Friday, November 24, 2006

men don't buy their own underwear

I was doing some research on a topic and came across this. And it occurred to me that this is absolutely one of the points that make men so different in their buying behavior from women.
Take a look at this excerpt from Paco Underhill's book "Why We Buy":
"Men have always bought their own suits and shoes, but women, traditionally, shopped for everything in between. Especially they bought men's socks and underwear. Now, though, that's changing-men are more involved in their clothing, and women have enough to do without buying boxer shorts. In Kmart menswear departments, you'll still sometimes find a female-male ratio of 2 to 1 or even 3 to 1. But in expensive apparel stores, among more affluent men, males shopping for menswear now — finally — outnumber females."
Very well, this behavior seems to be slowly changing, but I believe that there are still many of us out there who let their wives and mothers buy their underwear for them, as seen in this Czech report that says, "...almost 60 percent of men surveyed admit to not having bought a single pair in the last twelve months. Another 60 percent were unable to name any brands of underwear. Most Czech men, it appears, prefer to let their mothers, sisters, wives, and girlfriends do the shopping".
And apparently this is a truly global phenomenon, as shown in this New Zealander history project, where one of the tasks is to "follow up the market research which suggests the majority of New Zealand males do not buy their own underwear...".
So, what does it say about us, men?
I once heard (coming from a woman) that "this only proves that men are just grown children". Go argue with that.


Gustavo said...

That is funny. Are men lazy? or do they just not care about the underwear they wear and the woman in their lives care more about it. Could it be that woman do the laundry and thus see the state of the underwear and decide upon themselves to replace the old ones. While this point to the end result - the purchase - it doesn't explain the why.

Nelson said...

Good point Gustavo. I really don't know the answer, but we could try to raise a few speculative answers:
1. Maybe women are to be blame by spoiling us as kids and then as husbands (that would be the easy answer)
2. Maybe men believe that the underwear is not an important piece of their wardrobe (as in "no one will see my underwear anyway")
3. Or they feel old underwear to be more comfortable than new ones
4. Or perhaps they get too attached to their underwear (maybe there's a symbolic value)?
5. Or maybe men have a different perception of how bad they old underwear look (as in "why did you buy me new underwear? Mine don't look so bad")
6. Or they simply find buying underwear a pain in the neck.

Most probably, it's a mix of all the above.
Thanks for the comment Gustavo, if you find anything about this, let me know.