If it can squirt juice, our society covers it up. If it changes shape during sexual arousal, we shroud it in secrecy. Thus, the female nipple, which gives milk, is forbidden, but the visually near-identical male nipple, which doesn't, causes nary a ripple -- even in "family" publications! It seems arbitrary, but it also creates the mystique and sensuous tension that a garment like the fundoshi introduces into the proceedings. It becomes an "interval" in our arousal, foreplay, and sexual imagination -- a stop along the way to the juice squirting part. By itself, it often initiates the shape changing part.
I'm over-simplifying things. But the loincloth serves a social purpose -- to conceal and obscure sexual excitement, and thereby it has become fetishized for many, just like underwear, and implicitly identified with the very arousal cycle that it was invented to mediate. Therefore, first nudity became taboo, because unbidden erections could cause social tension -- namely, fighting among males. Loincloths and underwear evolved from those situations, partly. Also, obviously, to protect the sensitive genital areas from sun and the environment, and from injury.
Now, as we are even further removed from innocence and nature, by layer upon layer of social engineering, specialization, religion, and legal controls, appearing publicly in underwear or a loincloth becomes itself an offense! Even when it would be infinitely practical, like during the bruising heat of this past summer.
Much as a woman in a bikini can appear 20 feet tall on a billboard, but a woman in a bra and panties shrinks away and feels embarrassed, we've created spurious double standards in regards to bits of cloth and string. Yet these very double standards have also served to amp up the sensual experience of lowly items like jocks, thongs, expensive tighty-whiteys, and homemade loincloths.
This leaves us at a divide: keep the fundoshi to ourselves and continue to ramp up its ecstatic potency for private sexual gratification; or show everyone how to wear one, market it for its engineering brilliance, affordability, and comfort -- and thereby homogenize the experience and de-sexualize it until it more closely resembles the historical role the fundoshi originally played.
As fairly casual participants in this re-introduction of the fundoshi -- as a community of friends -- we have the luxury of even considering this. For many, it will be nearly impossible to override their social programming and see the fundoshi as anything but a fetish object or a homoerotic obsession; two things that it can be, but historically isn't. For others, its ingenuity and thrift will delight their pragmatic side, and its sensual potential will be seen as a side-benefit.
A button-down shirt can be sexy. Glasses can be sexy. That shirt could be used to tie a persons wrists, and those glasses could stay on during intercourse, so either can be used sexually, as well. Daily objects like tables, rope, and tape can be commandeered for sexualized use -- but objects in and of themself are only as sexual as we psychologically determine them to be. So a fundoshi folded in a drawer is not as sexy as a fundoshi tightly stretched over a pair of hips.
Keeping the fundoshi private, secret, and among friends is one way to ensure sweaty secret liasons, slicked-up masturbation sessions, juice-filled erections fluttering into shape and engorging to rock-hardness. None of that is at all bad or undesirable. Quite the contrary, it is the epitomy of desires realized.
Bringing the fundoshi out from the personal and into the public, tips the scales somewhat towards social bonding, and away from sexual gratification. That's how fundoshi parties and Japanese winter festivals can raise that feeling of joy, alchemically, in the collective chests of their participants. Fundoshi bars straddle the two worlds, with their more public lounges and their more curtained private back rooms.
There will always be the potential to bring an object, another person, or a length of cool white cloth into a sexual situation. The same goes for a candle or a camera. Bringing something into the public sphere is far more intimidating, even something as once-widespread and socially acceptable as a fundoshi. A few companies have tried marketing the fundoshi over time. I remember seeing a fundoshi in the International Male catalog in the 1980s. I think that's where I learned the word, in fact. And then the online store xzytes.com (which appears to be no longer with us) marketed various fundoshis for several years. In Japan, it's a matter of course, and fundoshi also go by the name "classic pants." They're not uncommon at beaches and pools, saunas and the like. Their taboo nature is not innate, but it can come out at night so to speak.
In the West, with our prohibition against showing the buttocks (especially the male's), it's certainly harder to contemplate wearing a fundoshi out. There's more risk involved, and not just legal. There's social risk. Some readers have overcome this and introduced their households and their friends to the concept of fundoshi. Converts have been made. Parties have been thrown. Beaches have been visited and their fundoshi tan-lines are their badge of courage.
I think it's possible to inhabit a point, quite happily, somewhere along the spectrum between fearlessly showing off your fundoshi and secretively tucking it into your khakis. Likewise, there's more than one way to get the word out. Whatever you decide, for yourself, the simple enjoyment of cinching a banner of fabric around your waist and loins can be a defining moment in your day; and your day a defining moment in your life. This should make you smile!
I hope your fundoshi feels great today!