by Lorne Holden
Semper ubi sub ubi.
It is the only thing I remember from high school Latin. It means “always wear underwear,” and I must say the joy in that expression did a good job cracking open my interest in that very old language. What is it about underwear that makes me feel like smiling inside?
I didn’t always smile. In fact, I never paid much attention to underwear until I went to live and work in France for a year. Friends, it is not a cliché, the French really do take their lingerie seriously. Truly, they do. There, you would never wear a bra and panties that didn’t match. I found this fact a curiosity when I first arrived but I have to admit, by the time I left that country, my bra and panties matched every time.
My Dad calls underpants “skivvies” – a term that first appeared in 1932 as nautical slang for underwear. I love this expression because something about it always makes me think your underwear is about to fall off. Which makes me think of a friend of mine who wanted to invent self-dissolving underwear for those moments when you were in a heated romantic encounter and you just wanted your undies to disappear.I’ve only just learned that the expression ‘Going Commando” refers to when you are actually going without your underpants, which I guess is a way of making even the self-dissolving underwear unnecessary. Apparently, in the 19th century, women wore heavy petticoats to keep the cold breezes from blowing their skirts up, because they in fact, were going commando early on! And until the mid 1800’s, it was considered improper for a woman to wear anything between her legs. This is why women rode sidesaddle and why pants were considered a male only garment. In the opposite end of the spectrum, there were the early American settlers who had themselves sewn into their underwear for the winter so they didn’t have to deal with buttons. No baths for them ’till Spring!Ever wondered where the expression “Long Johns” came from? Apparently, they were originally worn by a bare knuckled boxer named John L. Sullivan in the late 1800’s. He wore long woolen underwear while boxing in cold weather.
Whatever your opinion on underwear is, may you enjoy whatever you happen to be wearing or not wearing, matching or not matching on this upcoming Valentines Day. And if the cold weather has got you down, take heart. National Underwear Day is August 5th and it will be warm by then. You might be able to find an Undie Run in your neighborhood!
Lorne Holden is an Artist and author of the Bestseller “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done.” Get your copy here!