Sunday, September 22, 2013


I wanted to come up with something really, profound for my 100th post - and I got nuthin'.

Over the last few days, I've been bitching and whining about how much employment has changed (and since I am still unemployed, this is something I can really relate to).  Living in the Detroit area as I do, it's easy to see the impact unemployment has had here.  One hundred years ago, you could hire yourself out and easily make a living.  One hundred years ago, Detroit was the address to have - it was a bustling metropolis ready to set out and conquer the world.

Such is not the case any more.

The city is in complete disarray, although the emergency manager is desperately trying to fix it.  Crime is rampant.  Unemployment is staggering.  Dropout rates are escalating.  Et cetera, et cetera.

Although I doubt I could survive without the creature comforts of the 21st century (television, Internet, internal heating, air conditioning, microwave, cellular telephone), the way things are make me either wish for a golden era when everything was more simple, or a futuristic Star Trek-type lifestyle where everything is made simple for you.  Anything was possible.

With that thought in mind, I leave you with some images of a very flexible young man (show off!) who does things I can only dream of doing.  I have decided to take a hiatus from posting for a while ... but check back regularly, because once I get started again, you won't know what will be up for the next hundred posts!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Those Guys at the Gym

I’m not averse to exercise.  Granted, I don’t near enough as I should, and as I am a typical American with a sedentary lifestyle and job (when I’m working).  I play with my dog, do lots of walking, and try to watch what I eat, but when it comes to actual working out, that’s just not something I can do.

First of all, it’s not fun.  The only activity even remotely close to exercise that’s fun for me is swimming, because I’ve always liked water.  But to me it wasn’t exercise to be in the pool swimming laps and trying to become faster.  I did it because it was fun, gave me a decent suntan half the time, and I had a legitimate reason to wear a Speedo.  And I was among people who felt the same way, kind of a mesh of athletes who don’t take themselves too seriously and just want to stay as healthy as possible without turning into an over-muscularized freak.

That’s why those guys at the gym bug me.  Sure, they work hard to be impressive physical specimens, and I am sure they have plenty of groupies to back up their prowess.  If you want to be popular because of your pecs, go for it.  My problem is that, and I know I’m generalizing here, the majority of bodybuilders that I have met and known just aren’t that bright.  Their brain tissue is mistaken for a muscle, and it’s the one muscle they don’t exercise.

I shouldn’t pick on my exchange students, but here goes: “D.” is a perfect example of The Gym Bunny, the guy at the gym I hate to be around.  First of all, everything is diet – protein, supplements, won’t eat this, can’t eat that.  And when he did eat, it was six times a day.  Next, he didn’t study.  His idea of studying was – surprise – working out.  He went out for soccer and wrestling, and did a great job, but his grades were a little lacking.  Lastly, he showered eight times a day.  (Lord knows what he was doing in there.)  His getting-ready routine was even worse: pick out the right super-tight shirt, get his hair coiffed just so, and out the door.  And the worst, pettiest thing I can say is that for a bodybuilder-in-process, the voice didn’t match the body.  He had a very thin, high voice (a little hesitant, I grant you, because he didn’t trust his own English), but you expect a muscle hunk to have this deep baritone voice that makes small children fall down dead.  He didn’t.

“D.” was a product of his environment, in that his older brother owns his own gym and works as a fitness trainer.  I’ve seen pictures of the brother; he’s not Mr. Olympia, but he’s no softy, either.  Unfortunately, “D.” shared that Brother hung out with a bad crowd, had done steroids, and engaged in risky behaviors.  I felt it necessary to ask (since such behavior happens in locker rooms – both in porn and in reality – all the time), if by “risky behaviors,” he meant hustling.  He said no, but there were a lot of other things his brother was taking that he shouldn’t.

It all comes back down to cheating, doesn’t it?  You want to be at your best, but the only person you end up cheating is yourself.  You’ve got the whole “roid rage” thing, and I want to know what happens to your body when you lose all that muscle fiber.  Skin stretches, so will it literally hang off your bones in baggy folds, like we’ve seen in who-knows-how-many cartoons?  How much is too much?

Seems to me that these guys in the gym just need to work toward a basic goal of good health instead of going for the veiny, have-to-wear-sweats-all-the-time-because-Hollister-doesn’t-have-pants-in-my-size look.  But we’re American, and we’re taught that when we have some, we want more.  So again, I ask you, how much is too much?  When do you go from “buff” to “built” to “ripped” to “Oh, my God it’s moving towards us”?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Underwear Profile #18: Channing Tatum

All hail Magic Mike himself, Alabama native Channing “The Chan-Chan Man” Tatum.

Tatum was born and raised in Cullman, Alabama, the son of Kay (née Faust), an airline worker, and Glenn Tatum, who worked in construction.  He has a sister Paige.  His ancestry includes English, Irish, French, German, and Native American.  Tatum's family moved to Mississippi when he was six, and he grew up in the bayous near the Mississippi River, where he lived in a rural setting.

Tatum was athletic while growing up, playing football, soccer, track, baseball, and performing martial arts; he has said that "girls were always [his] biggest distraction in school."  (Who could have guessed?)  As a child, he practiced wuzuquan kung fu under the lineage of Chee Kim Thong, and spent most of his teenage years in the Tampa, Florida, area, and initially attended Gaither High School, before he was given the option by his parents of either selecting a private high school or attending a military school; he chose Tampa Catholic High School, where he graduated in 1998 and was voted most athletic.  Afterward, Tatum attended Glenville State College in Glenville, West Virginia, on a football scholarship, but dropped out.  He returned home and started working odd jobs.

US Weekly reported that around this time Tatum left his job as a roofer and began working as a stripper at a local nightclub, under the name "Chan Crawford."  In 2010, he told an Australian newspaper that he wanted to make a movie about his experiences as a stripper, which led to the movie Magic Mike.  He later moved to Miami, where he was discovered by a model talent scout.

In 2000, Tatum was first cast as a dancer in Ricky Martin's She Bangs music video, after an audition in Orlando, Florida; he was paid $400 for the job.  He soon moved into television commercials, landing national spots for Mountain Dew and Pepsi in 2002.  He subsequently signed with a modeling agencies in Miami, but later found success after being cast by Al David for Vogue magazine and soon after appeared in campaigns for Abercrombie & Fitch, Nautica, Dolce & Gabbana, American Eagle Outfitters, and Emporio Armani.  He was picked as one of the Tear Sheet "50 Most Beautiful Faces" of October 2001.  Tatum also signed with Beatrice Model agency in Milan, Italy and Ford Models in New York City.

Tatum has said that his modeling career has helped him with his life, specifying that "It's made my life, and my family's life, a lot easier, because I never knew what I wanted to do and now they don't really have to worry about me anymore.  I've been able to explore life, and through exploring it I've found that I love art, I love writing, I love acting, I love all the things that make sense to me.  And I've been given the chance to go out and see the world, and to see all the things out there.  Not everyone gets that chance.”

Well spoken, Mr. Tatum.  And we here at Under-who, Under-when, UNDERWEAR want to thank you for the chance to see you in yours.  (You may want to consider of change of moniker to Channing Tate-YUM.)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Are You a Saint or a Sinner?

What makes a guy a catch instead of a loser?  What makes a guy a saint instead of a sinner?  According to The Nice Guy’s Guide to Women and Dating, common “Nice Guy” characteristics are:

·         Having an external locus of emotional control.
Since nice guys lack internal self-worth, their feelings are easily influenced by forces outside themselves. Social anxiety, self-consciousness, shyness and a lack of social confidence would all be examples of this characteristic.

·         The need to hide their perceived flaws or low self-worth and everything that causes it or comes from it.
This would be things like toxic shamed sexual desire, toxic fear-based nervousness, self-loathing, putting others down and in reality any feelings they deem inappropriate or flawed.  This need to repress themselves often leaves nice guys vulnerable to addiction.  After all the feelings have to be dealt with somehow.  This can also cause perfectionism and a need to do things right on the first try based on an idealized false self.  This is also why nice guys generally fail to live up to anywhere near their full potential because they are constantly plugging leaks in their facade and trying to avoid an unmasking.  This is also why nice guys tend to avoid facing their fears like approaching attractive women or overcoming shyness.  This would involve revealing their perceived flaws and low self-worth.

·         The need to find someone special who they can make their emotional center.
This is due to a need to gain validation and increase self-worth.  In their childhood this role was fulfilled by their parents.  They can't feel good about themselves unless someone they need, desire and admire feels the same way about them.  This would generally be a woman.  The problem is, this is once again external validation and the effect tends to wear off or diminish over time.  This is primarily because nice guys tend to lose respect for their partners.  After all, who would ever want to love, cherish and be with someone who is so obviously flawed?

·         The need to give and put others needs above their own.
This is done in an effort to get approval and feel better about themselves.  This behavior was learned in childhood when they found it was in their best interest to put the needs of their emotionally unstable, selfish and/or needy parent(s) needs over their own.  This is why nice guys can be handy to have around if they really like you and you need a favor.  This also leaves them very vulnerable to being taken advantage of and in possession of very weak boundaries.

·         The need to fix things, situations and other peoples problems.
This is similar to the need above, and is worth mentioning because it explains why nice guys are very co-dependent and often attracted to emotionally unstable women and other situations where things need fixing.  Being around other needy and selfish people makes them feel needed. After all you can't fix what's not broken.  Nice guys are usually the master of this because they have a lot of experience trying to fix one or both of their parents.  These are also the kind of people they feel most comfortable with and experience the best chemistry with.  Misery loves company.

·         The need to avoid conflict.
Nice guys are generally scared to death of conflict and will avoid it at all costs.  This is practically the definition of a cowardly male.  This is due to the fact that they are worried about the disapproval of others and because they hate drawing attention to themselves.  This is exactly the opposite of what they are trying to accomplish which is to blend in with the crowd in order to avoid conflict.  Nice guys are always people pleasers to a fault.

·         Being timid and shy.
I decided to give this its own category because even though it's not always present, it usually is.  I think every nice guy struggles with this to one degree or another and it's just that some are better at covering it than others.  It also tends to disappear if Mr. Nice Guy finds a way to get a lot of external validation, but without that he will default back to being shy and timid.  This is based a need for approval or eternal validation which causes an extreme fear of rejection.  There is also the fear of conflict, the fear of revealing shame and flaws and the fear of being seen as less than perfect.  These fears cause guys a lot of social anxiety and therefore results in awkward behavior.  It also causes a fear of revealing sexual desire or love shyness.  This is usually a one way ticket to the friends zone because it kills dominance, confidence and therefore attraction.

·         The Nice Guy Belief.
Nice guys truly believe that if they can just find a way to hide their shame and their flaws and act perfectly as they think others would want them to, then all their dreams will come true and all their needs will be met.

Now, what about the opposite?  What characteristics leave nice guys not so nice?

·         Manipulative behavior.
This is a hallmark bad behavior of nice guys that makes them not so nice.  They give to get by employing hidden contracts.  On the surface when a nice guy starts doing all sorts of nice and thoughtful things it appears unselfish, but the nice guy is always looking for a payoff.  Most people are wise to this.

·         Dishonesty.
Usually done to avoid conflict, hide true motives or hide perceived flaws.

·         Acting aloof, secretive and passive aggressive.
This is a common tactic nice guys adopt once they figure out the Mr. Nice Guy routine is a bust.  It is a form of avoidance.  They figure that since women aren't attracted to neediness that they can hide it with being aloof and secretive.  This is generally true, but being aloof and secretive often results in isolation and dependency on drugs, porn and/or prostitution.  Being passive aggressive avoids direct conflict.

·         Compartmentalizing of their behavior.
Nice guys had lots of practice doing this to hide their shame and bad behavior as children.  This often continues into adulthood to rationalize things like infidelity, porn abuse or drug abuse.  This also helps to keep them in denial of the seriousness of their situation.

·         Becoming controlling.
Nice guys often appear cool and calm on the surface, but underneath they are usually full of rage, anger, resentment, hate and/or frustration.  This can come out at unexpected times and seem totally out of proportion to the circumstances.  An example would be Jekyll and Hyde behavior when Mr. Nice Guy drinks alcohol.

·         Acting like an arrogant jerk.
When a nice guy finds success in garnering loads of external validation they will often flip from an inferiority complex to one of superiority.  They in effect let success go to their heads.  Mr. Nice Guy can turn into a total prick if he no longer needs you.  This is also done in an effort to gain false self-worth and confidence because one way to make yourself feel better is to lower the value of others.

Interesting, no?  While I was reading this, I found myself reviewing my own behaviors and trying to rationalize some while decrying others.

So, who’s a saint and who’s a sinner?  Hhrrmm?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Chris Pratt's Transformation

Actor Chris Pratt just posted a photo to his Instagram account showing off his dramatic weight loss and newfound six-pack.  Pratt lost the pounds for Marvel's upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, in which he'll have the lead role as Star-Lord.

How did he do it?  "Six months no beer. #GOTG Kinda douchey to post this but my brother made me," Pratt wrote.

Before beefing up, Pratt was most well known for playing the bumbling Andy on NBC's Parks and Recreation.  "I just like to gain weight and lose weight. It’s a rollercoaster," Pratt joked to Vulture of his weight loss and gain for film roles.  "I just want to do this. I want to touch God."

Pratt packed on a reported 60 pounds for his role as a lawyer in the upcoming Delivery Man in which he co-stars alongside Vince Vaughn.  In 2012, he got into tip-top shape for the Oscar-winning Zero Dark Thirty.  "I was about 50 pounds or 40 pounds lighter than I am now," Pratt later told E! Online at the film's Hollywood premiere.  "I worked out really hard and I cut out everything bad for me for a long time and I just focused on trying to become a believable Navy SEAL."

The actor shared photos of his filming physique while appearing on Conan.

In 2011, Pratt played real-life Oakland A’s baseball player, Scott Hatteberg, opposite Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Moneyball.  Before that, Pratt appeared as Anne Hathaway’s ill-fated fiancé in the 2009 comedy Bride Wars.  That same year, he married his real-life love, actress Anna Faris.   The comedy couple welcomed their first child, Jack, in August.

Despite his A-list looks these days, let's not forget a lighter-haired Pratt starred as Bright Abbott on the WB's "Everwood" way back in 2002.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


A triathlon is a multiple-stage competition involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines.  While many variations of the sport exist, triathlon, in its most popular form, involves swimming, cycling, and running in immediate succession over various distances.  Triathletes compete for fastest overall course completion time, including timed "transitions" between the individual swim, cycle, and run components.  The word "triathlon" is of Greek origin from τρεις or trei (three) and αθλος or athlos (contest).

Triathlon races vary in distance.  According to the International Triathlon Union, and USA Triathlon, the main international race distances are:
  • Sprint Distance; 750 meter (.465 mi) swim, 20 kilometer (12.5 mi) bike, 5 kilometer (3.1 mi) run;
  • Intermediate (or Standard) distance; commonly referred to as the "Olympic distance": 1.5 kilometer (.93 mi) swim, 40 kilometer (25 mi) bike, 10 kilometer (6.2 mi) run;
  • Long Course; commonly referred to as 70.3 or the 'half-Ironman'; 1.9 kilometer (1.2 mi) swim, 90 kilometer (56 mi) bike, and a 21.1 kilometer (13.1 mi) run; and
  • Ultra Distance; commonly referred to as 140.6 or the 'Ironman'; 3.8 kilometer (2.4 mi) swim, 180.2 kilometer (112 mi) bike, and a full marathon: 42.2 kilometer (26.2 mi) run.
The most recognized branded Ultra Distance is the Ironman triathlon.  Transition areas are positioned both between the swim and bike segments (T1), and between the bike and run segments (T2) and are where the switches from swimming to cycling and cycling to running occur.  These areas are used to store bicycles, performance apparel, and any other accessories needed for preparing for the next stage of the race.  The time spent in T1 and T2 is included in the overall time of the race.  Transitions areas can vary in size depending on the number of participants expected for the race.  In addition, these areas provide a social headquarters before the race.

The nature of the sport focuses on persistent and often periodized training in each of the three disciplines, as well as combination workouts and general strength conditioning.

While specific rules for triathlon can vary depending on the governing body (e.g. USA Triathlon, ITU), as well as for an individual race venue, there are some basic universal rules.  Traditionally, triathlon is an individual sport and each athlete is competing against the course and the clock for the best time.  As such, athletes are not allowed to receive assistance from anyone else outside the race, with the exception of race-sanctioned aid volunteers who distribute food and water on the course.

Triathlons are timed in five sequential sections:
  • from the start of the swim to the beginning of the first transition (swim time);
  • from the beginning of the first transition to the end of the first transition (T1 time);
  • from the start of the cycling to the end of the cycling leg (cycling time);
  • from the beginning of the second transition to the end of the second transition (T2 time);
  • finally from the start of the run to the end of the run, at which time the triathlon is completed.
Results are usually posted on official websites and will show for each triathlete his/her swim time; cycle time (with transitions included); run time; and total time.  Some races also post transition times separately.

Other rules of triathlon vary from race to race and generally involve descriptions of allowable equipment (for example, wetsuits are allowed in USAT events in the swimming stage of some races when the water temperature is below 78.1 °F (25.6 °C)), and prohibitions against interference between athletes.  Additionally, the use of flippers or other swim propulsion and flotation aids are illegal in triathlon and can result in disqualification.

One important rule involving the cycle leg is that the competitor's helmet must be donned before the competitor mounts (or event takes possession of, in certain jurisdictions) the bike and must remain on until the competitor has dismounted; the competitor is not required to wear the helmet when not on the bicycle (e.g. while repairing a mechanical problem).  Failure to comply with this rule will result in disqualification. Additionally, while on the bike course, all bicycles shall be propelled only by human force and human power.  Other than pushing a bicycle, any propulsive action brought on by use of the hands is prohibited.  Should a competitor's bike malfunction they can proceed with the race as long as they are doing so with their bicycle in tow.  There are also strict rules regarding the 'bike mount' line.  Competitors may not begin riding their bicycle out of transition until they are over a clearly-marked line.  Mounting the bike prior to this may incur a penalty (example: a 15 second time penalty at the London 2012 Olympics was awarded to Jonathan Brownlee, a competitor from Great Britain, for mounting his bike too early.)

The key words - Swim!  Bike!  Run!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Underwear Profile #17: Raoul Bova

Italian actor Raoul Bova falls into that category “gets-better-looking-as-he-gets-older.”  (Even my mother, who fancies herself as an expert on, well, everything, has proclaimed there are no unattractive Italian men ... and she knows Raoul by name.)  He’s a legend in his native Italy, and he’s no stranger to the United States, although the underwear fanatic at large might be hard-pressed to think up his moniker upon seeing his photo.

He has quite the modeling and acting resume in Europe, and here he’s known for his roles on television show What About Brian? and the movies Under the Tuscan Sun and Alien vs. Predator.  He was also the dubbed Italian voice of Hercules in the Disney animated film of the same name.

Italians aren’t necessarily known for their shyness, and although Bova seems well at home in a Speedo or even doing artful nudes, there doesn’t seem to be much out there in the underwear department.  But no worries; take a good look at this handsome Calabrian, who’s married with three children.  (Darn.)  Odds are you’ll recognize him from magazines, ad campaigns, and the like and go, “NOW I know that guy!”