Sunday, May 20, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 11

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on August 21st, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 24 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 24

Men in plaid

And other wardrobe malfunctions


What exactly does an 11-year-old boy do to a pair of shoes that makes them look like they were worn by one of the lancers in the charge of the Light Brigade? And I’m not talking about one of the survivors! After only two months, a new pair of Van’s tennis shoes looks more like it’s been dragged for two months behind a van. They smell like it, too!

This is the same child who wears a pair of new trousers once to school and returns home sporting a costume from one of the final episodes of Lost. There are holes in both knees, the hems are ragged, and the legs are streaked with grass stains and what I hope is mud.

Britween is too cool for jeans, which he hates. Whaaat? James Dean was cool, and he wore jeans. Elvis Presley was very cool when he wore jeans. Paul Newman was über-cool in jeans! Now, cool is supposedly some whiney blond kid in baggy pants that hang below his butt like an unchanged diaper. Although, to my boy’s credit, he detests the Bieber as much as he hates jeans.

“I just don’t like the material,” Britween explains about his jeans-phobia. “It’s too uncomfortable.”

OK, he has a point. I haven’t been in the jeans-pool since, well, since Paul Newman was über-cool. This was before the current trends of relaxed-fit, boot leg, or “Mom” jeans. In my day, jeans were made only for men, and straight leg meant exactly that. These babies were cut straight from the waist down with no room for hips, curves, or cellulite. Plus, you had to wash them about 140 times before they were soft enough not to chafe your thighs, something The King didn’t have to worry about. Well, at least not until 1972.

My husband, The Brit, will not wear jeans, either. Frankly, that’s a good thing because he has legs like pegs and most trousers fit him quite loosely at the calves. Even peg-leg jeans would flap about his lower limbs so much that he would attract crows.

The Brit is retired and these days prefers to wear soft, fleece athletic pants with a tie-waist that adjusts with his own. These are paired with a variety of light-weight tees and soccer shirts emblazoned with the Arsenal Football Club logo, his favorite British team.

Britween follows suit, or perhaps I should say he follows short. My little man (which he shall always be, even though his growth charts show he’ll eventually tower more than 6 feet in height) would wear shorts to greet the Queen of England if I let him. He loathes having his legs covered by anything other than shin guards and knee-high soccer socks.

Which reminds me, soccer season is upon us. My Britween is a goalkeeper’s nightmare. He has been known to make several hat tricks (three goals per game) each season and once scored eight goals in a game. He’s like a soccer ninja as he weaves and darts, sliding sideways and scissors-kicking the ball into the net. (Pardon me while I kvell—a nice Yiddish verb describing a grandma’s bragging rights!)

Britween is also my nightmare. I marvel, yet cringe as I watch his acrobatic feats on the field, fearing he’ll be injured. I also dread washing his soccer uniform. By the end of a game, it’s covered in grimy, smelly boy-sweat. I’ve even considered sending his socks to the Department of Defense because the malodorous fumes emitted by these bad boys could knock out a small country. The only reason I haven’t is because I’d probably be arrested for sending hazardous waste through the mail!

And the madness doesn’t stop there. I am constantly fighting a war with men’s underwear. I grew up with two brothers and, prior to meeting my Brit, had a couple of steady boyfriends. In all my years, I have never been able to fathom what men do to their briefs! Every time I see those brown streaks in their undershorts I hear that screeching violin soundtrack to the film Psycho (eeech! eeech! eeech! EEECH!).

I’ve heard these stains are called skid marks. What the hell, guys? Do you strip to your drawers and race each other around the parking lot by scooting on your asses during lunch hour? Is there some ritualistic farting game I don’t know about? I have to wash my clothes in the same washing machine, and when I encounter these horrid beasties in the laundry hamper I often prefer to toss them than wash them!

This means spending more time than I care to buying men’s underwear. I thought I was through with plaid fabrics after years of wearing Catholic school uniforms. But the Brit and Britween both prefer to wear plaid cotton boxers. Doing laundry at my house is like separating the various clans at the Highland Games. And now size is an issue as the little guy is not so little anymore.

“Are these yours?” I’ll query Britween from beneath a multi-hued plaid pile of underpants.

“No, those are GrandDad’s,” he’ll answer.

“Are you sure? They look awfully large,” I’ll reply, holding up what looks like a small kilt.

“Yes, Grandma! I’m sure,” he exasperates back at me. “They have a larger pee-hole than mine.”

Pee-hole? FYI: The open slit in front of men’s briefs has a name. It’s a placket. Unless you’re 11. Then it’s a pee-hole.

Laundry day at Waterman Manor is every day. My mounds of washing are a mélange of Scottish tartans, soccer slogans, and television show characters ranging from SpongeBob SquarePants to Mr. Spock.

I wonder if Mr. SquarePants’ tidy-whities have skid marks and, if so, what would Greenpeace say? Does Mr. Spock wear plaid boxers? If he does and there is a Mrs. Spock, I can only wish for her to live long and launder!


Ariel Waterman is proud to be Samuel’s parent and grandparent. Send her donations of air freshener via her editor, Ryan Miller, at

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