Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Wife Beater, defined...For Bill

To answer Bill's question, I have decided to be as thorough as I can possibly be, but should you have comments and/or corrections to make, please feel free to do so by clicking on the comments thingy. I am by no means an expert on the wife beater.

Bill wanted to know what exactly is a wife beater of the type that can be worn, not the type that actually pummels his spouse.

I don't know exactly why they are called "wife beaters," but this term appears to be the name for a piece of male underwear. It is the sleeveless undershirt, normally in white, that has big openings for the arms. Sometimes they are ribbed and are worn snug to the torso. Other times the fabric is more thin and cotton t-shirt-like and, when stretched over a beer belly, will begin to sag unattractively.

This is the same garment that is stereotypically seen stained with axel grease or fried chicken grease, depending on the genre of the film.

In any event, it is not a garment to be seen by the public anymore than you would want your slip peeking from under your skirt, bra strap sliding out from under your shirt, thong creeping out from under your jeans, or jock doing whatever unsightly things jocks do. It is an undergarment and, by definition, is meant to worn under something else. It is not, under any circumstances, appropriate or respectful clothing for a graduation ceremony. Or any ceremony, for that matter.
posted by Phoenix | 10:10 AM


At 6:55 AM, Blogger Bill Bell said...

Thank you, Phoenix. That was the upper part of my father's customary at-home attire.

At 2:41 PM, Blogger The Maximum Leader said...

Isn't it a "wife beater" because Clark Gable socked it to someone while wearing one in some movie who's name escapes me. It was the first time a man was shown on camera (in a major production) in an undershirt.

And didn't Brando beat up on Vivian Leigh in "Streetcar" while wearing one?


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