Well, a thong is a very brief article of clothing. It's purpose is to
cover up your genetalia with a pouch in the front. It is held in place by
a connecting strand from the bottom of the pouch that goes up the back
between the cheeks of your behind and connects to a strand that goes around
Thongs have been out as early as World War II. But at the time they were known as
posing straps. These were used by men who posed in art classes and were shy about
displaying their manhood. It was also a way for some publishers to sell semi-nude
pictures of men without the fear of being arrested for distribution of obscene material.
It began with Bob Mizer, creator and founder of the Athletic Model Guild.
He began taking pictures of men in what looked like earlier styles of thongs in 1945. He had all
kinds of male models. Some were college students and athletes who posed for art classes on their
campuses. Some were soldiers coming home from World War II looking for quick ways to make money
while looking for steady work as well as street wise men looking for a quick buck. Bob posed his
models wearing these pouches at various outdoor locations as well as rented studio sets. He had
them posed as warriors, wrestlers, and resting naturally. In some of the old photos, some models
had broad brief like tan lines that contradicted with the look of the pouch. Most of Bob's work
have been in black and white. They were distributed as a monthly magazine sold at art stores
or distributed through the mail.
He was taking chances with the style of his photography, as the US Post Office had him
arrested in 1947 for distribution of obscene material and sentenced to prison. He got out after
six months on appeal. He resumed his art after he got out, and it became popular among
collectors, early bodybuilders and young wrestlers. Because of his diligence and determination,
Bob Mizer's actions opened the door for other artists and photographers of the male form.
A collegue of Bob Mizer, Bruce of LA was another acknowledge photographer who worked with and
studied the Male form. Like Bob's models, Bruces were innocent fresh face country boys and well
seasoned discharged soldiers from the wars. These young men needed money, and Bruce and Bob needed
models! From what my research shows, supply and demand was good in those days. And both Bob and Bruce
kept their private lives free from public scrutiny which during those times had crusades against
activities considered un-American, un-Christian, and un-Manly.
One of Mizer's admirers took the posing strap design further.
From 1958 to 1969, fishnet posing straps were developed as a solution for male models who
wanted to be daring. Rip Colt of COLT Studios
began using fishnet straps in their earlier works to allow for more artistic freedom.
Au Naturel Tan Suit
In fact, thongs do have fashionable ancestors. One such is the loincloth worn by
some Native American tribes. Like all their other clothing, these were made
out of buffalo skin leather.
In African culture, many tribes used various materials for different uses. Some
loincloths were made out of weaved cloth. If a tribe lived in a more arid location,
then the loincloth was usually made of leaves. It should be noted, that Johnny
Wisemuller (of the Tarzan movies in the late'30) made this type of loincloth popular.
Hawaiians and other Polynesian people were responsible for putting the color in
loincloths. Some of the loincloths worn are traditional costumes. Some of the loincloths
took on the broad string back look similar to the thong.
Another useful ancestor is the dancer's belt. Though not really a belt, this
device is worn under tights to tightly and comfortably protect the genitals
while performing. Although it resembles a thong, it is not functional for every
day wear. There are two types of dancer's belts. Type one is of a heavier material
and is used to practice rigorous dance moves. Type two is lighter and is also worn
under tights or sewn into costumes designed to withstand the rigorous performances
An unusual but important article of clothing is the kilt. These are worn by many
people in the United Kingdom. Kilts are pleated skirts made mostly of wool. They
use the tartan pattern to identify clan families. Many Scottish Highlander clans
developed these techniques mainly for war and self-preservation. There are lower
kilts for everyday wear with matching suit jackets. And there are kilts with
attached matching sashes for ceremonial events.
Today, they are standard lower uniforms for the guards of the residences
of the Royal Family and the British Military. And are required wear if you participate in the Scottish Games. Many areas in the United States that have a high Scottish population hold their own version of these games that go as way back as the Middle Ages.
I have heard people ask what is worn under a kilt. Depending on where you are from,
ain't no telling. But the majority (to my knowledge) wear nothing underneath them.
I could be wrong because I've met someone wearing a full kilt, and he wore baggy boxers under them!! From 1993 to 1996, there was a kilt fad in dance clubs around the world. Many of them were shorter than the standard or traditional kilts. That style of kilt has been criticised as no more than a short skirt. And since most of them are made of wool or of a wool blend, I suppose that might be very itchy and uncomfortable. (OUCH!!)
A useful twin to the dancers' belt is the all time American favorite, the jock strap.
The jock strap is widely used by all athletes and comes in many styles. There's
the common wide-band jock used by high school and college athletes for minor
or low impact sports like basketball. Cup jocks are used by athletes who play
high impact sports like football, baseball, and soccer. Just recently, a thin band
jock was developed for swimmers and runners. And foam pouch jocks were created for cyclists and triathletes. These are sewn in to specially made spandex shorts and speedo swimwear.
Below are the many styles of this Japanese thong available for men.
As stated above, thongs in their earlier forms were used by men in colleges and
art schools to cover up the male model's genetailia. This was done so as not to embarrassfemale students in the class. In the early years, thong wearers were found on European and Brazilian beaches. Many Americans who went abroad discovered thongs and brought them back to the states. Thongs have served as both swimwear, tan wear and as underwear. Thongs had begun showing up in strip clubs and beach bars in the US as early as 1983. Strippers and dancers (female & male) quickly opted for thongs as part of their routine wardrobe. Thongs had begun showing up on some US beaches as early as 1985.
I've been asked to take a moment to clarify the history of thongs on women. This is because many guys today are under the assumption that thongs have been for females. Vintage art photography and newsreel film have contradicted those assumptions. Many of the old style pics have their female models nude.
These are more prevelent in pics in Europe. Very few males posed nude at the time and later pics show men in what was known as the earliest form of the posing strap. I had viewed many British documentories containing small bits of information about early photography and modeling, and many docudramas and films portraying art models.
Two such media come to mind, the movie 'Come Back, Little Sheba' and the book and docudrama 'The Naked Civil Servant'. In the movie 'Come Back Little Sheba', the young college girl who is a border at a rooming house explains to her landlady about her art class and her assignment of drawing a young man in his gym shorts. When the landlady quizzes her about drawing female models, the girl explains that most of them are nude. In the book and docudrama, 'The Naked Civil Servant', it's author, the late Quentin Crisp details his experiences as an art school model. In his book, he
mentions he posed nude several times and then decides to wear the posing strap. In the docudrama, the actor who plays him wears posing straps all in all the art school scenes.
Recently, I have viewed newsreel pics of a club in Dallas around the early 60's. All the dancers wore sequined bikini swimwear. Not a thong wearer in the place. I even heard stories from former dancers of that era who never wore thongs. Some of their suits were revealing, but not like thongs. The closest allowed for them to be nude was the predcessor to the 70's string bikini with strings on the side. And pasties covered the nipples.That is until the thong bikini for women came out from Brazil, then the world changed forever.
So for those of you who claimed and argued with me and my research that women were the first to wear thongs. Thongs was originally designed for men. If any of you wish to clarify or add any pertinent information to this, then feel free to e-mail me and give me your views.
Because of the revealing nature thongs, many people with so-called religious
convictions lobbied for changes in local and state laws claiming that thongs
are obscene and are considered unacceptable forms of swimwear. The resort city
of Myrtle Beach, SC enacted a very harsh thong law in the early 90's. This action
was the result of a long drawn out battle between city council members and free
thinking thong wearers because earlier attempts at enforcement, the courts could
not decide on what was acceptable. At the same time, a major talk show had a debate between a sharply dressed woman in a business, and another woman who wore thong swimwear while working as a beach hot dog vendor. Each made valid points, but the questionof morality outweighed the valid opinion of fashion. Many other beach location have followed suit in banning thongs. Even Speedo bikinis and tight fitting swimwear have come under fire by these narrow minded individuals. And that is why you see the beaches filled with men in (groan) baggy boxer swimwear. (And I thought the Victorian age or the 50's were over and done with!!)
Thongs for both sexes have shown up in fine lingerie stores. Some of the
earlier thongs for men ranged from ordinary to downright silly. That caused a
problem situation for male dancers and strippers at the time. And that was what
led to the designs we have for men today. Women had a much better selection in
those earlier time. Thongs for women ranged in all kinds of fabric and patterns
from silk to satin and from lace to floral.
When it comes to men, they have held off and made excuses such as, "how it looks",
"what if it falls off", "it feels weird", and "how faggy-looking" it is. What the
real matter was the butt strap. People have talked about the weird feeling of
having the strap going up between the butt cheeks. It's just a matter of finding
the right size of thong and a comfort level. Unlike some men who wear tight swimsuits, a tight thong is not necessarily better!!
Men who are conservative about revealing themselves will admire and lust over
their wives and girlfriends who wear them, as well as the women who dance at
gentlemens clubs. Women also enjoy the shows of thonged male performers like
Chippendale's and Aussie Heat. Slowly but surely, that attitude is changing.
When it comes to the fashionable aspect, the gay and lesbian fashion community
has taken to thongs well. And because of their overwhelming support here in the US and abroad, many outrageous styles and fashions have been developed. Some have been made to use as underwear and some for romantic liasons but the most popular thongs are used for tan and swimwear. It is cool to see an attractive guy or girl wearing a thong. To me, seeing someone attractive wearing a thong is a lot more attractive than seeing someone naked. With a thong, you really ARE showing your stuff!!
Over the years, designers like Calvin Klein, 2xist,
and recently, Body Body, Tactics, and E2U have
added their own versions of thongs to their underwear line. And because of the
designer name, these thongs began showing up in major department stores. Many people I have spoken with never heard of thongs until the designers came out with their line. These people believed that these designers invented thongs. To some friends, I pointed out how wrong the were because thongs developed by these designers were created to capitalize on thongs. Lately, many more designers are coming out with their own line of thongswimwear and underwear. And many more men see the use of not having boxers bunch up in their dress pants and slacks. In the 1970's, it was women who wore panty hose to get rid of visablepanty lines. Now many men are wearing thongs under some of their clothes to hide the buldges of
baggy boxers, and the thick lines of regular and boxer fly-front briefs.
However, more developed thongs like the anatomically designed Underthong from E2U have been gaining in popularity. As with it's other line of underwear for men, E2U spent many hours of experimentation and product testing. And the result was a durable and comfortable thong for men to wear under slacks, khakis, and jeans. UPDATE: E2U is no longer in business. Their site has been down for some time and I was unable to find any retailer who may carry any old stock.
|2xist Y Thong||E2U Thong||Body Body Thong|