Wry Exchange

FES Underwear
03-16-08, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Culture, Exchange Students, Outbounds Outbounds | Tags: ,

 Last month, I wrote about the basic FES wardrobe, but I didn’t include underwear.  Underwear deserves it’s own post.
My experience with men’s underwear around the world is mostly by washing it as a hostmom.  🙂   I do purchase ladies panties when on vacation.  They’re like useful souvenirs.  Underwear can be quite different in other countries.  As always, do your own research.  Look at websites of stores in your new country.  Ask people from that country if you can without looking like a pervert.
Boys-As far as I can tell, boxer-wearing teens are only in the US.  They seem to be old man underwear in the rest of the world.  A lot of boys arrive in August with pajamas, and it’s hot and humid here.  I’ll buy them a funny pair of boxers and suggest they may like to sleep in them.   After that, they seem to all want more, and end up wearing boxers at least half the time.    The underwear FES boys bring from home include tighty-whiteys, boxer briefs, low rise briefs, and bikini.  No thongs (yet.)   The underwear the boys bring with them look tiny, they must wear them very tight.  They look like kids’ sizes. 
GirlsBras are different.  Who knew?  The first time I went to Chile, I stared at women’s chests.  I couldn’t quite understand why, until I realized their bosoms were shaped differently.  My husband and exchange sons said they didn’t see any difference. (not sure if they told me the truth.)  Cups can push breasts together or keep them way apart.  Bra cups can shape breasts into points, push them up, change their shape or form a uni-boob.   In some cultures, girls and young women start out wearing underwire bras.  The idea is to keep breasts from sagging as they age.  Girls may also sleep in their bras.    Panties-A few places still have only white cotton panties.  How boring!  Girls coming here seem to love Victoria’s Secret, but not the panties so much.   A lot of them think they’re granny panties, even the low-rise bikinis.  The problem seems to be too much of butt cheek is covered by the panty.  Many of the girls wear thongs, and a lot wear undies that are wider than a thong, but cover less than half of their butt.  I’m not sure how that’s comfy, but I don’t have to wear them.  I’ve heard plenty of bitching about how we have weird underwear here, so you’ll be the one whining in their countries. 

Packing-Take 10 pairs of underwear with you.  Take at least 10 pairs of socks with you.   You can always buy more or have mom send you some.  Socks have a way of walking off, so take multiples of the same style.  If you have to wear a uniform, see what socks you need to wear.  Girls may need navy or black knee socks.   Use those ziplock bags that you vacuum out the air so they don’t take up much packing space.
Washing-Socks and underwear may not be washed with the other laundry in your new home.  Ask when you first arrive.  You may be responsible for handwashing them.  We’ve hosted Argentines who wash socks and undies along with themselves in the shower daily.   We’ve had many students from around the world who don’t want anyone to see their underwear.  I don’t know why, but ask your host family or the maid the proper procedure.  You don’t want to be rude.

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