About two weeks ago in a posting Hegomeny mentioned that he had started freeballing because when he was growing up just after the war many boys did not wear underpants because of wartime rationing.It would be interesting to know if boys underwear was rationed during the war years and how many boys went without because Moms decided to use the rations coupons elsewhere.I grew up in the late fifties/sixties and at primary school we were not allowed to wear underwear for any sports at nay time of the year.This was supposedly for health reasons.Probably about a quater of my P.E class were full time freeballers by grade 7.What was interesting that of the boys who freeballed one was a set of twins whose father was a Doctor who had suggested to his sons to freeball for the sake of good health.Has anyone had similar experiences?
I've read that certain women's undergarments- anything made of silk, nylon or rayon were rationed- or simply unavailable during WW-II because such material was reserved for making Parachutes and such but I have never read or heard of any effect on male underwear here in the states.
I think it's interesting that so many European posters note that underwear was not permitted under P.E. clothes. I never heard of this here in the US- on the contrary- many coaches even required students to wear jockstraps during P.E. and school sports.
I was in school in the 60's and even then some guys were afraid to remove all their clothes when changing for gym class. Many of them wore their jock over their white briefs, that way they didn't have to remove their briefs. I think even then some were afraid of others looking at their cock and balls in the locker room. Now me I was afraid if I looked too much I would get a hard on. Another thing you had to worry about was if someone was going to sneak up behind you and pull your gym shorts down. This happened many times during the year. The instructors just looked the other way except if you were freeballing. Then while your shorts were around your ankles you received a lecture about not wearing a jock strap.
You didn't have to shower in PE? When I was taking PE ('59-'64) it was made clear that showers weren't an option- they were a requirement! And any kid who acted shy was teased unmercifully. In fact it was just the opposite of today- boldly striping naked was the macho thing to do and those who acted bashful were thought to be gay.
I've read that male underwear was pretty scarce in the UK during WWII but womens underwear was somewhat more available, just not the kind that women would have found desirable or fashionable before the war. So its not surprising that under those circumstances men & boys would be freeballing.
It was not especially underwear that was rationed during WW2 but clothing in general. The rationing was governed by a coupons system and you had a choice as to what you obtained with the very few clothing coupons you were allocated. Nobody would know whether you were wearing underwear or not so coupons would be reserved for the more practical garments - a suit or a warm coat. Nat's point about certain materials being reserved for parachute manufacture is also a good one. Of course Nat, the reverse was also true - that many an offcut of parachute material was stuffed down someones trousers or skirt to be sneaked past factory security and ended up being made into a ladies underskirt, etc. And the US GI's assembling in Britain for the D-Day invasion, with their pockets full of nylon stockings, were very very popular with the English girls. LOL
I was born just after WW2 so have no direct experience. My home was in a coal-mining area and I can tell you that (certainly when I was a kid) miners in general did not wear underwear for a very practical reason. This stemmed from the days when colliery workings did not always have pit-head baths - you would see the miners coming home as black as the coal they had been shovelling. Once home they would hang their filthy clothes behind the kitchen door and step straight into a tin bath full of hot water. Next day they would put on a clean shirt but dress in the same dirty working clothes to return to the colliery for the next shift. No underclothes were worn because they would have been completely black ("black bright" as we say in Yorkshire) and just something else to be washed. These were the days when there were no washing machines or modern detergents and shorts and underwear would have to be boiled and pounded by hand to get them clean, so wearing underwear was just making work for the woman of the house. The sons of miners tended to follow the example set by their fathers and most of my school pals went without. In fact underwear was considered a bit "sissy". My dad was not a miner but I was of course influenced by peers.
This was all around c.1950 but it sounds like ancient history. Times are very different now - lots of clothing but no coal industry!
That's interesting. I was at school in England in the mid/late-70's in London, not a mining area, and the idea of underwear being a bit 'sissy' (= the opposite of 'macho') still existed. Anyone who was image-conscious was proud to say he didn't even own any. In addition to this, clothes were worn skin-tight by this time and no young guy wanted the outline of underwear, which was primitive by modern standards, showing through his trendy jeans. So even schoolkids who wore underwear with their uniforms would often take it off when they changed into casual clothes after school. Underwear was definitely not a fashion item at this time. I was in the Boy Scouts as well, and to get some badge or other I remember we had to show how to pack a rucksack efficiently for a week's camping trip. Underwear was certainly not part of the deal: took up too much space! On the subject of mining, I visit mines in Australia and Canada quite regularly as part of my work. Nowadays the miners generally wear a kind of cotton one-piece undergarment under their overalls and boots and they leave everything behind to be washed when they shower and change at the end of the shift. However mining is hot work, so you sometimes see miners wearing just the overalls and boots without the underwear. All the safety stuff like helmets is required, of course.
As you say Mark, it was all very hot work and especially before mechanisation and it was all pick and shovel work. You reminded me that some of the underground workers would strip right off and only wear what were called "pit pants" (along with safety helmet and their steel-toed boots of course). Pit pants were a simple pair of cotton shorts, usually navy blue, with an elasticated waist. I had a pair handed down to me (cousin/uncle?) and I wore them for PE and Games right through school. Like a lot of other hand-me-downs you grew into them and then grew out of them - they started out miles too big and ended up miles too small!
What you say about UW being for sissies in England is interesting. I was there - stayed in London Borough of Southwark - for about a year in 1969-70. As I've posted before, I hadn't worn UW since about age 11 (1954). I noticed that FBing was far more common than I had noticed in North America, both in Canada and the US (Cdn student at Harvard Univ before and after the 1 yr abroad).
I was in school in the U.S. in the early '70s and we were required to wear a jock under our gym shorts. Our phys. ed. instructors would occasionalyy pull a surprise jock check. We'd have to pull down our gym shorts so they could see our jock.
I work in a private secondary school setting - have for almost 40 years. It used to be that jock straps were part and parcel of the P.E. uniform the kids had to purchase at the start of the school year, along with the shorts and t-shirt. Now only the shorts and shirts are sold - I doubt very few of the kids today would even know how to put a jockstrap on. Kids do, however, still take showers (in the nude) after P.E. classes on a regular basis.
I was in school in the 1950s and early 1960s. We were supposed to wear jock straps beneath our shorts in PE. I just never did (FBed). The only people who knew - except I guess those that got an occasional peak at my genitals - were those who changed in my vicinity in the locker room. It was never an issue.
I always thought jocks were gross. It's interesting that as an adult I now own a pair of ginch-gonch's underpants with straps in the rear like jock straps. I wear them to club nights where uw only is required. I otherwise FB 24/7 and have since age 11.
I was at school with someone whose father was a doctor, and he (the son) never wore underwear. We talked about it once and I remember he said something about it being healthy because of more air circulating around your body, but I don't know whether that was just his idea or whether his father had actually recommended it. He was an excellent footballer, and also freeballed under his soccer shorts.
I know some thought the genitals would develop better- and grow bigger if not bound up in underwear.
They would point to photos in National Geographic showing naked natives with huge dangling dongs.
I must admit I kind of bought into this theory myself because I notice my flaccid penis was always bigger when freeballing.
When I started feeeballing at around 11 it was in part because of two of my friends who also sometimes freeballed, and one of them was the son of a doctor, but I have no idea if that had anything to do with his freeballing.
As a child in the UK in the forties and fifties I well remember rationing - particularly of sweets! - and I still have one of my old ration books, which contained coupons to be cut out by the shop-keeper when purchasing rationed items. My memories of underwear are that when I first started school, I had woollen vests (short-sleeves, round neck) and baggy underpants in winter, cotton singlets and uunderpants (also tending to baggy after a few washes) in summer. By the time I was 8 or 9 rationing was virtualy abolished, except for a few items, and the difference between winter and summer underwear had disappeared - it was all cotton. Until I was 12 or 13, I wasn't expected to wear underpants during the summer term and summer holiday (May - August approx). On the other hand, I was 10 before the idea of not wearing a vest in hot weather became acceptable, and I was 14 before I managed to stop wearing them altogether.
Hi Kris,your statement "We were not expected to wear underpants during summer",intriges me.Who expected you not to wear underpants,your parents or your peers?When growing up three brothers living near me never wore underwear during summer and in fact the oldest brother had started because he saw another boy in school going commando.his brothers followed his example and his Mom was pleased that there was less washing to do!
I was born and brought up in a Yorkshire pit village I was born in 1956. My Dad worked down the pit and my Dads brother lived with us and I shared a bedroom with him. I never saw either of them ever wear underpants or any about on wash day, I am quite sure that in our house that there was no male underwear I saw both my Dad and especialy my uncle naked. Mum wore knickers. I just grew up thinking that men didnt wear anything under shorts or trousers.I dont think that it was that we could not aford underwear it was just the done thing. Some times on flims and TV you would see an actor with underwear, but until I was about eleven I thought that were just a stage prop. When I went to secondary school and we had games lessons the gym teacher said we was not allowed to wear underpants under our shorts if we wore them, More than half the class didnt wear underpants in fact some of us made fun of the lads that did, We also went to the local bath for swimming lessons and none of us ever wore trunks.In fact one of our teachers who we had for last lesson on a Friday use to shower and get changed with us didnt wear underpants either.
Stephen - you describe the same situation as I was writing about earlier. I was born 1946 in Yorkshire (Castleford).
When we did see underwear it was regarded as a bit of joke. The only underpants I think were available were those huge white "trunks" that old fellers wore. I can also remember the headmaster of my secondary modern school standing at the front of morning assembly and telling the boys that, now it was spring and the warmer weather was starting, he thought boys should wear thin cotton shorts without and underpants - so they would get some fresh air to their bodies. That ties in with the ideas some of the other posters have written about. It was a mixed school but I cannot remember if there was any advice for the girls! We also had a student teacher for PE and Games for a short while who insisted that no underwear be worn beneath shorts. He stood at the changing room door as we filed out and checked each one of out as we passed him, running his fingers up our thigh to the waistband of the shorts to feel if there was anything underneath. Imagine what they would do with him today!
We seem to be moving off the original topic which was the alleged rationing of underwear but this posting has taken an interesting turn.
Andy-I was born 1956 near Doncaster and rationing as you know had ended by then.
But I am quite sure that in a lot of mainly working class areas underwear was something that most men had never bothered with even before the war, I also think that a lot of men from the working classes that had worn underwear and middle classes men would have used their clothing coupons for other items of outer clothing that could be seen and as time passed on during the war years that underpants were not replaced.
We also had a teacher for PE and Games who insisted that no underwear ws to be worn for sports classes. He also checked one or two in each class by pulling the waist band away from your body to see if was anything underneath.Once when I had forgotten my shorts he made me and an another lad who had lost his shorts to do the lesson naked. usually he let you have a pair of shorts from the lost property box
We had the same 'no underwear' rule for P.E., though no-one ever really checked in my school. In the first year we all used to do gym in white shorts, a T-shirt and gym shoes, but within a year or so we all just wore shorts. Swimming was naked - it was an all boys' school. We didn't have our own pool, but used to go to the local public pool which was only 10 minutes' walk away and was reserved for the school at certain times. When the pool was open to the public you certainly weren't allowed to swim naked, or if we did competitions with other schools where parents and spectators were present. If we forgot our shorts for gym we had the choice of doing it naked or spending the time walking round the grounds picking up waste paper, empty cans etc. The second choice was pretty undignified, and nudity was just not a big deal at the time in the context of a boys' school in England. I think it was considered part of the cameraderie and growing up together. Of course kids used to fool about with each other sometimes, but the explicit sexual overtones of modern society weren't there yet, it was all rather innocent. I wonder when it changed? Must have been during the 80's I think.
We didn't have a "no underwear" rule for PE. But, when we were about 13 (circa 1954), the PE teacher prefaced a couple of lessons by saying that we now ought to be wearing some form of support, and he specifically mentioned jock-straps and swimming briefs.
Thanks Andy and all the others for their responses.Andy am I correct in assuming that you grew up not wearing underpants,or did you decide to stop wearing underpants as a kid?Also when growing up did you ever wear underpants or did you just continue freeballing?As far as teachers are concerned I remember that as a 8,9, and 10 year old that we had to use the high school swimming bath and that a few of the teachers that coached us you jump into the pool as we were,naked,and that it was seen that when they undressed dressed again after swimming that they also did not wear underpants!(a good example for us schoolboys to follow.
Yes Peter, you are generally correct in your assumption. As a youngster I remember once my grandparents kitting me with new clothes including underpants. Unfortunately they were the huge trunks I mentioned elsewhere with a gaping slit down the front and the legs hung down below the hem of the legs of my shorts. I felt totally stupid and hated them and rolled the waistband over and over to lift them up - and then took them off and hid them at the earliest opportunity.I also remember in the early 1960's when nylon came to be used in clothing extensively and suddenly the shops were full of brightly coloured briefs. Like all teenagers I wanted to try the latest fashion but one very hot day trip to the coast they became so hot and sweaty they ended up being dropped in a wastebin. Nylon shirts were even worse!
Everyone mentions naked swimming but I don't remember this at the swimming baths I knew. There were no proper changing rooms as such and you changed on the balcony overlooking the pool so there were segregated male and female swim sessions. Clothes were left hanging on a coat hook, something else you could not do today as you clothes would be stolen. There was never much evidence of underwear.
Returning to your original theme Peter I suppose underclothes were "rationed" in a way. Unlike to day when there is an endless choice of styles, materials and (importantly) price range, in post-war Britain there was very little choice. You had the white trunks I mentioned above or you went to one of the gents outfitters and paid out a lot of money. I remember "Wolsey" brand Y-fronts coming out but they were extremely expensive. So the supply was limited by choice and cost.
Again thanks Andy fpr the followup.As a matter interest when did you first not wearing underpants and when did you srart fulltime?I assume that you were influenced by your fellow pupils many of whom did not wera underpants at all.
Like the Yorkshire lads I never knew about underpants until I was about 11 years old. I was born in a small village in Ireland where none of the boys wore any underwear as we all went swimming nude in the sea, changing on the beach and there was never anything on under any of our trousers.
When I was 12 my dad got a job in a steel work in Scotland and we moved to Coatbridge, near Glasgow. I hadn't got to know any of the local boys when I went to the secondary school and on my first day the PE teacher called out "Underpants off" when we started to change for gym. I got a bit flustered as I did not wear any and wondered whether I would be the only one who did not wear them. Then the teacher asked "Hands up the boys who do not wear underpants"
Over half the class of 45 pupils had raised their hands since they did not wear underpants. Even four years later at least half of us as they say nowadays went commando.
Like some of the other contributors here, I was born in 1946. The point I was making was that, because it was not uncommon in the 1950s and early 1960s - at least in sub-tropical Queensland - for boys not to wear underwear, the reason for it might have been a leftover from wartime clothing rationing. As others have commented, during the war, ration coupons, whether they were for food or clothing, were precious and were not to be wasted on unnecessary items. Perhaps boys' underwear had been considered a luxury and perhaps the idea continued for a while after the war. It is, however, all supposition on my part.
I knew nothing about ration coupons until at least my teens. That may have been because rationing had been abolished in Australia by the time I started school, some time before it was abandoned in the UK.
I started at an all boys secondary school in the English Midlands in 1963. No one was allowed underwear for PE or games. We would be regularly checked by having to pull out our waistbands for the teacher to look down. In fact for PE all we wore was shorts. If you forgot them you had to wear a pair from the lost property box, they never fitted, usually too baggy so you kept 'showing'. Our swimming lesons were at the local pool so we wore trunks. However one school we played rugby against had its own pool, we often played practice games there and would swim afterwards. This was always totally nude and I always hated having to come out and get dressed. When I started at the school there were only a few guys who freeballed all the time but it stedily became the norm, especially amongst the rugby team. I would still wear underwear for mums sake as she did not approve. But as i got older this became stedily less. On my first day at university in 1970 I decided that I had had enough of undies and have never worn any since.
My parents were teenagers during the war. I grew up in the east end of London 1950s-60s. All the boys that I knew wore white y-fronts, and i know times were hard financially because my mum once discussed with me cheaper alternatives, but it never even crossed my mind that anybody would go without u/w. Age 11 (1962) i started secondary school, where we were not allowed to wear anything under our p.e. kit. The p.e. teacher just seemed to KNOW if anyone had kept their underpants on, and in the first few weeks those who tried to outwit him were sent back to the changing room to remove their u/w and when they returned wearing nothing under their white gym shorts or black football shorts they had to bend over for a whack with a plimsoll as punishment.
That word is a real blast from the past! This was before everyone had trainers. There were 'plimsolls', which were made of canvas and nearly always white, occasionally black. They had very little springiness in the rubber sole and added nothing to physical activity as far as I can remember, which was why after a year or so at secondary school they tended to be abandoned in favour of doing gym barefoot. Then there were tennis shoes, which were worn only to play tennis in. Cross-country runners and athletes had 'running shoes' which had spikes. There wasn't much choice between brands. I think it was only in the 80's that people started to wear 'tennis shoes' as general recreational footwear.
This whole discussion is a reminder of how poor th UK was in the 1940s and 50s. After World War II huge numbers of homes needed to be built, factories had to be replaced and lives put back together. Many cities, Coventry, Southampton, Liverpool and Bristol for instance were devastated. The same was true of Germany and much of Europe. Well into the 1960s some parts of London had not been rebuilt. The British government was surviving on huge loans from the US. It is not generally known that these loans were only finally repaid in 2005. It is hardly surprising that we were too bothered by underwear! The only pants were the dreadful Y Fronts and later Nylon briefs, both dreadfully uncomfortable no wonder we went without.
i grew up in the 60s but i dont remember any of my family saying anything about rationing boys underwear of course it probably was going on they just didnt talk much about it,when i was in grades 6 thru 12th we were never allowed to wear underwear for sports or any thing in p.e. we wore a tee shirt and whatever color shorts the school wanted us to at mine it was a light blue and by the time i did get to 12th grade most of the guys were freeballin i still do cause to me underwear retricts the movement and growth of a guys cock and balls so go ahead freeball all u want guys,whoever invented underwear in the first place? and why?
I know that in the 60's we were required to shower after PE, even if we only sat on the sidelines and did nothing. We were also required to wear a jock at all times, and not to freeball. The coach also checked that we were wearing a jock, and not underwear. It was not necessary to wear a shirt, because we could identify opossing teams with "shirts" and "skins". If we were wearing underwear or freeballing, we were required to take our shorts off and if wearing our underwear, then take them off, and if freeballing, then be nude from the waist down. Thus if no shirt and no jock or in underwear, then you were nude except for your shoes. EVERYBODY thus was dressed properly, and very few exceptions, it only happened once, and that was at the beginning of the school year. We kids learned fast.
Well I'm of your era too Thumper and I remember the shirts/skin thing and compulsory showers. I also remember the coach strongly advising wearing a jock although it was not absolutely required for PE. But everyone wore jockey briefs in those days which were pretty tight and supportive anyway. Considering the coaches admonitions about wearing jocks I guess no one even dare think of freeballing. I would have loved to but gym days were about the ONLY days I wore UW to school.