Thursday, October 01, 2009

London 1: American Underpants

On my way to Starbucks, I walked behind a procession of impossibly cute British school kids, probably 7 or 8 years old. They were on some sort of school field trip, with teachers leading and following, and were walking in a perfect line... but laughing and joking and acting like kids... and one kid began singing Michael Jackson’s A-B-C... and the others joined in, and it was one of those moments of magic that we usually only see in movies. Except, in a movie there would be some sort of well choreographed dance number, but instead the kids staying in the perfect line and took a right into the British Museum.

I would usually be sitting in the Café Nero next door - another chain, and I have a couple of expired punch cards that would get me a free coffee, I always seem to leave London *just* as I am one punch from my free coffee - except the Café Nero here is closed, probably due to massive construction on the street “Transforming Tottenham Court Road!” Also, Starbucks here also gives you 2 free hours of internet... though through a provider that seems to have some glitches.

Oh, but about the underpants.

Yesterday I bought some British underpants on sale because my luggage went missing. Now, British underpants are strange. Probably not to the British, but to an American - they are weird. The reason why is *concept*. In America, women’s underwear is all about how it looks - design, beauty, eroticism... but men’s underwear is all about function and comfort. It’s practical. There is no Victor’s Secret catalogue or fashion show or halftime football game. Men’s underwear is *plain*. They had to do big commercials with sports stars to introduce the idea of *colors* in men’s underwear... and patterns on boxers are still used to get a laugh in comedy films. I think American men see underwear that isn’t only about function as *un-manly*. (You know, I just realized we need a new term for that, as Gay men are men... but some may like pretty things. Un-macho? Even that doesn’t work, as there are Macho Gay men. We live in a complicated world.) Anyway, heterosexual men who have not succumbed to that whole “Metrosexual” thing which is eroding heterosexuality, think that underwear that is not purely functional is the first step in having sex with another man. British underwear - designed for Gay men. Not about function of comfort, about making your private parts look good. You know, I don’t really care if my private parts look good - they are private. So, I bought the most comfortable looking British underpants available, and they are low-slung and tight in the private part area - designed to thrust those elements forward. Yes, I know this is too much information, and I am sorry. But the design concept is not “What will make the man who wears these comfortable?” So, yesterday, I was not comfortable. And, um, I was aware of my private parts the entire day. I think there is a time and a place for a man to be aware of his private parts, and standing in line at the cinema is not one of those places.

And I was standing in line at the cinema for the opening night of the film festival, and we will get to that in the next blog entry. But this one is all about underpants.

You know, at the Script Secrets Store there is a T shirt for sale with the Top Ten Movies About Underpants on it...

All day yesterday (and all of this morning) I had only the clothes that I traveled with, plus the package of new socks and the not-designed-for-comfort British underpants... and if my luggage wasn’t found and delivered today, I’d be wearing the other pair of British underpants which came in that beautiful display box which I may keep, because - except for the photo of some male model’s package on the packaging - it’s like something you might get an expensive watch or piece of jewelry in. It’s a beautiful box. Heavy duty, hinged... And I’ll still be wearing the ugly shirt - which I washed out in the sink after coming back from the opening night party last night, just in case. And I neglected to buy razors at Boots yesterday, as I had a brand new package in my lost luggage, so I was all whiskery. If I were backpacking through somewhere, wearing the same shirt and whiskers might have been appropriate. But staying in a hotel room with a fireplace and compfy chair and going to Film Festival Opening Night Parties?

This morning, I awoke at noon, as usual... just not Los Angeles Noon, it was London Noon. I showered, without shaving. I sniffed the pits of the sink-washed ugly shirt - it would pass for the day... but it was still ugly. Then, the phone rang and it was the front desk - my luggage had just been delivered by the airline. Actually by a company that exists just to deliver lost luggage from all of the airlines at Heathrow to all of the hotel guests in strange underwear and ugly shirts with beard stubble in London Hotels. I jogged downstairs, brought my luggage up to my room (no lift) and unzipped my garment bag and grabbed a fresh, not-ugly shirt and some good old American underpants. Yes! I was no longer thinking about my private parts, they were just *there* - private again!

My shaving kit was in my other bag, and I unzipped it... to discover that my luggage may have been on some sort of adventure. A sealed box of business cards had scattered throughout the bag. A sealed box of oatmeal (raisin, nuts, dates) (every UK hotel room has tea service in the rooms, and that means hot water and cups and spoons... and I can have oatmeal in my pajamas in the morning) had opened (?) and the packets of oatmeal were scattered through the bag. Everything was messed up - and one of the things I was looking for was a brand new box of cinnamon Altoids... and it was missing. I know I had packed it, and not it was no longer in the inner pocket where I put it. I suspect some TSA Agent now has fresher breath. I also suspect the reason why my luggage missed the plane is because someone may have thought my American underpants contained contraband or explosives.

So, I grab my shaving kit, unzip it to use one of those brand new razors... and every single carefully packed disposable razor has had the handle snapped off. They *somehow* slipped sideways in the shaving kit and broke while the gorillas were testing my luggage. So, now I have the little razor heads and some useless handles. I figure - these are brand new razors - I can make this work! So, today I have a couple of shaving cuts, and will be stopping by the Boots to buy some other new razors. But at least I am wearing a nice clean shirt and American underpants!

- Bill

SCRIPT SECRETS: LONDON - October 10 & 11, 2009 - BIG IDEA class, using GHOST as our primary example and it includes the new Thematic element!


Martin_B said...

I thought that sort of thing only happened to me. My luggage has done far more air miles than I have.

My commiserations on your misfortunes, and I hope the rest of your stay is as stress-free as a pair of American underpants.

ObiDonWan said...

re: the underwear. I just realized today that pants don't fit males as well as they do females. Men should wear kilts (skirts) and leave the pants to the women. Why in the world did it ever develop the opposite way???

Emily Blake said...

Well now everybody's thinking of your private parts.

Bullet Movies said...

I want to see this *ugly* shirt.

Anonymous said...

nice customs/security welcome package... the luggage, not yours personally heh

Chance said...

I recently found your blog. It is very entertaining. We have a lot in common ya know. For example, I, too, wear American underpants.

Chance in Texas

ObiDonWan said...

comment on your daily idea: add a weapon. There's another joke in that scene from Unfaithful. We keep focusing on the dangerous looking knife but the actual weapon is the innocent snowglobe!

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