One Man’s Junk (And How to Tame It)
By Michael Conniff

One man's junk is his girlfriend's treasure. So keeping the jewels close and comfy in a good junk drawer makes perfect sense.

One Man’s Junk (And How to Tame It)


Guys don’t complain. We never talk about our precious tripartite instrument, our omnipresent implement of reproduction and sexual pleasure — our junk

We all know the truth: our junk has long been terrorized by tighty-whities and boxers.

When a man thinks no one is looking, he pushes his junk around off-stage or under the table.

Your humble correspondent dedicated himself to finding men’s underthings that actually address the grim reality of a man’s junk.

When it comes to underthings, women are braver than men.

In the spirit of revolution, women burned their bras not just to show their dissatisfaction with the body politic, but to reclaim their own bodies. Women’s underwear got redesigned, and then re-redesigned, and they are still being improved today, always with the emphasis on comfort. The result is that today everything from bustiers to Jogbras is available in every possible permutation.

We guys are different. We don’t complain. And we never talk about our most precious tripartite instrument, our omnipresent implement of reproduction and sexual pleasure, the standard two balls and standalone pecker. Our junk.

And because we won’t mention it, the profound discomfort we suffer on a minute-to-minute micro basis goes unacknowledged. For all the money spent on fashion and the search for the new new thing, almost no one in the fashion industry bothers to look at that thing between our legs.

A man’s junk has always been squeezed by briefs or left hanging by boxers that offer no support.

But we all know the truth. A man’s junk has always been terrorized by the tighty-whities known as briefs; the boxers that offer no support whatsoever; and the so-called boxer-briefs which are neither.

Start with this: nothing works when it comes to taming those daunting, dangling participles—not the briefs, not the boxers, not the boxer-briefs. When a man thinks no one is looking, he pushes his junk around off-stage or under the table, yanking on his variegated parts in a hopeless quest for order. The discomfort is so constant that every man’s neverending attempt to manually manipulate his junk is a given, like picking your nose when no one is looking. Thus squirming and shifting, a man goes through life with his junk in no man’s land.

The only exception is the sports jockstrap all boys learn to detest, the veritable genesis of the word jock. Yes—it more or less holds our boys in abeyance, but at the price of naked cheeks left for every schoolboy to see. The material and the smell and the many mass washings leave them scratchy to the point of unwearability. Jockstraps have always been a total embarrassment, never seen and rarely heard of—for good reason.

The next step up the evolutionary ladder, the compression short, is unbearably tight and holds the junk so closely that even a man’s man feels the need to manually intervene.

Your humble correspondent was no longer willing to accept this pathetic but unequal state of affairs, and thus dedicated himself to finding men’s underthings that actually address the grim reality of a man’s junk. He was on a mission for all mankind to find something that works by looking in all the nooks and crannies where men’s fashion goes mano a mano with men’s fitness.

So he set off looking for shorts that would embrace said junk sans suffocation, with what is euphemistically called “support.” He found sly references across the tangled Web to “pouches” used for junk containment without mentioning junk management. He succumbed to the relentless “buck naked” television advertising of Duluth Trading Company without finding a satisfactory answer.

This quixotic quest for junk comfort led him all the way to the awkwardly named Bristlecone Mountain Sports in Basalt, Colorado. At Bristlecone, the humble one serendipitously came across three pairs of Patagonia baggies on sale in his size and bought all three on the spot. He had not worn baggies for decades but they are still more comfortable than almost anything else—a kind of boxer concept with a very roomy brief—and a throwback with at least some respect for the primacy of a man’s junk.

But your correspondent was looking for new technology to address the job, not just the same old, same old, so he enlisted the Bristlecone sales staff in his desperate quest. The first ray of light was a pair of shorts from Smartwool Merino Sports-Lined Short($60), a brand associated with base layers and skiing and socks rather than fashionable solutions to a man’s junk. To your correspondent’s amazement, the Smartwool shorts were the most comfortable he had ever worn: the merino wool lining was miraculously snug without being overly tight.

Though the SmartWool shorts did not address your correspondent’s junk directly—not even a nod or a wink—the result was about 50 percent more comfortable than anything he had ever worn before.

But the extensive research had left your humbleness with slim pickings: one pair of SMARTWOOL shorts and three Baggies on sale. You might even say even the best options ignored the grim reality of his junk entirely. At the last minute, with all hope lost for a lasting solution, the most excellent Bristlecone salesperson found what looked like the answer to every man’s unspoken underwear prayers: SAXX, “The Ultimate Adventure Underwear,” the illustration on the back showing the design of the “Ballpark Pouch,”  two pieces of interior material aligned so as to keep the privates from falling into territory most foul.

SAXX Quest ($34) were brightly colored, almost psychedelic, and the material was light and comfortable. Sure enough, the two slim pieces of material did indeed keep your correspondent’s balls in place. In that moment—even before the legal cannabis gummy bears consumed that night—your devoted chronicler of the unmentionable felt elation only the right underwear can bring.

The end of the quest? Not quite. For your favorite junk reporter had a dinner to get to, and these junk placeholders—these two pieces of thin material—were simply not up to the task. When he began moving, so, alas, did his junk.

Even so your faithful scribe was not unhappy, being in possession of the most comfortable lined shorts and boxer-briefs underwear he had ever owned. And along the way, he had learned the ultimate truth: a man’s bedeviled apparatus was never meant to be tamed.