July 23, 2017

"Later came grad school, Sweet ’n Low, Datsun 240Zs, Tab, thong underpants and free love — it was clear: Life had been lovingly fashioned around us."

"Us" = Baby Boomers.

The line is from "Why Are the Baby Boomers in Such a Bad Mood?" by Marilyn Suzanne Miller (in the NYT).

If you begin with delusions like thong underpants are lovingly fashioned around you, you're on the path to disappointment.

Wikipedia provides this history of the thong:
The thong, like its probable predecessor the loincloth, is believed to be one of the earliest forms of human clothing and is also thought to have been worn mostly or exclusively by men. It is thought the thong was probably originally developed to protect, support, or hide the male genitals. The loincloth is probably the earliest form of clothing used by mankind, having originated in the warmer climates of sub-Saharan Africa where clothing was first worn nearly 75,000 years ago. Many tribal peoples, such as some of the Khoisan people of southern Africa, wore thongs for many centuries. Much like the Japanese fundoshi, these early garments were made with the male genitalia in mind.
It was so not lovingly fashioned around a female Baby Boomer.
A descendant of the loincloth and thong is the jockstrap, created by Chicago sporting goods company Sharp & Smith in 1874. The first historical reference to the thong since then is in 1939 when New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia ordered nude dancers to dress more appropriately...

Prior to its entrance into mainstream fashion, g-strings were primarily worn by exotic dancers. In the modern Western world, g-strings are more commonly marketed towards females but are worn by both sexes. By the late 1980s, the style (for females) had made its way into most of the Western world; thong and g-string underwear became more and more popular through the 1990s due to shows like Baywatch, where numerous females were recorded wearing thong swimsuits.
Maybe you thought that TV show was about you.
In the 1990s, the thong began to gain wider acceptance and popularity in the United States as underwear.... In the late 1990s and early 2000s, some people wore thongs with low-cut hipsters and deliberately exposed them over the top of their trousers....
Now that the history of the thong has reached the 1990s, the name Monica Lewinsky belongs in this Wikipedia article, but it's not there (yet). Oh, wait. There's a separate Wikipedia article, "Social impact of thong underwear." Excerpt:
Monica Lewinsky gave evidence during the Lewinsky scandal that she was flirting with Bill Clinton in Leon Panetta's office, and that she lifted her jacket to show him the straps of her thong underwear above her pants. Some of the news media in America used thong underwear as a metonym for smut in the Starr Report...
Metonym? Let's switch to the "Explainer" at Slate, "The Thong Show" (1998):
There has been much discussion of Monica Lewinsky's thong underwear. Thong underwear has even been adopted as a metonymic for the smuttiness included in Starr's report. (In fact, underwear isn't the raciest bit in the report--"oral-anal contact" is more shocking by far--it's just the raciest bit TV producers will air.)...

Lewinsky's... Aug. 11 testimony says "no one else in the room could have seen [the thong]..." In other words, showing the thong isn't a prudish way of saying that Lewinsky stripped for the president. Showing the thong was a lewd trick Lewinsky knew, something just slightly more salacious than a suggestive wink.
Lewinsky — who was not a Baby Boomer — might have thought the thong was lovingly fashioned around her. And Bill Clinton — definitely a Baby Boomer — would probably agree.

It's all narcissism. We Baby Boomers have soaked in it for a long long time, and if the illusion that it's all lovingly fashioned around us is wearing thin and we have no backup resources, we deserve to be sad.

83 comments:

Darrell said...

No clothing should be designed that gets stuck in the crack.

rhhardin said...

Thongs avoid visible panty line. It's not for comfort but for style.

Ann Althouse said...

Baby got backup resources.

Meade said...

I got your back up resources right here, baby.

Jeff Gee said...

Get a room!

rwnutjob said...

But floss.
My wife says: "I've spent my life keeping my panties from crawling up my ass.
Why would I do that on purpose?"

exhelodrvr1 said...

No thong in your heart?

Tommy Duncan said...

Althouse said: "We Baby Boomers have soaked in it for a long long time..."

You paint with a broad brush. I'm the same age as you are, but I'm struck by the great differences in our life experiences and perspectives.

Fabi said...

"Oral-Anal Contact" would be a great name for a band.

traditionalguy said...

A Datsun 1600 was lovingly fashioned around me. The 240Zs came out later with the name changed to Nissan. But Boomers liked Pontiac GTOs the best.

dreams said...

"We Baby Boomers have soaked in it for a long long time..."

And look at what the sorry-ass baby boomers did to our country and as if they didn't enough harm, their sorry-ass issue have carried on the family tradition.

Meade said...

Jeff Gee said...
"Get a room!"

I hear Leon Panetta's office is vacant.

Scott said...

Many Navajo people feel disgust when presented with food that has been stabbed with a knife.

Darrell said...

The 240Zs came out later with the name changed to Nissan.

The 280ZX was the first to wear the Nissan badge. But early models still had a Datsun badge, too.

Sebastian said...

Narcissism is the right diagnosis: the generation of self-congratulation.

Tim Gilliland said...

I hate to say this, but...
Some of us older peoples have a greater appreciation of what underwear is FOR and it has nothing to do with style.
As far as baby boomers being narcissistic, I guess I am one but have long felt that the world will be better off once the veterans of "Flower Power" and "The Summer of Love" are gone. If that means my demise as well, -it's a price I am willing to pay.

Sydney said...

I'm old enough to remember when "thong" referred to footwear.

Earnest Prole said...

I'm enthusiastically willing to sign on to the narcissism diagnosis, but thongs are a pathology that afflicted primarily the generation that followed the Baby Boomers.

Fernandinande said...

"Why Are the Baby Boomers in Such a Bad Mood?"

They're not. Perhaps she's referring to other fNYT aficionados.

Life had been lovingly fashioned around us.

The author is the probably the only person who claims to think that, which isn't surprising for such a strange yet meaningless phrase.

Scott said...
Many Navajo people feel disgust when presented with fo od that has been stabbed with a knife.


My inside information in the form of a restaurant run by Navajos says "not really".

Tim Gilliland said...

A clarification: I am from the tail end of the boom. I remember when Bill Clinton was billed as "The First Baby Boomer President" as if this was the real sliced cheese.
I more often referred to him as, "The Homely Horndog from Hope"

Earnest Prole said...

Butt floss you mean.

Tim Gilliland said...


"Many Navajo people feel disgust when presented with food that has been stabbed with a knife."
Honestly, I saw that pic and thought it looked disgusting.
Doesn't anyone in the kitchen understand the concept of food presentation?
the whole sandwich is a mess. It looks like the waiter dropped it in the kitchen and scraped it back on the plate, and stabbed it with the knife as to dare the customer to complain.

surfed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tank said...

@trad

The 1600 was my first car. Great fun. A little sporty car with a four on the floor. Made the terrible mistake of selling it to get my first motorcycle.

David Hampton said...

I'm toying with the idea of "thong DEPENDS." With decent advertising a market could be made for the "Boomer" generation if a set of tongs came with it.

Richard Kolseth said...

The malady has ended, but the thong lingers on...

Earnest Prole said...

Baby got backup resources (for white Boomers)

Tank said...

Tank is in a good mood virtually all the time.

Life is good.

Trump is in the White House.

Going to the beach today in NC.

Laslo Spatula said...

The prevalence of the thong tells the story of political and economic America: the middle has practically disappeared -- even swallowed up -- and the left cheek and right cheek are fully divided.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

The American Era akin to Granny Panties is over.

I am Laslo.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

How do you accidentally flash your throng straps under a coat? There There isn't enough real estate on a thong to give a glimpse. Oh - you are wearing something,... I thought you were nekkid.

dreams said...

Baby boomers, the thong that keep riding up USA's ass.

Laslo Spatula said...

"There isn't enough real estate on a thong to give a glimpse."

Whale Tail.

I am Laslo.

Xmas said...

While I was aware if the cigar thing, I did not know there was salad tossing in the Starr report.

Laslo Spatula said...

1999: The year Prince expected the Biggest Party, and the release of the following:
Sisqo:Thong Song

There is a reason the 'Y' in Y2K is a pictorial example of the back of a thong.

I am Laslo.

Larry Day said...

I guess I'm a boomer, and I'm just about the happiest sombitch on earth. Of course, none of my girlfriends wore thongs. Maybe that's the key to happiness, stay away from the girls with a strap up their crack.

William said...

In my lifetime, shoes and especially running shoes have improved dramatically. There have been no great ergonomic advances in underwear.......I always assumed that thong underwear was worn as a Saturday night kind of garment. Do women wear it as an everyday, go to work kind of item?

David said...

"Marilyn Suzanne Miller [the author], an original writer for “Saturday Night Live,” is the author of “How to Be a Middle-Aged Babe.”

So she's been sagging downhill for several decades now. Sad indeed.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Maybe that's the key to happiness, stay away from the girls with a strap up their crack.

Heh.

Ann Althouse said...

The most interesting thing about the history of the thong is that it's all about the MALE anatomy. It's "lovingly fashioned" around MALE genitalia. It's all about MEN. It was a design discovered very early in human prehistory for the purpose of protecting male genitalia. Once you realize that, it's as absurd for a woman to wear a thong as it is for a man to wear a bra. A man with big enough "moobs," might want a "bro"/"mansiere," but what is the woman's comparable situation that she needs what is, in design, a jock strap?

Larry Day said...

The only significant advances in underwear in my lifetime have been in the fabrics. Quick drying and anti-microbial for us outdoors types.

Laslo Spatula said...

Thongs work best on young girls.

I do not want to see a thong on most Baby Boomers.

So I did a bit of Googling and found The Blue Thong Society. Text, not pictures, in case you are afraid to click. Or compelled to click by the idea of pictures of Baby Boomers in thongs. Either way.

From the site:

"We carry with us the powerful message that lives in our hearts, which we gained (and we don't mean pounds) from what we fought for in our youth and how it made us the wonderful and powerful women we are today. We’ve never been good at sitting down and shutting up and we’re not about to start now. Blue haired? No way. Blue Thong? Any day."

I am Laslo.

Larry Day said...

Ann Althouse said...
"The most interesting thing about the history of the thong is that it's all about the MALE anatomy. It's "lovingly fashioned" around MALE genitalia. It's all about MEN. It was a design discovered very early in human prehistory for the purpose of protecting male genitalia. Once you realize that, it's as absurd for a woman to wear a thong as it is for a man to wear a bra. A man with big enough "moobs," might want a "bro"/"mansiere," but what is the woman's comparable situation that she needs what is, in design, a jock strap?" Now that's the question, isn't it.

Sofa King said...

You're so vain, you probably think this thong is about you.

Laslo Spatula said...

David said...
"Marilyn Suzanne Miller [the author], an original writer for “Saturday Night Live,” is the author of “How to Be a Middle-Aged Babe.”

"So she's been sagging downhill for several decades now. Sad indeed."

Ahhh, but anyone who could collaborate with Michael O’Donoghue can't be all bad.

"...a collaboration with Marilyn Suzanne Miller called Kittens in a Can, and a Fox sketch comedy show pilot called TV."

I am Laslo.

David said...

Actually, on closer look, she was not a one hit wonder. She wrote for a number of good shows over the years but the credits seem to stop about year 2000. She is now about 67 years old.

Never mind.

Bill Befort said...

The Boomers are so over that someone like Bill Nye can be openly impatient for them to die out: https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/07/21/bill-nye-older-people-need-to-die-for-climate-change/

Darrell said...

@Bill Nye

You first.

Paco Wové said...

Many tribal peoples, such as some of the Khoisan people of southern Africa, wore thongs for many centuries.

Pee-yew, as my kid would say.

Meade said...

"Why Are the Baby Boomers in Such a Bad Mood?"

Serious answer #1: 45 percent of workers ages 55 or older have less than $100,000 in savings and investments.

Serious answer #2: The drop in physiological energy levels after about age 60, for some reason not fully understood, came to them as a sad surprise.

Serious answer #3: Their Millennial Generation adult children, for whom they 2nd-mortgaged and deferred maintenance on the nice homes in which they raised the ungrateful kids in order to pay the exorbitant tuition costs for the colleges and graduate schools of their choice, show zero interest in using a day or 2 of their vacation time to go help mom and dad paint their old bedroom, hold the ladder for dad while he climbs up to patch the leaky roof, or clean out the crap they left in the basement when they went off to college 15 years ago.

Grrr.

Meade said...

Serious answer #4: Many of those Millennial Generation adult children openly express enthusiasm for sitting on mom and dad's Death Panel.

Bad Lieutenant said...


Scott said...
Many Navajo people feel disgust when presented with fo od that has been stabbed with a knife.

My inside information in the form of a restaurant run by Navajos says "not really".
7/23/17, 7:55 AM


I certainly do detest gratuitously stabbed food, even fancy toothpicks annoy me (though shisk kebab is great). But in the case of this sandwich Ann posted, it may have been necessary for self-defense. Vile sammy.

FullMoon said...

Sebastian said...

Narcissism is the right diagnosis: the generation of self-congratulation.
7/23/17, 7:49 AM


But, you are better than them, right?

Big Mike said...

It's all narcissism. We Baby Boomers have soaked in it for a long long time, and if the illusion that it's all lovingly fashioned around us is wearing thin and we have no backup resources, we deserve to be sad.

@Althouse, you've spent way too much time in the Madison liberal enclave. Get an hour and a half outside the city In any direction (except towards Milwaukee) and meet real Boomers fixing plumbing, repairing clocks, working hard, and basically doing what they can to get by. The Boomers you wrote about in that paragraph live in academia and/or upper middle class liberal cocoons in large (generally deep blue) cities.

It's also true that liberal news media have been hating on Boomers for a long time. I vividly recall an article in your beloved Washington Post that was inveighing against "70 year old Baby Boomers." At the time I was 59, and since I was born in 1946 (the first year of the Baby Boom) it was clear that modern liberals hate any and all old people -- the alleged faults of the Baby Boomers are merely the latest excuse.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

No mention of drugs or political activism? (Presumably "everyone" hates Trump). I would have thought escapism was at least a substantial component of boomer "culture," and it would not be surprising if the cold grey reality from which you are trying to escape is always still there somewhere, waiting for you, especially as you get old.

Oso Negro said...

@Meade - Serious answer #5 - What a drag it is getting old.

Michael K said...

I remember when Bill Clinton was billed as "The First Baby Boomer President" as if this was the real sliced cheese.

Bill was the archtypical Boomer president. Stained dress and all.

He was wearing hearing aids at 50. Heart attack at 58 with multiple bypasses. Then chest pain and stents at age 63 and vegan diet at 65.

I wonder if he has driven a car since he was president? I know Hillary hasn't.

Mike Sylwester said...

I write a blog about the movie Dirty Dancing. There I recently posted an article titled "How far did Baby and Johnny go sexually?"

http://dirty-dancing-analysis.blogspot.com/2017/07/how-far-did-baby-and-johnny-go-sexually.html

The article's main theme is that Baby Houseman kept her panties on during all of her sexual activities with Johnny Castle. Baby did not want to:

* get pregnant

* catch a venereal disease

* show her pubic hair

In their first sexual encounter, Johnny kept his pants on, and he and she only dry-humped.

In their subsequent sexual encounters, he undressed bare-naked, but she kept her panties on and only gave him hand jobs.

Laslo Spatula said...

@Mike Sylwester

Okay, you talked me into checking out your blog!

I am Laslo.

Pinandpuller said...

I did a log of substitute teaching in the oughts. There were many budding Lewinskys running around. And the amount of tattoos and piercings among JH kids was disturbing.

Pinandpuller said...

*lot

Mike Sylwester said...

I am a baby-boomer and I did drink Tab all the time, so that part of the article is true.

Ralph L said...

This Spring, I was walking down S Main St. when a large, high-yellow (if that's still permissible) woman emerged from an apartment house and crossed the street. After a second of confusion, I thought she was naked, then I realized there was a black thong barely visible under the love flaps. What a relief!

I thought Monica snapped her thong at the Big He.

Ralph L said...

And the amount of tattoos and piercings among JH kids was disturbing.
Hey, they're over 18, and they've been boinking for years, so let them have a stupidity marker.

buwaya said...

Loincloths may be due for a return indeed. They are very comfortable tropical wear, in the same category as shorts. They have the advantage of being more flattering to a muscular male physique (Titus may have something to add in this regard). For examples, you can google Igorot or Ifugao loincloth, and you may find some quite elderly gentlemen wearing them. But of course it helps to have spent a lifetime climbing mountains daily.

But they suffer, in terms of practicality, from a lack of pockets, and the inability to have a loose underwear layer beneath. Boxers and shorts together are an almost ideal practical tropical combination, whatever their aesthetic defects.

Laslo Spatula said...

buwaya said...
"Loincloths may be due for a return indeed."

One word: Zardoz.

I am Laslo.

Howard said...

The tail end of the boomers had it best: Feathered hair, Ditto jeans, halter tops and Dolfin shorts.

FullMoon said...

At the time I was 59, and since I was born in 1946 (the first year of the Baby Boom) it was clear that modern liberals hate any and all old people -- the alleged faults of the Baby Boomers are merely the latest excuse.

Anyone blaming or disrespecting the "boomers" are basically complaining about, Mom, Dad, Grandma, or Grandpa, right? Complainers seem to be the "poor me" generation.

Howard said...

I forgot the Toga parties freshman year in the dorms.

Big Mike said...

@FullMoon, well, finding a way to hate on old folks beats spending time and tax dollars on us, doesn't it?

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that technically, our only real Baby Boomer President has been Barack Omaha (born in 1961). Clinton, GW Bush, and Trump were all born in 1946, which puts them (just) post WW II, but arguably not Boomers. Around the world, there was apparently a boomlet that year, compensating for time lost during the war, but then that boomlet died out the next year. Then, in the non-English English speaking world, the real Baby Boom started in 1948/1949, with the marriage of all the women who had gone to work in industry to free up the men to go to war. And that was the real cause of the Baby Boom - the increased marriage rate of the generation that went to war (from countries that weren't physically devastated by it). Notably, Clinton's and Bush's parents were (ostensibly in Clinton's case) married during WWII II, and Trump's were married several years before, and not in the push after the war to free up jobs taken over by women by getting them to marry returning vets (GHW Bush apparently spent the last year of the war back in the US training other pilots for the Navy, which is how he was able to get married before the end of the war). Interestingly, Baby Boomer family sizes were on the slope of decreasing family size dating from at least our Revolution (with their parents' generation being the anomaly, thanks to the Great Depression). It was apparently marriage rate, and not family size that caused the Baby Boom - all the maiden aunts and uncles of the previous generations married and had kids.

Tyrone Workman said...

Thong fashion evolved alongside the shaved pubic hair fashion, which is pretty much de rigueur anymore, for those under a certain age.

wwww said...

our only real Baby Boomer President has been Barack Omaha (born in 1961). Clinton, GW Bush, and Trump were all born in 1946, which puts them (just) post WW II, but arguably not Boomers.



I think of boomers as people who came of age during the Vietnam War. Did you enlist, wait for the draft, or avoid?

Someone who is born in '61 doesn't absorb anything about the news until they are five years or older 66-71 maybe? If first conscious news/ culture memories are from the '70s, not a Boomer.

There was a technical fertility bump during baby boom years. It had been trending downward to almost below 2.0 (depression years), but population spiked up to over 2 in the years following WWII.

David said...

Zardoz, the movie even Sean Connery couldn't save.
As for loincloths with pockets, advanced technology and American ingenuity have brought us the utilikilt.
https://www.utilikilts.com

Pedro said...

Full disclosure: This comment may offend some sensibilities and I apologize in advance. Here goes: When Nissan decided to enter the North American market, they failed to advise marketing. A week before first shipments, they came to marketing and aksed them for an appropriate brand name. "And we need it by week end!" Marketing replied, exhasperated, "Dat soon?!"
Sorry. Can't help it. I'm non-correctibly, or, incorrigibly, insensitive to cultural differences. 'Cuz I'm a last year (1960) baby-boomer who learned from the 15 years of self-interested boomers afore me.
Also apologize if somebody already posted this joke.

tcrosse said...

For a short time in the early 1970's in Madison there was a group called the Sweaty Loincloth Film Society. It showed porno reels.

Achilles said...

So serious question for women: Why do you wear underwear?

I haven't worn underwear since my first field problem in basic. You get used to the freedom and nothing is crawling up your crack. I get that some men don't like stuff flopping around but if you don't wear underwear you can piss and walk at the same time which is important in group movements..

But I see no real reason for women to even bother with underwear. My wife spends so much time looking for comfortable underwear. Maybe I will ask her... or not.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

So the next time you shudder as you see a man in shorts, just be glad it's not a thong. Or is that your real problem with men in shorts, you'd like to see more?

glenn said...

Being an OTTBB (older than the baby boomers) I'm constantly amused by the ones who have little to no savings and are fast approaching retirement age. And are still spending every cent they make.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

So serious question for women: Why do you wear underwear?

To absorb sweat, odors, and other odds and ends that would soil our overwear; as a supportive structure for our feminine hygiene accouterments; because our lady bits are delicate and welcome a protective layer between them and our pants or skirts; because we need to keep our undercarriages fresh and clean through frequently changed absorbent undies or risk yeast/urinary infections.

Jim at said...

"The 240Zs came out later with the name changed to Nissan."

Not quite. My '77 280 is a Datsun.
Datsun didn't become Nissan until the mid-80s.

MayBee said...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I love you!


Fabi said...

I thought women wore underwear so they could leave them under the covers down by the footboard. Marking their turf, so to speak.