Sunday, March 09, 2008

Those undies are killin' ya man!

The scan above is from the Dec 3, 1932 edition of The Saturday Evening Post.

Bear in mind, 1932 was a year of fear - The Depression was in swing and people played the cards of their lives as if, well, their lives depended on it.

On one hand, the ad is hysterical - "Home - bad cold. Worried. Job may be lost. Avoid colds...wear Duofold Underwear." Was underwear of the 30's SO BAD that the pedestrian variety could actually tempt someone into believing that BETTER underwear would ward off colds?!

"Gee hon, my privates have been chilly all week and now, I don't have any energy! I'm gonna be fired!"

On the other hand, the ad's a splash of cold water on the face of 21st Century need-it-all culture. Back in the Depression, people were happy to have a JOB.

Having spent a good amount of my short life talking to WW2 vets, The Depression was a tough, clarifying time that fueled a "war winning" work and social ethic.


I remember a friendly chat with a relative who grew up during the Depression. He was wealthy beyond the scope of most people's dreams but he still bought inexpensive wine. I teased him about it, knowing that he'd had and certainly had the ability to bathe in, the best wine on earth.

"Yeah, but I'm just grateful to be able to buy wine at all."

So there you go. Got underwear? Get to work ya slacker!

If not, stay in bed.

EDIT - Just heard from another friend of mine who grew up during the 30's - here's his comment on this blog post:

"Very interesting. I don't know about Duofold Underware but I do remember walking down our mainstreet with my little "Liberty Magazine " bag over my shoulder and trying to sell the president of our bank a copy. It didn't occur to me till later that he was walking down the street because he had lost his job, nor that when he told me that he didn't have the money for a "Liberty" (five cents) that he was telling me the truth.

There's a degree of maturation that comes from this sort of an incident, that's hard to describe. Yeah, and I drink cheap wine and gin too. Cheers, Bill"