This week, the ladies discuss a Stiff Question of great sartorial controversy: Which underwear, which occasion? To accompany what might be an uncomfortable debate, the ladies have selected the homey and slightly higgledy-piggledy cocktail, the Kitchen Sink Screw. Using the recipe card below, you too can enjoy this concoction as lubrication for your own difficult conversations (and not much more).

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The contributors for this week’s column are Miss Lacie Garter, Miss Brie Fsorboxers, Miss Gigi String, and guest undergarment expert, Msr. Jacques Strappe.

Ms. S.: Let’s first clarify the terms: are we talking about all undergarments here — bras, corsets, other sculpting hardware?

Msr. S.: Let’s keep it below the belt.

Ms. G: I think it’s very important when speaking about underwear to consider the tier system. You have your lower tier, the probably period-stained, a little stretched out or the largest the underwear known to man (hopefully never known to a man). Note that it’s important to retain the third tier — spontaneous throwings-out will only come back to haunt you.

Ms. S.: Thank you Ms. Garter. We’ve established the bottom tier. Do tell us about the other two!

Ms. G.: The second tier: acceptable to be seen in, but not your sexiest. But the upper tier! You’ll inevitably be disappointed if you wear these and don’t get laid.

Ms. S.: Let’s keep in mind that when one is in a romantic relationship and the stakes are lower, the line between the first and second tier blurs.

Msr. S.: How true.

Ms. G.: Yes, it does matter less.

Msr. S.: I don’t mean to get your knickers in a twist, but the tier system does seem to apply less saliently to gentlemen. I will admit, however, to having a few pairs of underwear that I … wouldn’t mind showing off at the occasional underwear party.

Ms. F.: Let’s talk about the issue of exposing underwear above the pant-line.

Msr. S.: As a rule, it is unclassy.

Ms. G: With the exception of the Calvin Klein elastic strip. A propos the CK Strip, we can source this to an historical moment. Any guesses?

Msr. S.: Michael J. Fox?

Ms. S.: “Back to the Future”!

Ms. F.: The Oedipal scene!

Ms. G.: Naturally.

Ms. F.: So, ladies: boxers, boxer briefs, or tighty-whities? And what kind of man is a tighty-whities man, anyway?

Msr. S. : The kind of man that would continue to wear tighty-whities well into his college years is rather square, perhaps not mature in the ways that count, regressive even.

Ms. G.: I think that briefs can potentially be … not repugnant.

Ms. F.: Resolved: tighty-whities, underwear’s new ironic trend?

Ms. S.: No!

Ms. G.: Never!

Msr. S.: It just represents a total lack of effort.

Ms. F.: But is that not the marker of hipster irony?

Ms. S.: More so than the days-of-the-week underwear?

Ms. G.: Quite. Perhaps this is the female equivalent. Ironic to the core. Particularly if you wear a Tuesday underwear on, say, a Sunday.

Msr. S.: But there’s something genuinely uplifting in the wearing of a cheerful pair of Friday underwear on a dismal Tuesday morning.

Ms. F.: Why do you think days-of-the-week underwear seem to be reserved for younger bottoms?

Ms. G.: I would say it indicates a lack of: A) awareness of what day of the week it is, or B) ability to select which underwear is appropriate for which occasion, which, as we all know, is a trait of the accomplished lady or gentleman.

Ms. F.: Stiff question: should one wear nothing, or should one wear a thong?

Msr. S.: Or as I like to call it, butt-floss.

Ms. S.: A thong because you feel protected.

Ms. G.: And cupped by a friendly hand.

Msr. S.: Let’s not forget the load-bearing support.

Ms. F.: Or, on the other hand, the day-long wedgie.

Ms. G.: But see, what is malicious in a wedgie is the element of surprise. With a thong, you’ve already established the terms from the moment you get dressed in the morning.

Ms. S.: Sometimes, I completely impractically wear a thong while wearing a skirt or a dress. Why do I do that?

Ms. G.: Indeed, why?

Ms. S.: Perhaps it’s because of this secret, sexy feeling: none of you know it, but under here, I look damn good!

Msr. S.: I can speak to that. I’d add that going commando has a similar effect: it’s a feeling of freedom and unleashed power, not unlike the soldiers from whom the name originates.

Ms. G.: There is inherent danger in that, of course. There was one occasion — I wasn’t going commando, but it was a somewhat transparent pair — and I happened to be at an intersection at the top of a hill, wearing a skirt of moderate to short length and holding two hot coffees in my hands! There came a wind, and as one might imagine, I wasn’t even able to maneuver a Marilyn Monroe “Seven Year Itch” move. All because of the two hot coffees!

Ms. S.: This brings up a important point. Had Marilyn been holding two hot coffees, what do you think we would have seen underneath?

Msr. S.: Well, Marilyn knew the importance of color coordination. So, if what she had on was not white, then it would certainly have been an ivory or an ecru.

Ms. F.: In closing, what makes the ideal pair of underwear?

Ms. G.: An important factor for me is revelation of form.

Ms. S.: I used to be a boxer-type lady, but have since come to appreciate the boxer brief.

Msr. S.: As long as it’s not leather.

Ms. F.: I find that underwear is most attractive when it appears to have had little thought put into it! I would go so far as to say that the more repulsive the underwear, the more eager you are to remove them and carry on with the task at hand!

Ms. G.: Quite right. Rather like socks.

You can look forward to Stiff Questions on the 28th of October with a new and similarly scintillating topic of conversation.