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Guys, these new manx are simply pants

Men's fashion columns have been bulging this week with the news that spandex underwear -- officially termed 'Manx' -- are now becoming available to "banish the beer belly without spending hours in the gym".

Also known in various guises as a girdle, moob tube, compression underwear (ouch) and, rather cleverly, the fig leaf, the slogans and taglines for these items are classic cases of misleading advertising.

Nothing is banished in the wearing of these garments except one's dignity and the only advice I can give to men is: don't do it.


The scene in Bridget Jones where Hugh Grant discovers the big knickers should be enough to remind everyone that what goes on must, at some stage, come off. And slowly at that, one inch at a time. Leaving creases and crevasses in the folds of lard. Are you getting the picture?

What you will really end up looking like is a gimp, and if you happened to have found your date in the small ads of Bizarre Magazine or on Alt.com, well and good. But for the average Joe, better to let it all hang out. Or as one man put it: "My beer belly cost me a fortune, I'm not going to try and hide it."

And if being shamed in front of the ladies doesn't do it for you, think about being found out by your peers. When I was a boy in my first school we had to wear a dreadful uniform, and the trousers must have been made from sackcloth lined with nettle leaf. They itched, scratched and stung and I'd be pulling them off coming in the door getting home each afternoon.


Then, one morning, it dawned on me that I could wear my snug pyjamas under my trousers and feel great all day. This worked fine until we went swimming with the school and my secret was discovered. And I never lived it down.

There are the generally accepted male fashion blunders -- too many colours (guilty), wearing clothes out of season (guilty), stains (guilty by association), socks with sandals (not guilty), ironing the front of a shirt only by placing it on the hot tank and putting a towel over it (actually, that's my own trick; does anyone else do it?) -- now we can add Manx underwear to the list.

Having once worked in advertising, take it from me: just because we don't see them, doesn't mean they're not there. No, start again. Just because we're not there when you see them, we know that you know they're there, and if you can get away with it, fair play. I can see the billboards already.