Saturday, August 14, 2010

A little bounce while running

If you have been reading any of my blog, you know that I am not shy about talking about really personal subjects. It's time to move on to some other webpage if you don't want to hear about certain parts of the male anatomy.

I recently bought a pair of UnderArmour running shorts (Men's UA Endurance Knit 9"). I have started to run more often, and I figured a new outfit would keep me motivated. The shorts are lightweight and very comfortable. They feature "a new Dual-Function Heatgear® liner [that] guarantees secure support up front for streamlined mobility and ventilation in back for added temperature regulation." I can attest to the ventilation. When I have these shorts on, I really can't tell that I'm wearing anything! Honestly that is a great feeling. However, the liner does not provide as "secure support up front" as I'd like. I have found that I bounce. Or rather, the two little parts of me between the legs bounce a little too much. Once I've gotten started with  my run, I can ignore this sensation, but it's not something I have experienced before.

Given that I am a novice runner, I am now wondering whether I am doing something wearing or not wearing the right clothes. On the UA website there are reviews for this set of running shorts. One of them states:
"Since i use compression shorts or UA's boxer jock, i have no use for the inner liner and find it a little uncomfortable. but i wouldn't dare use the shorts without underwear or compression since i'm exercising in a public gym."

There is a second review that states:
"I have tried bike shorts which work okay but cannot quite camoflauge an embarassingly tight fit up front. This UA short with the inner leg lining has resolved my problem. They provide comfort have a relaxed fit..."

I'm glad other guys can talk about this anonymously because we'd never talk about it face-to-face. The reviews above seem to disagree on whether the shorts are too revealing of the male anatomy. But otherwise, my running in the shorts without any underwear seems to be the intent of the manufacturer. The lining is supposed to take the place of underwear. The first reviewer isn't comfortable with that, and he wears underwear underneath the shorts. If I did that, it would definitely solve the bouncing problem, but wearing what amounts to two pairs of underwear doesn't sound very comfortable to me. Both reviewers speak of their desire to hide the bulge between the legs. Until recently I have always had great concerns about that, too. I used to avoid wearing sweatpants because my male equipment was apparent underneath. I also avoided wearing bicycle shorts for the same reason. But two things have changed my view of this. First, I wear an athletic cup for every game of softball I play, and my team's uniform includes real baseball pants that fit slimly. So if someone looks at me from the side or front, they can probably tell I'm wearing a cup. It's a pretty normal piece of athletic gear, so there is no embarrassment associated with it. And even without a cup, everyone knows that a man has a penis. So is it really a problem if someone can see evidence of the aforementioned part? I don't see how it is different from women having breasts. Every woman has breasts and it is impossible to hide them. In fact, women probably have to go through a lot more personal struggle growing up because there is so much difference in breast size between women. I guess men differ in genitalia size, but not to the degree that women's breasts do.
Running shorts hint at what's underneath.

The second thing that makes me much less concerned about wearing close-fitting shorts is the fact that elite athletes reveal themselves in this way all the time. Michael Phelps' swimsuit has a bulge in the front. The anatomy of gymnasts at the summer Olympics is very apparent. If you see video of male Olympic sprinters, you can not only see their penis but also how it bounces with every foot fall. And of course, there are all those professional and amateur cyclists who wear cycling shorts.

In conclusion, I don't care too much if my maleness is revealed by my clothes. I just want shorts that limit the bounce as I run. A sports bra for men between the legs?

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