A Woman’s Point of View: Thongs & More
First let me thank SM_Thongguy for connecting me with Selam from Trying My Vest. Her blog is a lifestyle blog where she focuses on useful, well-designed items, typically skin care, clothing, and other household products. Last year she did a post called ‘#TMITuesday: Thongs,’ which inspired SM_Thongguy to reach out to her. Let’s get into our conversation.
In your post ‘#TMITuesday: Thongs,’ you mentioned you tried thongs about the age of 17 and found them uncomfortable and developed a hate relationship with them. First what got you interested in trying thongs for the first time? Then why did you decide to give them another try recently?
I guess the reason I was interested the first time was just to see what it felt like. I had heard from older girls it would be more comfortable, though for a long time I recoiled at the idea (my family is pretty conservative in that regard). So, I didn’t really have an environment where I could explore more freely–I wasn’t making my own income, for example, and so did not have as much agency over the things I could buy.
So then, when I initially tried a very practical-seeming pack of black thongs, I found them really uncomfortable because they had seams and were probably not quite the right fit, and I think they were made from some cheap polyester (they were from Walmart).
I think I tried them out again senior year of college mainly because I was wearing a white, fitted dress to our “senior ball” (a kind of college prom basically lol) so I needed something that wouldn’t show underneath and was willing to put up with some discomfort. This time, my friend helped me shop and though I picked one out at notoriously cheap Forever 21, it was a soft material with better seams, and I found that it was more comfortable.
Later, as I started out on young adulthood and was able to experiment with them more, I found several that I really liked. I think my favorites are actually synthetic materials, particularly those made for exercise, because they are really comfortable and I wear them under leggings to yoga and various fitness activities. It’s great because then I have no VPL and it feels like wearing nothing, in a comfortable, supported way.
Were you surprised you did a complete 360 with your view on thongs?
That’s a good question. I guess this period of my life was a very experimental one, so I wouldn’t say I was surprised but I wouldn’t say I expected it either. It was more like, let me try this again and see what happens, and what happened was that I found options I liked and it worked well.
On the other hand, there were other things I tried again, like high heeled shoes, which I just decided were uncomfortable and not worth it. I can wear maybe 1-1.5in heels max, but anything terribly tall or too thin is just…no 😛
Personally I find thongs to have more benefits than the practical ones (For me great support, comfort, and a cooler base layer option for a few). I find thongs (bikini style too) also can give you some confidence and make you feel sexy (maybe sensual is a better word). Do you feel that thongs bring more to the table than their practicality?
That’s true! For me I think it’s more about what kind of thong it is. If it’s a nude exercise thong, then it’s pretty boring and I’m using it primarily for its practical purpose. However I think the shape of thongs, and ones that come in fun colors, are exciting. It’s nice to have something fun and colorful underneath, especially if the rest of my outfit is pretty bland work wear. It’s a way to add a little spice to an otherwise normal day. Another favorite is whenever my underwear matches my bra, it’s definitely a nice little confidence boost, and something about the fact that in most situations no one can tell except you is appealing–it’s really not for anyone else, just yourself.
I also think sometimes the practicality and the confidence or added sensuality go hand-in-hand. Thongs worn with certain clothes might make those clothes fit me better, or might make them feel differently on my body too, so it serves to “boost” other clothes as well!
I’m definitely wilder with my underwear than my outerwear. You are right about it being really for ourselves. Do you feel there are any stigmas associated with women’s thongs?
I think women’s clothing always has a lot of double standards. The length of skirts or shorts for example – – too short is “slutty”, too long might be “prudish”, and inbetween is usually just unflattering. And everyone has different definitions for what is “too short”. I think it’s similar with thongs. I remember someone calling some of my comfy briefs ugly and being (jokingly) judged by friends in college for buying underwear in packs – – but hey, as a student I was more focused on saving money. Similarly, with a thong I can imagine someone calling it “slutty” or taking the fact that I have them to mean that I’m a certain type of person.
So I suppose, as a woman my issue tends to be more that there are stigmas for just about anything. I think maybe that’s why women’s clothing then carries more of a stigma when on the opposite gender–it’s seen as less “weird” when women wear men’s clothing, I feel, than the reverse, unless it’s very overtly and obviously masculine. Maybe this is because the clothing doesn’t have the same stigma to begin with, in addition to the stigma on “cross dressing”.
I agree that men can’t get away with wearing women’s clothes as well as women can get away with wearing men’s. Like you said it would depend on the extreme of masculinity/femininity of the item. Women would have more options I would say then men in wearing the others clothing. I think this is a good segway into men’s bikinis and thongs unless you have anything else you want to add. We were connected by SM_Thongguy. You were surprised about him being hesitant when speaking to you on the thong/bikini subject. Why were you surprised?
I was surprised by SM_Thongguy I think partly because I didn’t yet put myself in his shoes. At first, I just thought, what’s the big deal? It’s 2019, I felt like people had to be more open-minded by now about how others dress or express themselves, especially if it’s only seen by themselves and their intimate partners, as underwear is. I guess I was just looking at it from my own perspective–if a male friend came to me and said they loved thongs, I would probably just volunteer to go shopping with them.
But I know that I suffer myself from worrying about what other people might think of my clothing choices, my behavior, or other aspects of my life, even more banal things like a shirt being a little to short and showing midriff, or clothing being too form-fitting for certain settings. At first I didn’t equate these two things since underwear was a more “hidden” choice, but I realized that once you start talking about it with others it is no longer hidden; now people *know* the kind of underwear you wear and might have questions, which makes it just as difficult as other clothing decisions. When I thought about it that way, SM_Thongguy’s concern made a lot more sense. But I’m glad that there’s dialogue about this, so people can understand that choosing clothes that make you feel happy should be what’s most important, not what others might think or what is socially accepted as “normal”, which I think we’re now all realizing should be subject to a healthy amount of questioning.
Going to jump back to your first attempt at thongs, since it seems like your experience was similar to a lot of us guys when we tested out the waters of bikinis and/or thongs. You said your parents are conservative, so it sounds like you didn’t ask them about trying out a thong. Is that the right assumption and if so why didn’t you ask them?
Yes, that’s definitely true. I don’t think it was necessarily that they would frown upon it–more so that neither of my parents knew anything about it. I think my mom allowed me to buy a pack from walmart once (lol) but that was pretty much it, and I didn’t expend energy to get nice undies until after I graduated college.
I think the close-minded people voice their opinions more than the open-minded ones, so it seems people aren’t open-minded. Also location seems to play a role into open-mindedness. A lot of fear with the non-norm underwear is also related to being seen in the locker room changing or your underwear peeking out of your pants. My next question is were you aware of the skimpier styles of underwear for guys before SM_Thongguy reached out to you?
Wow interesting! I definitely did not think about locker rooms or other places where you might change in front of people, thanks for providing that perspective. I don’t know if I was aware about underwear specifically, but I was generally aware of “genderfluid” clothing brands or initiatives that aim to make all types of clothes for all types of bodies, including feminine styles that may better fit men’s bodies and vice versa. So I guess I wasn’t too surprised when I learned about thongs specifically for men.
A lot of the anxiety of wearing bikinis and thongs I think comes from the stigma that they are seen as feminine underwear. Then most comments you see from women on the subject are pretty negative. You’re obviously open minded, since you are talking bikinis and thongs with me. So my next question is more an open-ended one. What are your thoughts on men’s bikinis and thongs?
I think the broad social norm and stigma surrounding all of this is that around gender presentation, and gender norms. My father used to constantly tell me that I should wear more feminine clothing, particularly skirts and dresses, and seems upset even now that I don’t have many dresses or skirts (I find them impractical and I work as a mechanical engineer).
I think that anyone should feel free to wear whatever they are comfortable in, and whatever makes them feel best. Whether it is men wearing bikinis or thongs or painting their nails, or women wearing traditionally masculine clothing. I think the norms around how we dress and express ourselves really have no basis in anything. The only time I think a dress code should be strictly adhered to is when it is about safety–it makes sense to wear closed-toed shoes and long pants in a machine shop, but everywhere else I wish we could all have free-reign. I actually wrote a blog post myself on this general subject here: https://medium.com/@selamjie/an-engineers-guide-to-glowing-up-668bcebabb73
Do you think your friends would be as open to men wearing bikinis and thongs? Has the subject come up now that you’ve been discussing it with SM_Thongguy and I?
It hasn’t explicitly come up yet, but I know a few people who would definitely be open to it. We have spoken more generally about men and women’s clothing or personal freedom of expression, and I think these people share my views. I do think this is in large part due to the efforts of the queer community, as most of my friends would probably be aware of this issue through that lens. However, it’s not just about LGBT people; there’s been more of the broad conversation around gender and expression for both men and women in recent years (just based on what I’ve personally noticed).
What would be some words of wisdom you would give to a guy thinking about venturing into bikinis and/or thongs? Guess could be for a woman too, probably more so with thongs than bikinis.
I suppose for anyone in any endeavor, and especially when it comes to style, my advice is to be true to yourself in whatever you do. Want to express yourself? Want to experiment? Just do it! I hope, slowly, our society is becoming more accepting of people living their truths and expressing themselves freely. What’s more, I think when others see how genuinely and freely you express yourself, they might be encouraged to do the same, or at least they’ll be exposed to a new perspective. I love dancing even though I’m not very good at it, but I still post silly videos on social media all the same, just because I feel happy when I express myself and when I do what I enjoy. As long as it’s something safe and harmless to others, I think it’s great when people are bold, and I try to applaud this–someone wearing an unconventional outfit or showing their personality in music and dance–whenever I see it. Best of luck!
I like to thank Selam for taking time to join me in this conversation and giving us a look inside an open minded woman’s thought on the subject of bikinis and thongs.