Tuesday, August 08, 2006
the underpant poll - results
this is a non-discriminatory blog. it is not the author’s wish to pathologise in any way the underpant-wearing conventions of the readers. some participants indicated they felt “abnormal” for wearing underpants to bed. if you feel that you, or a loved one, may be distressed by this, please seek professional help.
The intention of this research project was to investigate the underpant-wearing conventions of a sample of bloggers, with specific reference to their bed-time attire. The genesis of this study lies in a conversation which the researcher was involved in a couple of weeks ago, where she was challenged by others present; simply that not wearing underpants to bed was somehow not the normal thing to do. The discussion was initiated after the researcher laughed at the idea of someone wearing underpants under pyjamas, which was met with howls of “of course, that’s what you do! you HAVE to wear underpants underneath your py-JAMAS!”
As the challengers were catholics, and all came from the same family, this researcher decided to take the question to a wider group of people. Participants were asked to volunteer information on two questions:
1. whether they wear underpants to bed
2. what religion they are
Data were collected in the form of comments, and using qualitative methods (Miles & Huberman, 2000), were analysed in an attempt to tease out themes and patterns. A visual data matrix was constructed* which enabled these themes to be cross-referenced, so that conclusions could be drawn.
The size of the sample group was 53 participants including glenn’s wife.
After careful analysis** of the data volunteered by the 53 participants, several statements can be made. It is important to note that the researcher has made some assumptions, which she will defend if readers wish to criticise. Following is the major assumption:
- citing that you wear undies to bed with a t-shirt if you are a girl does not count as wearing undies to bed. This researcher feels that while technically this sort of answer would be included in the “affirmative undie-wearing” class of respondents, in this case the underpant has become something other than underwear. It has become like shorts, or similar. In this way, the researcher has chosen to count as primary “affirmative undie-wearing” data only those participants who explicitly state that they wear undies under pyjamas. Secondary “affirmative undie-wearing data” includes people who wear undies under nighties, as distinct again from people who wear undies with a t or another top.
31 people stressed they wore no undies to bed. Of these, some said they would occasionally wear undies, if at someone else’s house.
15 people said they wore undies, this ranged from wearing them under pjs, to just wearing undies (mostly men), or wearing undies with a t-shirt (5 people)
Of the undie-wearers, several (3) emphasised the underwear was clean.
"when you’re on your ladytime"
I had trouble deciding whether the above quotation, or “when the painters are in”, was the more delightfully quaint euphemism for menstruation. Nevertheless, 6 respondents specified that while they were non-undie wearing sleepers, they would wear undies when they had their periods.
There were three stated converts, who have moved from undie-wearing at night-time, to not. Cuntman shared with us a story of how he slept with undies under pjs until a somewhat traumatic caravan holiday he had with friends. The 8-year-old was deemed “wrongheaded” by his friend’s family who then “made” him do the “nocturnal freeballing”. Cuntman is, however, glad they did. Now he would prefer to sleep naked, but kids in the bed make this difficult.
Another convert who also said she was glad she had changed her ways was michellesarah, who stated that she used to wear pjs with undies, but recently did a similar poll amongst friends, realised she was “abnormal” (michellesarah’s own words”, and changed. As michellesarah said:
“feel much better for it, actually. Shits got time to BREATHE. I wear baggy PJ pants. Yo!”
Clokeeey was another participant who also stated he used to wear undies under pjs but recently has changed this practice. He offers no indication of whether this has been a positive experience, or indeed whether the choice was fully made by him.
“a good airing”
Finally, one theme that emerged from this study was that mothers had told their daughters to not wear underpants to bed, as they needed (presumably) to air their vulvas. Some cited that it’s the “most hygienic option” while others (6) came right out and stated that they don’t wear underpants to bed because they need to air “down there” and specifically, their mothers had told them that. Anne Altman was perhaps the most evangelical about this issue, saying:
“[you’re] not supposed to wear underpants to bed”
“shit’s gotsta breathe”
Anne even invokes jesus, saying “no doubt jesus didn’t wear underpants to bed.”
Interesting anomalies, further research ideas
- some people indicated that undie wearing was connected to whether a person was a morning or evening showerer.
- the issue of hygiene was raised by a couple of undie-wearers, which directly contradicts the non-undie wearers following mother-advice.
- yublocka shared that she has a kind of underpant-demotion system, where once day-time undies get a bit ratty, they move into the job of night-time underpant and then eventually get thrown away. it would be interesting to see whether this featured in any other participants’ selection systems.
- dj stated that even when he was a child, he would take off his clothes in bed “seconds after” he was tucked in by his parents. it would be interesting to explore whether patterns were set early on, whether they have changed over time, and what factors have influenced any conventions.
- the man at the pub stated that while he had a “no undie wearing in bed” policy in his household, for lovemaking reasons, “oddly, a warm jumper is acceptable on a chilly night”. interestingly, delightfuljen also stated sometimes wearing a jumper to bed. is this a trend?
- nailpolishblues stated that “at the most – socks” were worn. it would be interesting to do a follow-up study on socks in bed.
The religion aspect of this study quickly became irrelevant. Anecdotally, there seems to be no evidence to support my original hypothesis that catholics would be more likely to wear underpants under their pyjamas. Thanks to everyone who shared about their religious connections.
The weird coincidence that I mentioned a couple of days ago is this. Someone told me that at their work-place, people had been discussing this issue: ie, wearing underpants to bed or not. This was kind of freaky, and I wondered whether it was someone who’d read this blog, making their own little poll. I’ve never heard of a blog bleeding into real life in that way.
* this is a lie.
** this is also a bit of a lie. But the results speak for themselves.