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Going commando

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Going commando, free-balling for males, or free-buffing for females, is the practice of not wearing undergarments to cover the genitals from outer clothing.[1]

In modern times, the term has been used by news sources in the media, specifically when female celebrities have free-buffed under their skirt or dress.[2] Dr. Vanessa Mackay of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists suggests that going commando can be healthy for the vagina and may improve certain conditions while sleeping.[3]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The origins of the phrase "go commando" are uncertain, with some speculating that it may refer to being "out in the open" or "ready for action".[4]

Slate magazine's Daniel Engber dates the modern usage to United States college campuses circa 1974, where it was perhaps associated with soldiers in the Vietnam War, who were reputed to go without underwear to "increase ventilation and reduce moisture".[5] However, more recently, Graeme Donald has pointed out that the US forces are "Rangers" rather than "Commandos", and that in any case, the phrase was in use in the UK, referring mainly to women, from the late 1960s.[1] The connection to the UK and women has been suggested to link to a World War II euphemism for prostitutes working in London's West End, who were termed "Piccadilly Commandos".[6][7]

The term gained currency in the popular vernacular after appearing in a 1996 episode of Friends.[8][9]

In Chile, the act of not wearing underwear is known as andar a lo gringo ("to go gringo-style").[10]

History[edit | edit source]

US Navy Underwater Demolitions Teams and SEAL commandos have a tradition of not wearing underwear that originated during Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Training when trainees spend extended hours in the sand and beach surf with no opportunity to remove sand collecting in their pants other than encourage it to fall out, without being hindered by underwear.[11][12] Unrelenting training could also leave no opportunities for toilet breaks, necessitating reliving themselves in their pants, again, relying on the lack of underwear let waste be carried away by the sea water.[12] The saying "frogmen don't wear skivvies" refers to this.[12][13] Bar girls in Olongapo, Philippines were known to check in men's pants to see if they were wearing underwear to verify if they were really UDT or SEAL members, sometimes yelling "skivvie check!" in when doing so.[14] This became a running joke, and sometimes embarrassment, associated with former UDT member and Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura.[15] Issues with sand, as well as jungle heat and humidity, made silk underwear, including women's silk panties, common among special forces in during the Vietnam War.[12][16]

Usage, benefits, and drawbacks[edit | edit source]

Dena Westphalen of Healthline suggested that women who experience discomfort from tight underwear can reduce labial chafing by going commando.[17] However, in an interview with Health, Donnica Moore cautioned that going commando exposes the vulva to clothing that is not designed to come into contact with it, which can cause discomfort, increase the risk of chafing, and reveal a camel toe.[18]

In HuffPost, Scott Osmun and Mary Rosser recommended going commando as a suitable alternative to using underwear made of moisture-wicking fabrics for exercise.[19] Alyssa Dweck concurred in Shape, noting that going commando eliminates a visible panty line, as well as improving flexibility and mobility during aerobic exercise. However, Dweck also warned against going commando during a menstrual cycle, as underwear provides additional protection against the leaking of bodily fluids.[20]

Nancy Herta told Glamour that going commando can help aerate the vagina for hygiene during sleep.[21]

In an open-access poll in 2014, 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair asked visitors to their websites the question "How often do you 'go commando'?" 7% of the respondents said that they go commando "all the time", 5% go commando "once a week", 13% go commando "occasionally", 39% "never" go commando, and 35% did not know the meaning of the term "go commando".[22][23][dubious ]

Variations[edit | edit source]

The phrase has been adapted to describe a lack of certain other items of clothing. One example would be "going fommando", believed to be coined by Thomas Dobbs Lazaro in reference to going outside in bare feet.[24] The phrase, coined during the 2013 Spanish heatwave,[25] has become particularly popular among British expat populations living in Spain.[24]

See also[edit | edit source]


Others articles of the Topic Fashion : Saiid Kobeisy, Nina Cuso, Juwelo, Sarashi, Lana Austin, Vratim (brand), Mufti (brand)
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References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Donald, Graeme (2008), Sticklers, Sideburns and Bikinis: The military origins of everyday words and phrases, Osprey Publishing, p. 94, ISBN 9781846033001, retrieved October 19, 2012
  2. "Eva Longoria suffers wardrobe malfunction: Stars who go commando on the red carpet". New York Daily News. May 19, 2013.
  3. Andrea Downey (September 28, 2017). "Going commando is healthy for your vagina". New York Post.
  4. Gisesa, Nyambega (April 16, 2012). "When a little goes a long way to ruin your reputation". Zuqka. Nairobi: Nation Media Group. Archived from the original on July 23, 2013. Retrieved September 17, 2013. It's during the Vietnamese war, that the earliest cases of going without underwear were recorded. It meant ... being 'out in the open' or 'ready for action'.
  5. Engber, Daniel (January 10, 2005). "Do Commandos Go Commando?". Slate. Retrieved December 23, 2006.
  6. Gardiner, Juliet (2005). Wartime: Britain 1939-1945. Headline Review. ISBN 0755310284.
  7. Wagner, Paul. "Rest and Relaxation, WW II Style". 398th Bomb Group Memorial Association. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  8. Heller, Jason; Koski, Genevieve; Murray, Noel; O'Neal, Sean; Pierce, Leonard; Tobias, Scott; VanDerWerff, Todd; Zulkey, Claire (June 21, 2010). "TV in a bottle: 19 great TV episodes largely confined to one location". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 21, 2010. [T]he episode also introduced the term 'going commando' into the popular vernacular.
  9. Hendrickson, Eric (October 27, 1996). "Buzz word 'going commando' gets an airing on 'Friends'". Sunday Times-Sentinel. 31 (38). p. C3. (copy from The Detroit News)
  10. Brennan, John; Taboada, Alvaro. How to Survive the Chilean Jungle (2nd ed.). Santiago, CL: Dolmen Ediciones.
  11. Halberstadt, Hans, Battle Rattle, Zenith Imprint, pp. 34–35, ISBN 9781610600828
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Walsh, Michael J.; Walker, Greg (1994), SEAL!: From Vietnam's PHOENIX Program to Central America's Drug Wars : Twenty-six Years with a Special Operations Warrior, Simon and Schuster, pp. 25, 85, ISBN 9780671868536
  13. Marcinko, Richard (2009), Green Team: Rogue Warrior III, p. 238, ISBN 1439187940
  14. Salisbury, Bill (December 2, 1999), "Jesse "The Great Pretender" Ventura; Was Jesse a SEAL or a UDT guy?", San Diego Reader
  15. Wilton, Phil (May 28, 1999), Gov. Ventura's Stranglehold; During Yorba Linda Visit, the Ex-Wrestler's Fans Are Adoring
  16. Kelly, Orr (2017), Special Ops: Four Accounts of the Military's Elite Forces, Open Road Media, p. 437, ISBN 9781504047456
  17. Westphalen, Dena (January 9, 2019). "Going Commando: Men and Women". Healthline. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  18. Naftulin, Julia (September 22, 2017). "The Case for Going Commando, According to a Gynecologist". Health. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  19. Brucculieri, Julia (April 24, 2018). "Should You Be Wearing Underwear With Your Workout Leggings?". HuffPost. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  20. Baum, Isadora (March 16, 2018). "Would You Go Commando In Your Workout Leggings?". Shape. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  21. Miller, Korin (November 16, 2017). "The Reason Why Sleeping Without Underwear Might Be a Great Idea". Glamour. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  22. "60 Minutes Poll: 25 Percent of Americans Don't Wear Underwear Sometimes". Vanity Fair. April 2014. Retrieved January 31, 2019.  To answer the questions yourself, visit the 60 Minutes homepage at CBSNews.com.
  23. 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair: Fashion; Who's afraid of Anna Wintour or Tim Gunn? More Americans fear fashion criticism from their mates, CBS Interactive, March 10, 2014
  24. 24.0 24.1 Martin, Eugenio Cascon (October 1, 2013). Espanol Coloquial: Rasgos, Formas y Fraseologiea de La Lengua Diaria (Expanded, Updated ed.). Editorial Edinumen. ISBN 978-8-498-48532-5.
  25. Peter Upton (July 31, 2013). "Killer heatwave hits Spain: Tourists warned to expect dangerously high temperatures of 43C as scorching winds sweep in from Africa". Daily Mail. Retrieved January 2, 2018.


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