Shorts Circuit
By Tim Carvell

(FORTUNE Magazine) - It's a bad sign when a salesclerk mocks your choice of underwear right to your face. The mockery happened midway through my purchase of a pair of PLAY UNDERWEAR'S IBOXER BOXER BRIEFS. I had been mystified by iBoxers ever since I'd first seen an ad for them; the underpants' main selling point is that they have a pocket in front for your iPod. Try as I might, I couldn't figure out any possible situation in which such a feature would be necessary. So I bought a pair to test-drive and, as he took my $22 (!), the clerk said drily, "Oh, these are really handy for when I'm walking around the city, listening to my iPod, in my underwear."

Yes. Well.

Upon getting my iBoxer home, I padded around listening to the music originating from just south of my navel and tried to figure out what it enabled me to do. I found that, when dancing in my underpants, I could now play air guitar or clap along to the music. But that was about it. To give credit where due: The underpants are perfectly comfortable, and if you buy one iPod-holding undergarment this year, the iBoxer is the one to buy. But I still had questions. For more insight, I called Jeff Danzer, the founder of Play Underwear, who explained to me that the product is ideal for college kids, who "all run around the dorm in their boxers, hanging out, chilling, doing nothing, and listening to iPods"--a view that seems based not so much in fact as in some sort of shared dream of Steve Jobs and Bruce Weber. Danzer also suggested using the iBoxer for a night on the town, to hold money or a cellphone without creating an unsightly bulge. All told, I determined that the iBoxer may simply be a grand idea whose time has not come--and whose time may, alas, never come. Unless, of course, the world runs out of pants. Top of page