I had such a good time writing about Gringo Tacos yesterday, but I am such a frustratingly sporadic blogster. I always have about a half dozen great ideas flying around in my mind, but they can turn into such epic posts with history (often culinary), etymology, obscure links and connections and, of course, photos thrown in. I just don’t know where to start, so I sit in cyber-silence for days on end. Which is why yesterday’s post was great: short and simple and fun.
I decided to see how other bloggers do it and lots of them have a weekly theme, eg Wordless Wednesday (a photo), Find Out Friday (how to do), Try It Tuesday (new technique), Make It Monday (another new technique). This not only saves time from having to think up a snappy title, but they can chuck a photo online or link to a tutorial somewhere on the web. Easy peasy.
With this in mind, today is Y-front Wednesday.
Yesterday, I was working on a commission for
His Excellency Mr. John Mostyn, the Minister of
Cultural Affairs for the Free State of Digbeth. I was researching the provenance of this lard poster and came across Viz Comic, where said poster originated. I was raised on Mad Magazine, the Furry Freak Brothers and National Lampoon in the late 60s/early 70s, with a large TV helping of Monty Python’s Flying Circus so I really took to Viz.
First though, some etymology and history.
Two Underpants Divided by a Common Language
Y-fronts were first sold in the UK in 1938. They were originally created earlier in the 1930s in the USA. 1934 to be precise, although they did not officially go on sale until 1935. Over there, they are called Jockey Briefs or Jockey Shorts, named after the company that manufactures them – Jockey.
Incidentally the company itself used to be called Coopers after the name of the family behind the products. But after the successful deployment of this new form of underwear, and the spectacular success that followed, the Coopers company decided to rename their product after a play on the Jock Strap, it became Jockey International Inc. in 1972.
However, using the term Jockey Shorts never caught on in the UK, instead this style of underwear and successive variants would to this day be known as simply Y-fronts.
Despite the many Americanisations that have happened in the UK over the years, such as changing the name of Marathon to Snickers and Opal Fruits to Starburst, Y-fronts remain Y-fronts. perhaps because it is a generic term rather than a brand name. Therefore no company can hope to easily rename it.
Why did Jockey shorts or briefs end up being called Y-fronts in the UK? Well simply because their design prominently features an an inverted y shape on them. However that was was never meant to be simply a fashion statement. It actually serves a useful purpose, via provision of a hidden seam that allows quick and easy access to the penis, or if you prefer, willy, to pull it out for urination, or if you prefer, the call of nature.
Where did this all begin again?? Whilst exploring Viz’ website, I came across the Print Out ‘N’ Make page and decided to make a pair of Duran Duran Paper Underpants. Here are the results.
Ooops! Those silly boys at Viz put the letters on the wrong place . . . .
Washing Instructions: Do not wash
Keen sewers can also make their very own real y-fronts. See Male Pattern Boldness for more!
Finally, here are a couple of items of Conceptual Underwear I designed in 2003.
and a spin-off product,
Historical Information Source: Y fronts