This is second pair of underwear from Joe Snyder that I’ve attempted to use as an everyday pair.   The last time I tried this was with their ‘Pride Frame’ bikini.  The results were mixed.  The issue I encountered was its practicality for everyday use.  Given my disposition and frequent use of skimpy undies when engaged in bedroom recreation I found it really distracting to try to pull off a normal demeanor while secretly donning male strip-o-gram undies.

I’m glad to report this time was different.  The ELA bikini takes a tiny step away from the edge that separates ‘skimpy’ from ‘too-skimpy.’  I should back up a moment and explain that I tend to be a traditionalist when it comes to men’s underwear.  Think Jim Palmer and Jockeys circa 1976.  That style was definitely skimpy for its day but it wasn’t so skimpy as to become off-putting.  In today’s market we have so many pairs that border on dental floss that the Jockey’s of yore seem downright… proper.

So with that in mind, I will say it was a much better experience with the ELA.  If the Pride Frame is just a tad bit too adventurous for you, then I recommend you try the ELA.

The facts: Made in Mexico.  80% polyamide/20% spandex (basically a speedo).  Apparent good construction.

The waistband has been updated and instead of featuring the words ‘Joe Snyder’ it simply features an embossed JS symbol which you can only see up close.  Aesthetically, it works great.  The contrasting white color of the waistband is the only visual ‘trick’ employed.  Not splashy at all, which I really like.  The only other visual statement is made by the cut itself which is just awesome.

An important note regarding sizing:  All JS pairs I’ve ever tried seem to run just a bit small.  This might just be my perception as they are intended to be skimpy regardless of size.  But just be warned that you may need to go up a whole size depending on your build. Otherwise your front may be having a fight with your rear for who gets coverage and who doesn’t.

Unlike my last encounter with JS, this time I succeeded in wearing the pair for a full day at the office.  I was concerned that the pair would become uncomfortable after a short time, just because comfort and good looks are so often mutually exclusive.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  It was perfectly fine the whole day; snug but not uncomfortably so.  Most surprising, the waistband did not give me a permanent JS tattoo.  The inside surface of the band is soft and has no discernible marks or patterns so the ‘tattoo effect’ is kept to a minimum.

The best part about this pair (if you’re like me) is that you can go about your day without being constantly reminded of this tight banana hammock thing beneath your clothes.  They’ve succeeded in making something look hot but feel more like a pair of low-rise briefs.  At the end of the day when you take your clothes off you may say to yourself “damn… that’s what I was wearing?”

To sum things up:


  • Excellent cut with minimal ‘flashy’ elements
  • Surprisingly, not too snug in spite of the materials
  • The most perfect waistband


  • May need to up-size if you have any meat on your bones


  • Daily Fit         9
  • Sizing         7
  • Construction/Materials         8
  • Styling         10
  • Daily Performance         10
  • Overall         8.8

Joe Snyder furnished this pair for review.


Marcuse is a brand I had never heard of before receiving the test pair.  It is yet another import from an Australian company. AUS seems to be home to a growing number of designer underwear manufacturers.  This review covers their ‘bounce brief.’

This pair is made in China from a blend of 90% modal/10% elastane.   I am a fan of modal blends which are really soft and have a lot of stretch to them.  The fabric used in this pair is extremely thin, almost sheer.  It is very comfortable, but the use of such thin fabric has some tradeoffs which I’ll get into later.

The cut of this pair is closer to what I’d consider to be a bikini than a brief.   The sides are quite narrow, tapering down to about 1″ (excluding the waistband thickness) and creating a higher arch along the edge of the leg hole as it moves back.  I don’t mind that cut, but figure someone considering purchasing this pair should realize what it is.

I do like the manufacturer’s choice of color panels.  These pairs have a two-tone scheme which is not completely apparent in the photos since the alternate color panel only exists in the few inches of your… ahem, how should I phrase it… taint region?  Again, not completely visible, but I think it’s a nice touch.  Similarly, the exterior stitching in the contrasting color is aesthetically pleasing.  Not too garish.

I had an extremely easy day wearing these.  I did very little physical activity.  I essentially sat at my desk for 9 hours and then drove home.  In spite of this relative softball of a day the underwear had a hard time staying put.  It didn’t ride up at all, but what I found was that the narrow parts of the sides and front became a bit twisted or bunched up on themselves.  Looking at how this pair was made I see two possible culprits.

First, going back to the fabric, like I said it is very thin which is comfortable, but I also suspect limits its ability to retain its shape over time.  I would love to see them use a slightly heavier gauge of the same fabric and see if it makes a difference.

Second, the trim around the leg-hole has an unusual detail near the hip.  Instead of a making a continuous loop about the leg-hole, the trim stops, makes a 90 degree turn north, and makes a B line for the waist band.  I think was more for looks than any functional reason, but I think that discontinuity in the reinforcement of the leg hole seems like somewhat of a weak link, letting the fabric do whatever it wants.  Perhaps it’s the traditionalist in me, but I would much prefer to see how the pair would perform if they made that detail continuous.

Last, I would note that the pouch design, as with several other pairs of late, follows the trend of pushing things up and out.  I’ve come to accept that this is a theme in designer underwear that will not go away anytime soon.  Personally, I could do without it, but I would not call it a deal-breaker given all the other nice aspects about this pair.

To sum things up:


  • Nice use of contrasting colors.  Conservative, yet interesting
  • Incredibly soft material


  • The softness seems to let things creep pretty easily, even with light activity


  • Daily Fit         8
  • Sizing         9
  • Construction/Materials         7
  • Styling         9
  • Daily Performance         8
  • Overall         8.2

Marcuse furnished this pair for review


File under B… for bedroom.

Joe Snyder is not something I would typically use as everyday underwear.  It might just be mental barrier I haven’t broken yet, but I associate underwear like this exclusively with doing the grown-up behind closed doors.  The only pairs of JS that I’ve ever owned were for that express purpose.

These reviews we generate are based on a uniform set of evaluation criteria, which incorporates a full day’s test drive.  Well, I tried it. For reasons I’ll go into later, I don’t know that my results will really offer you an apples-to-apples comparison to other pairs of underwear.  But honestly 90% of this is subjective anyway.  So here goes.

First the facts: Made in Mexico.  80% polyamide/20% spandex.  Excellent construction quality.  The cut is definitely on the skimpier side, probably the skimpiest thing I’ve ever worn.  If you’re like me this is probably right on that edge between ‘skimpy-flattering and ‘skimpy-non-flattering.’ Maybe this is a hint that Mexico thinks we should exercise more.  Or maybe they want us to stop sending them McDonalds.

In the right context the pride frame bikini is f***ing hot.  I read nothing into the word ‘pride’ and simply took it at face value.  Pride as in be proud of your junk.  Because if you wear these your junk is going to be the only thing people see.  Through some clever pouch design and accent stitching JS has found a way to make that part of your body seem twice normal size.  The exterior contrast stitching does this ‘swoopie’ thing where it comes down from both sides and wraps around underneath, creating a ‘genital shelf’ if you will.  But unlike the Cocksox pair that I wrote about earlier in the month, the pouch does not force you into the ‘tent-pole’ configuration.  For me, that is a huge bonus, since I’m not a fan of the tent-pole.

The normal review criteria we look at include things like “daily fit” and “daily performance.”  I might have a hard time rating these because I didn’t wear these over the course of a full day.  I wore them for the same amount of accrued time, but broken up into smaller pieces.  Mainly because… well, I didn’t want to have an enormous bulge at work that day.

What I can say is that, due to the materials and cut, there is positively no creepage of any kind on this pair.  I would compare it to wearing a speedo under your clothes.  One that is as supportive, softer, and waaaaay skimpier.  If it was still 1987, Cher could use this pair as part of her tour wardrobe.

If I could turn back toooooommeeee…. (yes, I said tome)

Joking aside, if you choose to wear this as daily underwear I don’t think you’ll have any complaints about comfort or creepage.  But be mindful that the only thing separating the world from the male-stripper version of yourself is a single layer of pant material.  If you have the mental agility to balance these two sides of your persona and keep it under control in public then more power to you.  Guys like me have no choice but to relegate this to the bedroom only.

To sum things up:


  • You will turn into a sex machine in the bedroom


  • You will turn into a sex machine anywhere you happen to be


  • Daily Fit         7*
  • Sizing         8
  • Construction/Materials         9
  • Styling         9*
  • Daily Performance         7*
  • Overall         8

*please take this with a grain of salt.  I can’t wear these for a full day, so your score will probably differ greatly from mine.

Joe Snyder furnished this pair for review.


This is the first time I’ve worn anything from the Cocksox brand.  I had heard of their stuff and seen photos but really had no idea what I was in for.  So here goes…

First, the facts:  Cocksox is an Australian company and this particular pair was made in Thailand.  The material is a blend of 95% modal / 5% spandex.  It is extremely soft and light with a decent amount of stretch.  Sizing is consistent with U.S. size charts.

There are many things about this pair that I liked.  First, the material is awesome.  I tend to prefer softer and lighter materials and this pair was by far the softest/lightest pair I’ve ever worn.  Sometimes you run the risk of sacrificing support when you go with softer materials.  But that was not at all the case here.  There is black magic afoot.

Second, I have to give a round of applause to this company for doing away with the sewn-on tag and opting to screen print the size/washing instructions inside just below the waistband.  I never realized just how much you really feel a sewn-on tag until I wore this pair.

Aesthetically, the pair is very simple which I really appreciate.  My tastes are not flashy so the solid gray color with the black waistband was right up my alley.  If you’re a relative newbie to the world of high-end underwear and you’re feeling insecure about being too fancy in the locker room this would be a great pair (never mind that you have the word COCKSOX emblazoned on your waistband).  I attempted to find this pair on the Cocksox website to see what other colors are available, but found nothing.  I guess this is a relatively new line, so it might be another few weeks before more information surfaces.

The day I wore these I was sitting in my office the entire day which wasn’t as rigorous a test as it usually is.  So temper my remarks with that in mind.  But the fit was great and it retained its shape all day.  Minimal leg creepage.  Again, the material made these extremely comfortable to wear for 12+ hrs.

There is one aesthetic component that I must address and that is the shape of the pouch.  If you’re like me you have a definite preference for how you let things hang or how you want your bulge to look.  You might wear things to the left, to the right, pointing up, etc.   Since this was my first pair of Cocksox I did not know that their distinctive pouch basically forces your junk into one permissible configuration: the tent‑pole.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not uncomfortable.  It is strictly an aesthetic issue to consider before buying.  If you really prefer a certain look then just be advised that this pair will limit your boys’ options.  It is definitely something that you should evaluate if you’re doing things like, say… going to the grocery store, taking your kid to soccer practice, having a PTA meeting.

I really can’t find anything negative to say about this pair, other than my remarks about the pouch.  It’s apparent to me that this pouch design is deliberate, and I don’t think I should hold this against them.  It seems that look is their… ahem… ‘centerpiece.’  I would just say to be aware of what you are buying.  If you are after that particular look or willing to experiment then good on you.  If the tent-pole is not your cup of tea then you might want to pass.


To sum things up:


  • Among the softest most comfortable pair I’ve ever worn
  • Adequate support in spite of softer materials
  • Simple, non-flashy style


  • The ‘schhhwwwiiiiinnng’ jokes will never stop


  • Daily Fit         9
  • Sizing         8
  • Construction/Materials         9
  • Styling         9
  • Daily Performance         8
  • Overall         8.6

Cocksox furnished this pair for review.



To all the fellas out there with ladies to impress, it’s easy to do, just follow these steps:

One… cut a hole in a box

Two… put your junk in that box

Three… make her open the box

That’s the way you do it. It’s my d**k in a box!

If you live inside a vacuum cleaner then you may have missed the 2006 SNL skit featuring Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg as early 90’s (Color Me Badd-esque) R+B singers who bestow their gift‑wrapped genitals as Christmas presents.  There is one moment in the video which gives me the biggest laugh.  It’s the moment when Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig, both portraying the unsuspecting female recipients, open their boxes and react with excitement and a hint of naughty desire (apparent when Wiig mouths the ‘oooooohhh’ sound).  I suppose I find that part funny because the more juvenile parts of myself think “hey… that might work, right?”

For the readers of this blog, there is a parallel to be drawn.  If you wear a pair of fashion-forward underwear then you are, in a sense, putting on a show for others.  Your junk is not in a gift‑wrapped box, BUT it might as well be.  It is the center of attention and is likely to be pushed up and forward far enough that you could have the winning edge in a photo-finish relay race.  Or as my partner says, they are “extra bulgey.”

It’s taken me years to come out of my shell and realize that I enjoy showing off for her (in the right context of course).  I think it’s safe to assume that many of this blog’s readers feel the same way I do.  We may not look like underwear models, but we’re not half-bad and life is short.  Why not give our partners something to ogle.

But what happens if your partner is not as into it as you are? (insert needle-across-record sound here).  Truth is that your specific tastes or preferences may not be shared by your partner.  In fact, I’d bet money that it’s a minority of couples who enjoy having identical or even closely-aligned preferences.  Take me for example.  I, being a straight man, am a visual creature.  Seeing my girl in lace undies, garters, and stockings is an instant turn-on.  It will rev my engines every time.  My natural inclination is to return the favor and give her something to look at.  But it doesn’t always work.  Her libido is governed by a complex formula which seemingly includes the weather, my interest in children, whether I’ve taken the trash out, whether Downton Abbey is on tonight, and Ryan Reynolds.

Just because your partner doesn’t swoon at the sight of your underwear bulge doesn’t mean they don’t find you attractive.  Everyone is wired different.  It’s just a fact of life.  There are still ways you can make this disparity into a win-win in the bedroom.  You can’t make someone get turned on by something that naturally doesn’t do it for them.  But there are alternate routes to satisfy both partners’ desires.

First and foremost: talk to your partner.  Our inner Puritans have a way of making us embarrassed to express our feelings.  Or maybe we don’t want to get laughed at.  Whatever the reason, a failure to communicate these desires will leave you frustrated and unfulfilled.  I cannot overstate the importance of frank and open discussion.  If wearing nice underwear is part of your ritual just say that.  Even if it does nothing for your partner you can help them recognize that it’s important to you.  How you approach this discussion is up to you, but my recommendation is to do it in advance so that you’re not explaining, apologizing, or creating awkward Woody Allen moments during foreplay (Woody Allen = mood killer).  Drink if you have to.  Just get the words out.

Second: even if your partner is not visually stimulated the way you are there is still an indirect effect on your demeanor which CAN be a turn on.  You might recall in a previous thread where I described the ‘Tarzan Effect.’  But if you missed it, here’s the cliff notes version: if you feel like a man you will act like a man.  Your partner might not care for seeing you in skimpy man undies.  But if wearing them turns you into an unstoppable tank in the bedroom they will DEFINITELY notice.  The key ingredient here is your ability to be uninhibited.

Third: bring as much variety to the game as possible.  Around the holidays last year I went to the effort of learning a strip-routine.  I went out and got the cheesy velcro bow-tie, shirt-cuffs, the whole nine yards.  In that context, skimpy man undies were a perfect fit.  I made a playlist with the most stereotyped R+B slow jams I could find.  It was like we were living out a scene from a Tyler Perry movie.  She had no idea any of it was coming, and getting her to laugh made the rest of the night effortless.  We still refer to that night as our ‘Christmas in the ATL.’  Moral of the story is avoid repeat performances.  Surprise your partner with new scenarios.  If you put effort into making it fun they will notice.  Heck, they might even bring a stack of $1 bills to shove into your waist band.

Last: be willing to laugh at yourself.  Any time you try something new or outside your normal operating zone you are bound to encounter funny or potentially embarrassing moments.  If your partner laughs don’t let it shut you down.  Steer into the skid.  Ham it up.  Your willingness to roll with the punches will keep the mood going in the right direction.  If you clam up like a frightened kid at a school play, well… ask Woody Allen.

These are just ideas, but the goal here is to create something that both partners will enjoy.  Let’s face it… your junk in a box just isn’t gonna cut it.


The Male Basics Chevron Boxer looks like it jumped off the page of an M.C. Escher drawing.  It is definitely one of the more interesting underwear patterns I’ve ever seen, let alone worn.  Caution: staring may cause hypnosis.  Actually, this may have been their intent since they are essentially asking you to hand over your wallet (more on that later).

Joking aside, this is a decent pair of boxer briefs.  Made in Columbia, these are a blend of 93% cotton / 7% spandex.  The material is just slightly heavier (and a bit stiffer) than the other pairs in my drawer which have a higher ratio of synthetic materials.  Sizing of this pair is consistent with domestic (U.S.) size charts.  I wore a medium and it was right on the money for a 32″ waist.

To give this pair a ‘test drive’ I wore these at work for 10 hours and then wore them to the gym… on leg day of all days.  All in all, it was a rigorous test drive.

What I liked: the construction feels solid.  Unlike the last pair I reviewed I expect that these would last quite a while.  I did notice that the label recommends ‘hand wash delicate’ and ‘do not tumble dry.’  Let’s think about that for a second.  Does anybody really have the time to hand wash and hang dry anything that they wear?  If that’s a pre-requisite for making a $28 pair of boxer briefs last then I would be concerned.  I ran these through the wash and dryer and it didn’t seem to have any adverse effects, at least not on the first try.

Everything held up and stayed put over the course of the day.  No significant creeping and no sagging at all.  The legs did creep up a bit just from repeated standing/sitting.  But given that these have full legs that is par for the course.  I don’t think I’ve ever owned a pair that didn’t do that.  Overall, their performance in this regard was very good, especially considering that they are mostly cotton.  Hanes and FOTL would be all over the place if subjected to the same test drive.

Setting aside the print pattern for a moment, I am happy with the overall look of this boxer brief.  The stitching and use of colored piping provides some interesting highlights and gives the pouch a bit more shape.  Aesthetically, they are very pleasing.

What I disliked: the printed pattern is not my favorite.  That’s just me, I’m not too flashy.  Male Basics does offer their boxer brief in lots of different colors, but there is a cost differential.  The solid color pairs run $2 – $4 cheaper than the Chevron pair. The implication being that these are not interchangeable but are in a class by themselves.  From perusing their on-line catalog it appears that all of their boxer briefs have the same or similar construction.  If that’s the case I would be tempted to go for one of the solid color pairs instead.  But hey, if you like the pattern go for it.

The weight and rigidity of the material (again mostly cotton) is a bit more than I’m used to.  This difference had the effect of making them feel slightly more snug than if they were made from a lighter weight material.  It wasn’t uncomfortable at all, just took a little getting used.  This is a very small critique though in the grand scheme.  Overall I was pleased.

I realize that in the world of high-end underwear that $28 for a single pair is not uncommon.  After all, we are talking about limited production numbers that are not large enough for economies-of‑scale take effect.  But I can’t help but feel that they’ve over-reached with this price point.  I don’t see myself ever paying that much (in 2013 dollars) for any single pair of underwear.   But hey, if supply and demand allow them to charge this then who can blame them.  I wonder if I’m in the wrong business.

To sum things up:


  • Very sturdy construction
  • Held up well over the day, giving good support


  • Feel a bit rigid
  • They charge a premium for the chevron pattern



  • Daily Fit         7
  • Sizing         8
  • Construction/Materials         9
  • Styling         9
  • Daily Performance         8
  • Overall         8.2

Male Basics furnished this pair for review.


We are going to bring you a series of posts that help you get to know the guys behind the site. We are all underwear lovers and our staff are all volunteers who do it for their love of undies and some great undies. One of our newest is Gabe. He’s a big time underwear lover and this is a little more about him. I hope you enjoy getting some in sight into our guys. Here is more about Gabe!


Making your first foray into the world of high-end men’s underwear is a bit like jumping into a cold pool.  Some dive in head first while others must ease into it gradually.  But regardless of how you enter the pool, it takes a lot more commitment to remain there indefinitely.  To do so is to make a statement about yourself.  On the surface that statement might be ‘I like nice underwear’ but peel back the layers and what is really being said is ‘I like who I am.’

Believe it or not, liking who you are can be an acquired skill.  A lot of people make their way through the world as functional adults without ever fully grasping this concept.  Granted being a responsible adult eventually requires some amount of self-sacrifice.  But surely your needs don’t always need to come last.  It wasn’t until I nearly became a paraplegic that I learned this lesson.

In 2008 I survived a helicopter crash 60 miles off the coast of Brazil.  Of the 20 people on board the helicopter15 survived.  Several days after being plucked from the sea I woke up in a hospital with no memory of the accident and no control of my legs.  The impact had crushed three vertebrae in my lower back.  It was uncertain whether I would walk again.  What followed was a year of intensive physical therapy and a bout with crippling depression.

Prior to the accident my attitude toward myself was pretty neutral; happy in some ways, critical in others.  I thought this was just fine.  After all, I didn’t hate myself.  But ‘not hating’ yourself is still nowhere near to liking yourself.  After all, how far would you go to help someone if the best you can say about them is ‘I don’t hate them’?

During this time my physical shape was unremarkable.  Not horrible, but not great either.  Exercise (I told myself) was something I didn’t have time for.  Numerous times I had pledged to get back in shape.  I would go to the gym and immediately get discouraged by the guy next to me who was curling twice as much.  Goodbye gym.  Same time next year?

That’s just one example, but imagine if all of the small choices you make in the course of a day are governed by an underlying belief feeling that you are slightly inadequate.  Over time, this way of thinking can chip away at your self-esteem and manifest itself in real physical terms (i.e. frequent illness, poor sleep habits, fatigue, depression, etc.)

After the accident I had to relinquish all control to other people.  I needed assistance to do almost everything that a normal person would take for granted.  The adjustment to this new way of life was brutal.  But in my case it was a necessary step in learning to like who I was.

The most significant breakthrough came when I realized that how my thoughts could affect how my body felt.  A gloomy attitude would make the physical therapy sessions unproductive and grueling.  But even a small amount of positive feelings could have the opposite effect.   It turns out that our minds and our bodies are linked in a way that a controls engineer would call a ‘positive feedback loop.’  A small improvement in your mental state can cause a proportionate improvement in your physical state (or vice versa).  Almost like falling upward… positive begets positive.  However, it can go either way.  If you allow the cycle to go negative it will.

A few months in to my recovery a cute 20-something nurse at the clinic passed me in the hall, smiled, and said ‘you look good.’  Because I had been relying entirely on my upper body for mobility I was slowly developing a chest and arms.  That was the moment the scales tipped.  I remember thinking “she’s right, I do look good.” That tiny burst of positive emotional feedback unleashed greater physical exertion in the next round of PT.  And then the negative thoughts that had been impossible to silence began to evaporate.  It’s not because I associate my self-worth with my appearance.  No… I had simply found ONE thing in my life that I COULD control.  Despite the fact that I still couldn’t walk on my own, I was taking way better care of myself (physically and emotionally) than ever before.  I liked who I was.  I was happy.

And this is where I hope my experience can provide a road map to others.  No matter who you are or what your station in life you can always learn to nurture your mind and body.  You deserve to feel good about who you are.  It doesn’t require drastic changes to your lifestyle, but rather a series of small steps carried out over a long period of time.  Just like learning to walk.

Buying yourself nice underwear might seem trivial.  But, as I discovered it only takes the tiniest positive feeling to kick-start the upward spiral.  Who knows how long any of us will be here for.  Why not enjoy your body while you have it.




What happens when a straight guy steps outside his swimwear comfort zone? This post below. Our newest writer Gabe tells about how he put on a speedo for the first time on vacation. Enjoy the post!

‘Old habits die hard.’  The same can be said of attitudes or personal beliefs.  Anything that jeopardizes the safe comfort of our small thought bubble universe is usually eradicated quickly.  It’s just human nature.  After all, no one wants to accept that their deep-held personal beliefs may be wrong.

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about… our story is about Speedos!!!

Actually, my introduction is highly relevant to that style of skimpy spandex swimwear.  If you’re unsure about why that is then I offer this challenge: put on a Speedo, go to your nearest public beach or pool, and loiter in the sun.  Count the number of awkward moments you experience in an hour.

The truth is that, despite centuries of human progress and enlightenment, we are still unable to shake our profound feelings of shame toward our own bodies.  This is especially true here in the U.S. where we have John Ashcroft and Super Bowl wardrobe malfunctions to remind us that unclothed human bodies are morally wrong.

It is a perverse dichotomy.  We love seeing skin.  It is all over our magazine covers, television ads, movies, etc.  And yet, we have somehow all silently agreed amongst ourselves to make our disgust known anytime we see it in public.  Recall the scene from the movie Meet the Parents in which Ben Stiller is left no alternative but to don a Speedo in front of the entire family and how the group taunted him.  The knee-jerk ‘eeewwww’ reaction is so embedded in our culture as to be second nature.  It is a learned behavior and it is doing us no favors.

A few years ago my girlfriend (now fiancé) and I made a trip to a resort on the island of St. Lucia.  We were staying at a place that catered mostly to couples (lots of newlyweds).  Our visit happened to coincide with that of a large group of 30 and 40 something couples from the Netherlands.  They were a fun group. Good lord could they drink!

The afternoon of our second day there, we were lying on the sand at the beach behind our bungalow.  It was only then I became aware that I was the only man wearing board shorts.  My male European counterparts were all wearing speedos.  It was actually me, in my family‑friendly swimwear, who was getting the odd looks from people.  Or at least I certainly felt that way.  Go figure.  By the third day I had decided enough was enough.  After some encouragement from my GF (and after downing a brightly colored fruity umbrella drink) I strode to the resort shop, bought a pair of black speedos, and “hammocked up.”

It’s important to note here that I swam competitively for many years and was accustomed to wearing a speedo during workouts at a pool.  But I had never simply worn one while relaxing on a beach.  Nor did I possess the kind of rippled physique that might grant me an exemption from mockery.  No, I was stumbling head-on into Greg Focker territory.

But truthfully I felt no stigma or shame.  I was lucky enough to find myself in a situation where the social pressure element (the fear of being taunted) was totally eliminated.  My girlfriend was not critical at all as she seemed only to encourage me.  Once that critical element was removed the only pressure remaining was internal.

And this brings me to perhaps the most important point.  A straight man wearing a Speedo may experience thoughts of self-doubt which are as inhibiting as any external social pressure.  We are afraid that if we wear a Speedo (and heaven forbid we enjoy it) that it somehow makes us gay.  As if Tim Gunn himself descended from the heavens, waived a bejeweled wand, and made a cloud of pink smoke go “poof” on top of our lives.  Your next stop is an appearance on Oprah where the topic is straight men who ruined the lives of their unsuspecting female partners.

This is not how it works.  Honest.  My experience did not turn me gay.  In fact, it was quite the opposite.  Ignoring the urge to cover up made the personal time with my girlfriend way more adventurous and flirty than it had ever been before.  Lacking a better term I refer to it as the ‘Tarzan Effect.’  I felt less schlubby.  I actually liked my own body for once, even if I was carrying a keg instead six pack abs.  It was this sudden inrush of confidence that made the rest of our stay incredible.

This experience was important to have because it marked a change in my attitude.  It was the last time I really worried about what other people thought of me.  This letting go has had many positive effects in other parts of my life.  The speedo itself is really just a secondary part of the bigger change in thinking that I’m trying to sell here.  And that is: be unafraid.  Find what it is that makes you feel confident or happy.  See how it affects your relationships, intimate or otherwise.  Experiment.  This body you have is the only one you get.  Why not enjoy it?

I don’t expect this sense of adventure or experimentation will be everyone’s cup of tea.  I’m sure that there really are people who, absent any social pressure, still really prefer to cover up.  And that’s fine too.  The only thing I would urge upon those people is to withhold judgement of others who are more adventurous than you.  They’re not trying to gross you out.  And if it does gross you out, just look away.

If you’re still afraid that a speedo will turn you gay just remember that it’s simply an article of clothing.  The inherent traits that you possess are much stronger and are unlikely to change by virtue of a wardrobe choice.  If I’m wrong and it does change you then look on the bright side… you’ll get to meet Oprah.

So for the guys reading who are still on the fence, I dare you… “hammock up”