Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Loose Threads From My Underwear (Posts)

There were some leftover threads from my underwear evaluation that I could not fit in.  In other words, my shorts posts were too tight!  So here they are:

I Got Fat Shamed

There were two, high-priced, designer brands which I could not include in my study because they did not make shorts large enough to fit me.  I realize that an aging baby boomer body has no business cavorting around in designer undies, and yet surprisingly, it did hurt my feelings a bit. To the plus-sized ladies who suffer the same fate with some designer clothes, I FEEL YOUR PAIN!  Before, I thought you were just whining, but now I get it.  As they say, never judge a rubenesque woman until you have spent a day in her und….. Oh my! Well, you get the idea.

Underwear Advice For The Young Guys

However, in doing more research, I found that the designer underwear was not rated that highly by other reviewers. One review claimed that the main reason  young, single guys wear designer shorts is to impress new chicks during their, first, uh, encounter, yeah encounter.  But there two things very wrong with this.  Allow me as an older and wiser man to impart some wisdom upon those young whippersnappers who may need some advice.

First, it is dangerous to try to impress young ladies with any designer-type apparel.  The type of woman who is attracted to this sort of thing, is the type of wife who will spend most of your money and then take half of what’s left.

Secondly, if your goal after that first encounter is for the woman to remember the brand of your shorts you wear, then you are doing it wrong.  Yes, literally, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. 

I also mentioned that the pouch on one brand pushed your junk up and out and when combined with tight pants could be a good way to advertise your wares. Likewise, be careful young man, about the fish you might catch from casting that worm. You can’t build a relationship on just that.  Your worm will not always be that zesty and you will always be vulnerable to other fellows, with larger worms, who may try to fish in your pond.

Even More Underwear Choices 

After I made the four underwear purchases for the study, my Facebook feed was inundated with new, sometimes weird, underwear ads.  How does Facebook know what I am actually buying?  This is creepy, especially for this product.
The weirdest ad promoted boxer-briefs containing 11 magnets in the pouch.  I guess the magnets are supposed to increase circulation and energize your man parts.  However, I see some drawbacks.  It would be embarrassing to be walking through an appliance store and suddenly have your crotch stuck forcefully to a refrigerator.  The sales clerk would be all like “Sir, I can see you’ve taken a real liking to that one!  When do you want it delivered?”

Also, you could be on the dance floor and get too close to a woman wearing magnetic panties (yes, they do exist also).  Of course, it would be a magnetic attraction, but it would be very awkward to have your nether regions locked tight together in public, especially if this woman was undesirable is some way.  You might even need some help being pulled apart and it could hurt!

By far the most disturbing ad featured a broadly smiling, older guy proudly sporting some boxer briefs.  This brand was promoted as “functional underwear for incontinence”. They say it looks great and it is “go every wear”! A major selling point is how many times you can wash them. Wonderful.  Why does Facebook think I would even be interested in this product? Who have they been talking to? I don’t want, nor need, to go everywhere.  I’ll just continue to go where I’ve been going, thank you.

What About Underwear Morality

I never addressed the morality of spending $34 on a pair of underwear when some men in the world are running around nearly nekkid, meaning their man parts are exposed to the elements and to attack by wild animals.  Someone should form the “Save The Cojones Foundation” to bring decent men’s underwear to third-world countries.  So, the literal bottom line is that if you fulfill your charitable obligations, you can splurge a little on your shorts. That is splurge, S-P-L-U-R-G-E, splurge.

However, it is vitally important to find shorts that don’t bunch up during those long business meetings.  You can’t be grabbing your crotch at the conference table and you don’t want to be squirming too much in your chair.  Most importantly, when your boss asks what you think about the situation, you do not want to reply: “The competition is really squeezing us hard and pinching our profits. Still, we shouldn’t do anything rash.”

A Good Man Rule
Only a couple underwear vendors offered shorts in shades of brown.  A universal man rule is: Never wear brown underwear.  The reason why you shouldn’t do this is of course, ah, err, eh.  Well just don’t. Trust me on this.

Monday, March 20, 2017

These Shorts Stand Tall! (A Brief Evaluation – Part 2)

Review of Part 1 

When ads for expensive underwear began appearing on my Facebook feed, I wondered if these uber- shorts were really worth the high price. So, I purchased four pairs of the top brands to compare and I will review them here and now. 

It’s time to get down to the nuts and bolts of this issue, okay, mainly just the nuts.  The boxer-briefs will be judged on the following five factors:

1.   Overall Feel –

How do the shorts feel as a unit, including on your unit?  Maybe more importantly, how do you feel when wearing them.  This evaluation is complicated by the fact that a major selling point is that you are not supposed to feel the shorts much at all.

2.   Pinch, Bunch, and Ride-up Control

One of the drawbacks of boxer-briefs is that they can pinch your very delicate places.  They can also bunch up, which can result in painful chaffing.  In addition, you don’t want them riding up on you and causing an uncomfortable wedgie.  Bottom line: You don’t want your undies literally in a bunch.

3.   Odor Control

These shorts must literally be able to pass the “smell test”.  Unfortunately, I was not able to recruit anyone to help me administer this very critical and very scientific task.  My wife even declined and she runs scientific tests every day in her job!  This evaluation was the most complicated because it was difficult to hold conditions constant from day to day.  Just like commercials for certain female products proclaim, sometimes guys can experience a “heavy-flow” day.

4.   Appearance

Of course, this is not as important for a middle-aged, married guy like me.  Heck, my wife is impressed if I keep my shorts clean, which can be difficult some days (see note above).  However, I will still rate the briefs on this factor for the younger bucks out there who care a lot about this one.

5.    Breathability, Moisture Control, Mobility

This covers various other factors involving the coolness of the fabric, the ability to control sweat and the capacity of the undergarment to move with you during physical labor.  It does not have anything to do with the difficulty of people breathing when they are near you, the control of other “liquids” and the ease of dropping your drawers quickly when the need arises.

The Evaluation

I did not assign a scoring system because the importance of each factor will vary greatly among men.  Keep in mind these shorts were tested on an aging, somewhat overweight (but not fat!), baby boomer.  Your results may vary.  I could not find anyone willing to help me conduct this evaluation, however “my boys” will assist me, since they have intimate knowledge of the subject. The brands are reviewed in order of list price, from least to most expensive.

Me Undies

Men’s Boxer Brief ($20 List)

The shorts are made from a thin, stretchy fabric which has a pleasant feel.  Which is good, because you will feel these more than the other higher-priced brands.  Although they do move around some, they don’t pinch or chaff because the material is so soft.  They have a good waist band and they don’t ride up.  They look fine on me.   Because they are less expensive, there is no odor or sweat control features, although you won’t sweat much due to the light fabric.

The outstanding feature of the Me Undies is the pouch.  It lifts up and juts out the boys, similar to the concept employed by a push-up bra. It did feel a bit weird, but I do have to admit that I did take an extended time to view myself in the mirror wearing these briefs, including a couple “modelish” turns of the hips.  The boys seem to enjoy the ride!  Now while this feature is not relevant for an aging boomer body, if you are a young stud sporting tight, skinny jeans, this might allow you to package your goods for maximum effect.

The Skivvy:  Nice underwear tailored toward the younger set.  Not a great value, in that you can find better underwear for under $20, but you still would have to search for it. Me Undies makes ordering fun and easy and you can save 33% by subscribing to their underwear of the month club.  Plus, you won’t find a better selection of wild colors and patterns – if that is your style.  Me Undies also wants a close relationship with their customers.  I get an email from “Jen” every few days checking up with me about my underwear.  No woman has cared this much about my underwear since my mother.  I envision that Jen is a smokin’ hot, young woman and I think I might just be falling in love with her.

Duluth Trading Company

Buck Naked Performance Boxer Brief ($22.50 List)

These shorts feature a mesh-like material which provides superior mobility and moisture control.  You would think that you would feel this fabric more, but you really don’t.  The Buck Naked’s don’t pinch or bunch and the odor control is greatnt.  The appearance is more rugged, emblematic of DTC items.  I would have looked much better in these shorts sporting a large, manly, beard like my friend Erin.

The unique feature of these underpants is the large, roomy, pouch.  These are literally boxers encased in a brief.  They employ the same principle as having a large, fenced-in yard for your dogs.  They can run, frolic and play, but they remained contained and cannot escape.  The shorts provide the same type of playground for your boys.  After wearing these shorts, I know how a free-range chicken feels after being freed from the coup.  I guess in this case it would be a rooster, not a chicken. And another name for a roster is a … wait …. so inside my underwear I have a free-range c ….. okay, you get the idea.

The Skivvy: Good underwear that works well for the older guy or the labor-ing younger guy. If you’ve reached the age where you need to transition from boxers to boxer-briefs to ah, get more containment, this is your best choice.  These shorts can also be worn while exercising, but I don’t think they would secure the boys enough on the tennis court.  The appearance might be a draw back for the single guys.  I would recommend flinging these off quickly at “the moment of truth”.  No need to give her the first impression that you aren’t filling out that large pouch.

Mac Weldon

Boxer Briefs – Silver ($34 List)

At first glance the Mac Wedon’s appear to be average, ordinary, shorts and not worthy of a premium price. However, the looks here are very deceiving.  This underwear has a great waistband, makes me look kind of sexy, and is cool and comfortable.  You can feel these shorts a little more than some of the others, but when you do, the fabric is very uh, pleasurable.  The underwear didn’t pinch, bunch or move much, for the most part (more on this later).

A big selling point of the Weldon’s is the odor control provided by the silver in the fabric.  And the shorts pass the smell test with an A+.  After 17 hours of wear, they smelled just as fresh as when I put them on.  It’s enough to cause me to shout “Hi-Yo Silver, Away!”  (Who was that masked man in his underpants?)

The Mac’s are excellent shorts, however there was one issue.  The first time I wore them I did experience a wedgie. It was odd because it only happened once, it wasn’t like they were riding my crack the whole day.  I thought it may have been a fluke or due to “sticky buns”, but it happened again on the next wearing.  So, this was a black mark on them, but fortunately not a brown one.

Tommy John

Second Skin Boxer Brief ($34 List)

These briefs seem excellent right out of the box, literally, because they shipped in their own special box.  The fabric is fantastic, silky smooth and it glides unobtrusively with you.  “Second Skin” is a highly appropriate name for these shorts, they fit wonderfully.  They wick up the moisture and the odor control is excellent.

Still with all these plusses, my favorite thing about the Tommy John’s is the appearance.  If felt like the briefs were pushing and lifting my buttocks up into a more attractive position.  They made this aging baby boomer look darn good, and that is no small feat.  If I were permitted to post a pic modeling one pair (but I’m not, since my wife put the kibosh on this), it would definitely be with the TJ’s and if I could keep my belly out of sight, I may not even be embarrassed! Boo-ya!

The Skivvy: Unbelievably fantastic underwear, with no real weaknesses.  My boys give them two thumbs up, well they would if they actually had thumbs, but you get the idea.

The Final Verdict

The good news is there is something to love about all these shorts and there is not a stinker in the bunch.  If you are a younger guy, with a limited budget and want a fun, colorful, relational buying experience, then get yourself some Me Undies.  If you need a tougher pair of boxer-briefs for manual work and exercise, or that provides your boys with more freedom, go “Buck Naked” with Duluth Trading Company.  If you have a problem with odor, the Mac Weldon’s with silver are your choice.

My overall winner is the Tommy John Second Skins.  I actually look forward to wearing these because they feel so good!  My friend Norton agrees with this
The Winner! - Tommy John "Second Skin"
choice, although he prefers their “360 Sport” Boxer Brief.

Yes, this is the underwear of kings.  So excellent are they, that you will wipe one extra time, out of the respect for these shorts.

Next Time: Shorts left over from my underwear evaluation

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Feminist Reviews "Just Make Me A Sammich" (It ain't pretty, folks!)

A collection of posts from a humor blog, written by an economics writer with a subversive streak.

Ake has operated the blog Ake’s Pains since 2011, and here he offers his favorite entries from it, along with tales of their creation and reception. The chapters are loosely categorized by topic, with each featuring several blog posts. The first shares Ake’s takes on male-female relationships, including a “running joke” about why women should make sandwiches for men on demand. The second tackles celebrity-related news, such as nude-photo leaks and the rapper Pitbull’s fashion choices.

 Other chapters cover such topics as sports, including an analysis of some very bad team names; Ake’s home life, as in a story about how his wife conquered a very obnoxious woodpecker; and economics, such as an explanation of the subprime mortgage crisis involving a beautiful but deceptive character named Becky Housing. He devotes one sweet chapter to his daughter’s marriage, featuring a series of wedding-oriented posts that cover love, stubbornness, and the insane financial obligations required of the father of the bride. Ake’s humor is often coarse; busty women, for instance, show up in several posts. He also demonstrates a love of wordplay, especially in an impressively scatological piece about using toilet paper sales as an economic indicator.

However, such Everyman humor risks being derivative, and Ake’s writing is no exception. One of his favorite topics, for example, is the battle of the sexes, but his tales of sex-obsessed men struggling to understand irrational women don’t put a new spin on it, and some jokes feel sexist and resentful, rather than lighthearted. Ake is better when he discards such clich├ęs and embraces absurdity, such as when he tells of his attempt to write a song for Taylor Swift that kept resulting in verbatim Bruno Mars lyrics. Also, his writing on economic issues effectively addresses serious national issues with unserious fables.

An uneven collection that may please some fans of raunchy dad-humor. (Kirkus Reviews)

Author's note: I've never been called "raunchy" before and I suspect the reviewer may be flat-chested (not that there's anything wrong with that) 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Getting Inside My Shorts (A Brief Evaluation – Part 1)

Four years ago, I “came out” as a boxer-brief wearer and revealed my unabashed preference for this style of underwear.  Since then I have purchased numerous pairs of various brands as needed, typically using gift money on post-holiday sales.  A couple years ago, I even splurged and got two pairs of high-priced Jockey’s ($20 regular price), which I wear for special occasions (long travel days, etc.).

I was totally satisfied with my underwear inventory until Facebook ads started appearing on my feed, touting superior, high-tech, superb-fitting, shorts. Suddenly, I started to feel that my current underwear was woefully inadequate.  Naturally I was curious, so I clicked one of the ads.  Of course, this was a huge mistake.  This alerts Facebook you are interested in this type of product, which means you are deluged with even more ads for these products, every day, until you die.

This marketing attack was too much for me to resist. Now I was totally dissatisfied with my current skivvies and yearned to try these awesome garments, which promised to pamper my man-parts. But there were several brands advertised, which one should I buy? So, as a public service to men dealing with this critical issue, I decided to buy four different pairs of high-end (insert snicker here) boxer-briefs and review them here in my blog.  This is an actual, serious, review. Rest assured, I will treat this subject with the somberness that I apply to all other topics.  I promise not to inject any puns, absurdities, or other frivolous attempts at humor, in dealing with this serious issue.

I informed my wife of this project because I needed her to wash all four pairs of shorts together, so as to provide a controlled, scientific environment for my evaluation.  She was not at all pleased that I was spending over $100 for blog posts (this is a two-part series) and wondered why this underwear costed so much. After I explained these briefs featured the latest odor-control technology, inexplicably her whole attitude changed and it seemed she was actually looking forward to the shorts arriving.

However, she did order me not to post any photos of me modeling the shorts on the blog.  I know this is a huge disappointment to my female fans, but you will just have to settle for your fantasies.  Posting these photos would have also risked “cease-and-desist” orders from the vendors, fearing tremendous sales loses if millions of people saw me in their undies.  

The Contestants:

Tommy John

Tommy John promotes its product as a “ballsy investment” and you know I like a company which speaks my language.  The product assortment ranged from $31-$48, including a pair containing titanium.  I choose their most popular “Second Skin Boxer Brief” which featured:

-         A contour pouch to “nestle the boys”

-         A horizontal fly for “quick access when nature calls”

-         A stay put waistband

-         No riding up, no wedgies 

The “Second Skin’s” are available in seven classy colors.  I choose the Merlot, because like a fine wine my grapes have gotten better with age.  Using my 15% online discount (on the $34 list) and after the website froze on my first attempt, my order after shipping costs totals $33.85.

Mac Weldon   

Mac Weldon claims they designed their boxer briefs from the ground up, with a no-roll waistband, stay-put legs and mesh cooling zones, for optimal comfort.  They come in three styles.  I choose the “Silver”, named not due to the color, but because it contains actual silver, which has anti-microbial and anti-odor properties.

Of course, I must always remember not to wear these shorts on airplane trips.  It would be awkward to have my underwear set off the alarm (similar to a woman’s underwire bra) at the security check.  If a cute TSA rep asked the question: “Sir, do you have a weapon in there?” There are oh, so, many replies I might give. But there is only one correct answer to this question and I’m not sure I trust myself to just say “No”.  Also, it would be darn embarrassing if the lead story on CNN is “Man’s underwear sets off airport alarms, delaying flights around the country for hours”.

These shorts are only available in five colors and three were out of stock, so I had to settle for the “True Navy”.  The price was $34 and I used a discount code to get free shipping.

Me Undies

Me Undies offer the “ultimate” feel-good undies which:

-         Are three times softer than cotton

-         Have comfy, durable, flatlock stitching

-         Feature a soft flexible waistband

-         Have a “generous pouch which gives your stuff the support it needs without feeling too tight”  

In perusing their website, I was a bit concerned that Me Undies also makes women’s undergarments. I’m sure though that the men’s and women’s stuff is made at different factories, on different machines and from totally different materials.  For some unknown reason, I spend extensive time on their website and I must say that the young, blond, woman modeling the lime green, “Lacie Thong” is rather impressive.

Me Undies is one of those fun, relationship-oriented, Internet retailers, so popular with Millennials.  They have an “Underwear of the Month” deal where they will ship you a fresh pair every month, although it seems to me that a month is a long time to go between changes.  Me Undies has by far the best color and pattern selection. Their “Bold” and “Adventurous” lines include many gay colors, and of course I am strictly using the archaic definition of that word.  I don’t really know why you would ever wear one of those fancier styles, unless you were at a party and everyone was running around in their ….. oh …. oh no, …. let’s just forget I ever mentioned that. 

It turns out that Me Undies are priced more mid-range than high-range. However, I decide to keep them in this study because they do so much Internet advertising and I already own some similarly priced underwear for comparison. I choose the very conservative, manly, Classic Dark Emerald, to package my jewels. The final price with free shipping and first time discount (off of $20 list) is only $15.

Duluth Trading Company

DTC does not directly advertise on Facebook, but I included them due to their high rankings when I did an Internet search to make sure I wasn’t overlooking any good shorts.  Their Buck Naked Performance Boxer Briefs received rave reviews from several sources.  They promote the shorts as: “No sweat. No stink. No pinch.”  The briefs are designed to wick sweat, control odor and stretch with you when working or working out. I choose the Deep Orange at $22.50 list, however after a hefty $10 delivery charge and tax, the total comes to $34.35. 

Price & Delivery

Now it is interesting that the totals for the high-end shorts came in at $33.85, $34.00, and $34.35 respectively.  There is of course no price-fixing here because the three companies all got to these prices in different ways.  And I can assure you as someone with many years of professional pricing experience, that this is a complete and total coincidence. 

Mack Weldon and Tommy John shipped my stuff first, a day or two after my order.  Duluth and Me Undies shipped one day later, the Me Undies arriving last, coming from California.  While the packages from Tommy John and Mac Weldon were very discreet, the ones from the other vendors were not. The Duluth Trading Company package had “Buck Naked Briefs” printed in large letters.  The day after the “Buck Naked’s” arrived, when I went out to get the mail, I thought I noticed the blond mail lady flash a smile and give me “the eye” before she drove away.  But it wasn’t because of the Buck Naked’s, it was because she had just delivered my Me Undies and that is some package! (see photo).  Oh My!

Next Post: The Evaluation and Rankings!