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The media portrays nerds as wearing pocket protectors, taped glasses, and “outdated” underwear. Girls don “granny panties,” whereas guys don “whitey tighties.” At MIT, I’ve encountered pocket protectors and taped glasses, but never briefs.

I thought once, prior to a hookup, that I had finally encountered briefs. Fashion-conscious individual that I am, I had to interrupt the post-coital cuddling to ask about his underwear. It was then that — to my dismay — he informed me that the underwear in-question was really a pair of boxer-briefs. He proceeded to defend his decision, as if briefs would kill my libido.

That night, with the lights off, there was no way I was going to notice the extra centimeters of length that make the difference between briefs and boxer-briefs. However, I found it interesting that he treated briefs with such a stigma.

For both guys and girls, briefs are the “cool” undergarments until middle school gym class. In first grade, I remember a boy got “pantsed” on the playground, and he proudly stood in his Power Ranger briefs. No one gave him any grief — it was the Red Ranger!

As a child, I loved my Monday through Sunday undies even more than light-up shoes, and that’s saying something. I never wore my panties in the correct order, but I never cared to either.

However, I hate to kill childhood nostalgia, but it’s a rite of passage to go through the scrutinizing glances from fellow peers in the middle school gym locker room. Often times, this forces kids to conform — switching to boxers or bikinis.

Later on, the only person who usually sees our underwear is our sexual partner. So, our concerns gravitate to his or her opinion.

I used to sell lingerie, and I’m going to go against everything they taught me and say, “It’s not about what you wear, but how you wear it.” It sounds cliché, but think of it this way, briefs are sexy — not nerdy — in Calvin Klein ads. It’s not just because the guys have perfectly sculpted bodies, it’s because of the confidence that exudes from the photos.

The same theory applies to girls. If a girl is wearing a thong that makes her constantly pick at her butt, or wear a look of constipation, then the thong loses its sex appeal. Speaking of thongs, there is such an item as the comfortable thong. Hanky Panky uses this lace that seriously makes it feel almost like a cotton bikini, same goes for their lace boy-shorts, which according to the retail world is what men want now.

I think that wearing scandalous underwear all the time is trying too hard. I mean, during sex, the underwear almost always comes off. “Granny panties” worn with confidence are much sexier than a thong worn with a look of terror. The same goes for boxers versus briefs versus boxer-briefs. Heck, I say, go commando if it’s more comfortable! (Just make sure to wipe or use a Nundie and zip carefully …) Shopping for underwear should be like shopping for shoes — comfort matters for the everyday pairs.

The media portrays underwear as an integral part of sex. Based on my retail experience, I’ll say that it’s all propaganda. Unless it’s covered in brown stains or an obvious gift from an ex (*coughs* Cupid boxers), underwear should never be a cock-block. Sexiness isn’t about La Perla or Victoria’s Secret, but it’s about confidence, which is the sexiest creation anyone can wear to bed.