whatever it is that they do.

According to the worldly reporting folks over there at Reuters-UK, there is a product in Japan that is making a comeback and is being touted as "The latest in women's liberation." For cryin' out loud, are we still being liberated? Didn't we do that already? Are we doing it again, because if we are, I didn't get that memo. So what is this comeback product that could liberate us once and for all? Well, if you're going to believe the folks in Japan who claim that their product will liberate women by allowing them "to ditch tight-fit underwear." That's right ladies. Step right up and get your loincloths here. Wait. What?

Loincloths, cloths for the loin, that is correct. Who do they think we are? Wilma Flintstone? Are they kidding? They are not. Japanese lingerie maker Wacoal is claiming that the loincloth is making a comeback. And to that I have to ask, coming back from where? When was it that the women's loincloth was stylish and "in" and when did it go "out" so that it could make it's narrowly anticipated 2009 comeback? Let's see, the 70s were bell bottom, the 80s were big hair, the 90s....the 90s must have sucked because all I can recall are drunken college parties and the Clintons. Odd. Regardless, please note the absence of any mention of 'loincloth' during my stroll down memory lane there.

Wacoal claims the loincloth allows women to ditch the tight fitting underwear. Hey, here's another way to ditch that tight fitting underwear: Get some underwear that isn't so tight! What is so complicated about that?! If you have tight underwear, are you constantly pondering what to do about it as you make repeated, but futile attempts to loosen your undergarments as to allow your nether regions to breathe? I don't think you are. I think you're either buying new underwear or you're going commando. I don't think you find yourself watching an episode of The Flintstones and being jealous that Wilma and Betty are so unrestricted in their groinal movements.

The loincloth is known as fundoshi and was "...the traditional underwear for adult males in old times." Oh, well, nothing will sell your product to women like telling them that it used to be worn by men in old times. Yep, Wacoal seems to think that'll do it as they're "...expecting strong summer demand from women who want more freedom of movement."

Are Japanese women really all that encumbered by their current selection of underwear that their movement is hindered? Really? Is their underwear made out of wood? Lead? Why are they wearing it in the first place? (Hmmm...I've noticed that whenever I'm wearing my oaken pantaloons that I cannot move freely about and my abdomen feels as if it is tightly constricted. I will need more of these immediately to wear all the time!) It doesn't make any sense!

When asked her opinion, one customer responded, "It's easy to wear and quite nice." (Pssst! So is underwear that fits!!) "It's also good for summer and since it's getting warmer, I figured it'd be good for that." Easy to wear? So now you're telling me that their underwear before was tight, restricted movement AND was complicated?! Now along comes summer and that really throws a wrench into the mix. (Not a real wrench! Though the way that they make it sound, it wouldn't surprise me if that was part of the encumberments and complications. A wrench in your panties is surely not the way to start your day.) You'd think that the unacceptable undergarments of yore that the Japanese women have been suffering with were made out of Gortex or flannel or fur or fur-lined Gortex flannel! Why are your loins so warm, madam?!

The report goes on to say that the loincloth will "....emancipate women from the tightness of conventional underwear, which often use rubber and wires, as well as the hassles of finding the right size." Rubber and wires?! Are they buying this underwear at Gitmo?! I've never thought of buying underwear as a "hassle". I'm not a fan of shopping, but really, buying new underwear isn't that much of a chore. (It's rather pleasurable if the need for new underwear is due to having previous underwear...say....pleasurably ripped from your body. I'll go shopping for underwear every day if that's the reason for it!)

A one Tomoka Okamura, the Merchandise Director for "Nanafun" Brand Loincloth Underwear explained their reasoning for the loincloth product as, "We wanted young women to have more sense of freedom and release. As we tried to come up with the 'ultimate liberation item' for women, we thought of 'fundoshi'." Again with the "freedom" and the "release". I don't think that you're going to be finding a whole lot of "release" after donning what looks to be Fred Flintstones boxer shorts there. And the brand name "Nanafun"? That sounds like "fun with Nana" and in the US at least, a "Nana" is one's grandmother. Underwear that's fun with your grandmother?? Run for the hills. Now. Scream a little on the way; you'll feel better.

I'm just chalking this whole women's loincloth thing up to the mania-prone Japanese folks. Maybe it's just me and my crazy ways of the west, but I find no logic to be had in any of their rationale for wearing undergarments that look like dishrags on the rack. There's no difference. Look! Behold!

See? I don't need my loins looking as if they need you to wipe your hands on them or as if I'm taking drink orders. I get enough of that with regular underwear.

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grannyann said...

Now that is just stupid. You are wearing a dress and it comes untied - do you just keep walking, right out of the loin cloth and hope no one notices. Or if you have trousers on are you always checking if it has come up also and sticking out in the back. Its not even worth wondering about really.

Mare said...

But if I didn't wonder about things like this, I'd have very little to write about!

Good points. Silly is what it is, for sure. (And the similarity to the dish towel is uncanny.)

~ M

grannyann said...

sorry I didn't mean not to post and let us know about the latest fashion statements. Since I doubt it'll ever become fashionable in the US I won't worry about it.