For many years now, men have looked to underwear manufacturers and distributors to supply them with various styles and colors to add support and excitement to their daily lives. The wonders of supporting garments have been felt by millions. Those who have worn any style of men’s undergarment saw them in an advertisement or on some kind of billboard or poster before buying. Television commercials have placed famous names into products so that we were able to see these items in motion. Magazines have used full pages to entice the public into thinking they would feel and look better in their creation. We’ve been thankful for these ads which give us a, for lack of a better word, brief look at what these articles should look like when worn.
Looking back through the history of underwear ads, one group of men has been left in the shadows. The stocky, heavy-set, big-boned, or sometimes overweight men who desire comfortable underwear have been forgotten by the advertisement campaigns of underwear designers. The everyday brands we have seen our entire lives have obviously also decided to turn a blind eye to this area of the market. This concept of “no bear” advertising is not a new trend. It started at day one.
I was looking through an underwear rack at a local department store a few weeks back and wondered about the assortment of sizes being displayed. I found one or two smalls, more mediums, even more larges, and a few graciously displayed extra larges. I wear a small in briefs but have friends I would want to see in the brand/style I was interested in buying, only in a larger size. The idea haunted me all evening long. There had probably been guys looking at these underwear, wanting to know how they felt or how they supported, but were too hesitant to spend the money. I can imagine the look on their faces, if they were underwear enthusiasts, as they turned from the rack, leaving without knowing how great they could feel. The more times this happened, the more large sizes were left on the rack.
I totally see where these men would feel left out of the crowd and ultimately feel let down by the manufacturers of something they love so much. This feeling could be derived from multiple things. First, the ads used in the general public would never show how the larger sizes would look when worn by a similar sized model. Secondly, the looks of some salespeople when underwear is purchased would not be of an understanding kind, but would likely be one of disbelief when purchased by a “big” guy. Lastly, over time, the individual might have been told out-right by someone that he did not need to wear anything like the underwear he loved. In either case, someone walked away without a chance to feel good about himself, even for a moment by himself or something more sexual with a wife or life partner.
I wanted to get more information on this topic, so I asked a few friends of mine some questions. All of these friends wouldn’t personally classify themselves as being a part of the vast movement referred to as the bear/cub/otter subculture, but some do join in the merriment therein. I asked these men ten questions pertaining to their feelings toward certain styles, materials, what they would like to see their mates wearing, what would they try if given the chance, and if advertisements would change their outlook on underwear purchases. I felt each of these points would give me a good indication of what men in this category might be thinking and wishing for the future in the world of underwear.
(to be continued)