Lateral flash thong

(Mostly, but not entirely, about men’s underwear.)

On Facebook, a link passed on by Matthew Melmon  to a June 13th posting on the Metro (U.K.) website, “Amazing news! Now you too can own this delightful swimming ‘sock’ “, showing a lateral flash thong on the ITV2 reality tv show TOWIE (The Only Way Is Essex):


A remarkable garment indeed: how does it stay up? And who wears something like this in public (outside of outrageous precincts like TOWIE)?

You’ll note from the tan lines that the model/actor is accustomed to wearing more conventional swimsuits.

You’ll also note how smooth the model’s body is; extreme u-garments for men (underwear, swimsuits, jockstraps, posing straps, dance belts, genital displaywear, etc.) are almost always modeled by hairless men — smooth by nature or smooth by the hand of man, that is, by (d)epilation. The aim is to focus fully on the man’s package as contained (or not) by his u-garment, without any distraction by hair.

The brand name for the lateral thong in #1 is Alter, a line of underwear with the slogan tu otro yo ‘your other self’ and the logo:


The Alter number in #1 comes from the French men’s underwear and swimwear firm Inderwear (more on the name below); English-language website here. The lateral flash thong comes in three colors (white, red, and blue, of course) and three sizes (small, medium, large), and sells for £17.69 plus postage. Front and rear illustrations from the website:



For the wearer, the garment looks simultaneously perilous and uncomfortable. But entertaining for the observer.

The name Inderwear.A bit of cross-language complexity: the name is designed to get as close as you can in French to the English name Underwear, with its initial accented / Ʌn /, spelled UN (phonetic note: the Ʌ is nasalized before the n closing its syllable).

The closest you can get to accented Ʌ in French is œ, which occurs both oral and nasalized. Nasalized œ (spelled UN, as in the indefinite article UN) is then about as close as you can get to English nasalized Ʌ (plus n), so the spelling UN would have worked to convey an approximation to the pronunciation of English UN.

However, French nasalized œ has been shifting to nasalized ɛ, which is spelled IN (as in VIN ‘wine’). And that gives us Inderwear, with the initial IN pronounced as nasalized ɛ. Whew! (The rest of English Underwear also has to be adapted to French, of course.)

2 Responses to “Lateral flash thong”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Ken Rudolph on Facebook:

    I’ve never seen such a ridiculously ugly Brazil cut. Or a worse job of airbrushing.

    Good idea about airbrushing as an alternative to natural hairlessness or (d)epilation.
    As for Brazilian cuts, my understanding is that the term is used for bikini bottoms with thong or near-thong backs — certainly applicable in this case, but what’s notable about these swimsuits is their fronts, not their backs.

  2. Ellen Says:

    Eighteen pounds sterling? I’ve seen those selling online this week for as little as three or four US$ ….

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