In Real Talks this week, we’ve discussed what kind of underwear men like on you, how the word “panties” is unacceptable, and what kind of underwear you actually have. We saved the time-honored argument of boxers versus briefs for this week’s Editors Debate, regarding lost testicles, monkey brethren and WASPs.


Jennifer: So. If a man is not wearing boxers with tiny bulldogs or ships on them, how would you even know he was wearing underwear? I am confused.

Ashley: Um. Wow. You really went to an intense place that I didn’t foresee. I mean, I feel like I could respond, but all my new-found questions regarding your psychology would then go un-answered.

Jennifer: Oh! I get where you’re coming from. You want something more stable and traditional. You only like checked boxers? That’s COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDABLE. I guess I just like guys who live life on the edge, you know? The kind who will sometimes take off work a little early to go play a round of golf. THE LUNATIC KIND.

Ashley: Let’s just take a few paces back. Brief are for little children. Boxers are for teenage boys. Boxer briefs are what adult men wear. Adult men do not wear underwear with little whales spouting water on them. Or duckies. Or madras print.

Jennifer: Boxer briefs? Men in those nearly pornographic Calvin Klein “advertisements”, maybe.

Ashley: Are you suggesting I enjoy pornographic films?

Jennifer: I’m suggesting that I’m more comfortable with the kind of pornographic film where men wear boxers like normal people. Seriously. I’m used to boxers. All my boyfriends ever have worn boxers. What world do you live in? This world of briefs and europeans?

Ashley: Men who wear boxer briefs go to museums and read Proust! Unlike the layabouts and wastrels in boxers, forever suckling their moonshine in gutters after pony races! Gambling away the day! They have no regard for culture. Boxer brief culture.

Jennifer: YOU MADE UP WORDS. THERE ARE NO PONY RACES. I think men who wear boxer briefs want to cuddle their balls against themselves like bizarre monkeys.

Ashley: You mean regular monkeys.

Jennifer: Maybe that’s what they go to museums for. To see dioramas of their own kind.

Ashley: Wait. If men who wear boxer briefs are to monkey museums as men who wear boxers are to pony races, does that mean who wear boxers have… horse cocks?

Jennifer: Yes.

Ashley: That’s just not true.

Jennifer: “Massive in madras,” as the saying goes.

Ashley: Moving along. If I were to remove a man’s clothes for the first time and find boxers, I’d be… surprised.

Jennifer: Really? I would… not. Do you think maybe it’s because you are from California?

Ashley: Where the men are?

Jennifer: And on the vineyard they just all wore loincloths?

Ashley: Boxers indicate suspended adolescence. Teenage boys wear boxers, grown-ups don’t. By which I mean: name 5 things that teenage boys do that you would also find acceptable or desirable in an adult male.

Jennifer: But that has nothing to do with wearing boxers….It’s like saying “they breathed then, they breath now, why do you make such bad choices?” They’re not a personality trait.

Ashley: Name 5 aesthetic decisions, then. Asshole.

Jennifer: Ribbon belts? Penny loafers? Nantucket reds? Going to a really specific place here?

Ashley: I forget that WASP babies shoot out of their mothers with collars on both polos already popped.

Jennifer: Ashley, blue blazer, khakis, penny loafers, button down shirt. Men who wear boxers are born in that uniform and die in it.

Ashley: Maybe you should stop dating men who are parodies of this facet of American culture.

Jennifer: But the bulldogs are so cute!

Ashley: I don’t associate boxers with the blandly privileged American aristocracy. I associate them with teen boys. Teen boys who play Halo and smoke bowls and have posters on their walls.

Jennifer: Yeah, that’s fair. I think I just took it in a separate direction Because honestly, the kind of underwear men wear has NOTHING TO DO WITH THEIR PERSONALITIES. It’s totally an aesthetic decision. I like looking at bulldogs. We agree that penises are like fleshy mushroom towers, so let’s ease in there with a print of collies playing.

Ashley: First of all, you can’t say aesthetic decisions are separate from one’s personality. But, going back to WASPs: when you put it that way, underwear with little cartoon ducks on them make a lot of sense if you’re socially and sexually repressed.

Jennifer: Boxer briefs make a lot of sense if a man is worried he might lose his balls at any moment. Probably when some California strumpet just rips them off. Fear. That’s what Boxer Briefs mean. Fear.

Ashley: Yes, Jennifer. That’s true. I exclusively date men who are afraid of losing their balls. It’s a weird fetish I picked up on an internet forum.

Jennifer: 4Chan?

Ashley: That’s the only thing on the internet you can name besides TheGloss, isn’t it?

Jennifer: I have a lot of back issues of The New Yorker that TELL me about the internet.

Ashely: And a lot of tentative, curious penises, veiled in little penguins and ducks.

Jennifer: To make them less threatening! You just squeeze your eyes tight so hard and think about the little bulldogs playing. And it’s like it’s a happy time!

Ashley: In this way, boxers are the appropriate undergarment of choice for WASPs and teen boys, because both are outwardly calm and unconcerned, but beneath the skin is a roiling pit of sexual unrest, alienation and despair. While boxer briefs are for other regular people.

Jennifer: I think bulldogs are the cutest! Eli Yale, Eli Yale!

Ashley: Such are the sobs of your disjointed, loveless fornicating.

Jennifer: ELI YALE