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Boyshorts vs. thongs

Thongs have been firmly embedded into mainstream culture – and women's rear ends – since they made their debut on stripper's bodies in topless clubs across America in the early '80s. But today's women are growing weary of the barely-there thong in favor of a much more conservative and comfortable undergarment: the boyshort.

Boyshorts are most often made of a cotton/lycra blend without all the frills; they would make even grandma proud. Instead of the thong which, by design, is a strip of fabric where it counts held on by a skinny, elastic waistband; the boyshort not only covers a woman's bottom but a little bit of thigh, too.

The intimate apparel vendor Victoria's Secret has pushed aside the long-popular thong made of lace, lycra and mesh accented with rhinestones, bows and words like "naughty," to make room for panties that look downright matronly in comparison. A Limited Brands sales report exposed slumping thong sales at Victoria's Secret: "We had a miss with a continuing emphasis on thongs, and increasingly the full-bottom-coverage panty is back in style."

Another reason may be that companies are keeping track of what women want and stores are stocking their shelves accordingly. At the height of the thong craze in 2003, thongs accounted for over 30 percent of the underwear market. Now, two years later, that figure has fallen to 20 percent. Figures from Gossard, a popular underwear manufacturer that sells to Macy's, reported that boyshort sales have risen 172 percent in the past five years.

One reason for this trend reversal may be that the thong image has been tarnished by those who feel that it is neither sexy nor comfortable. "What's the point?" asked senior Lynne Sloan. "They're too painful for my big butt. I'd rather go commando."

Senior Laura Zink said that thongs can be sexy on the right person, even though she wouldn't be caught dead in one. "I think they're sexy as hell on other people but I don't want to wear a slingshot."

Thongs are not only uncomfortable for many women, but they might be bad for a woman's health. Any gynecologist worth their salt associates thong-wearing with "irritation, soreness, and risk of infection," according to Dr. Thomas Gent in an article from the London Daily Mail.

In spite of the health risks and the rising boyshort trend, many women are staying faithful to their barely-there panties. Junior Emily Bacon said she wears thongs daily and finds them comfortable. "Thongs are so mainstream that they're not so special," she said.

Still, many women are jumping on the comfort bandwagon and making the switch. Senior Megan Wheelehan said she wears her old thongs only when her new boyshorts are dirty. "I would have worn boyshorts all along except they didn't sell them." Besides, "Thongs aren't so sexy anyway," she said. "Boyshorts make your butt look cuter."