September 10, 2012 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Is it a thing for European men to keep tissues in their underwear?

I have started dating this European guy in his mid-30s. He keeps a tissue, or a square of toilet paper, in the front of his underwear, up by the waistband. He is uncut. Is this a European thing, or is it just him? It doesn't really bother me, although I was pretty confused at first. But it sure does make me wonder what that's all about. (No, I cannot bring myself to ask him directly.)
posted by galenka to Grab Bag (42 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
"No matter how you shake and dance, the last drop always goes in the pants."

This man has that last drop accounted for, it seems.
posted by carsonb at 12:44 PM on September 10, 2012 [9 favorites]

I was raised around (and sort of technically am) European and I've never heard of anyone doing this.
posted by griphus at 12:50 PM on September 10, 2012

Uh, that's the first I heard of it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:50 PM on September 10, 2012

""No matter how you shake and dance, the last drop always goes in the pants."

This man has that last drop accounted for, it seems."

galenka said that he keeps the square up by the waistband. Unless he somehow is positioning himself to "stay upright" I don't see how that is helping him absorb that "last drop". It would make more sense if the square was in the front and towards the bottom of his underwear.

I don't have any theories myself, but, that one doesn't make any sense, sorry.
posted by Hanuman1960 at 12:51 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't think it's a European thing, but I have encountered some men from Europe, North America, and elsewhere who advocate this as a strategy for the reason carsonb mentions. See this dude, for instance.

Now I myself would find this a bit of a turnoff. I think in general people need to get the hygienic apparatus out of their underpants (same with panty liners for ladies) before the sexytimes start.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:51 PM on September 10, 2012

Is it a thing for European men to keep tissues in their underwear?

posted by DarlingBri at 12:53 PM on September 10, 2012 [5 favorites]

Are you sure it's there all the time?
posted by werkzeuger at 12:55 PM on September 10, 2012

Is it a thing for European men to keep tissues in their underwear?
No, thankfully my born and raised European boyfriend doesn't do this... because I'd be more bothered than you are, OP.
posted by sm1tten at 1:01 PM on September 10, 2012

Methinks if you're comfortable enough to be playing with his bits then you should probably be comfortable enough to ask? I understand that you might not want to embarrass him or something, but just ask. I mean, he knows you've seen it and if he was embarrassed by it he would have removed it before you put your face down there.
posted by greta simone at 1:01 PM on September 10, 2012 [5 favorites]

I've been a European man for the past 70 years and have never, ever heard of this before. I guess you live and learn...
posted by aqsakal at 1:02 PM on September 10, 2012 [12 favorites]

If he was worried about the last drop syndrome, wouldn't he just dab and throw it in the toilet before flushing? Wearing it in his underwear seems like a maintenance issue and I'd be wondering why he felt there might be something for the tissue to catch.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 1:05 PM on September 10, 2012

Does he have a scab, ingrown-hair, wound or other such thing under his waistband? He could just be trying to avoid having said wound stick to the band of his briefs if it seeps or gets scratched open.
posted by Loto at 1:13 PM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Are you sure it's supposed to be for in-pants-purposes? Maybe it's just a tissue in case he needs to blow his nose? Because I stuff a tissue in my waistband sometimes if I don't have pockets... I only do it if I am working around the house/garden. Not for going out obviously.
posted by travelwithcats at 1:15 PM on September 10, 2012

Yeah, please don't go assuming all us European men are doing this...
posted by chrispy108 at 1:16 PM on September 10, 2012

Is there some sort of metal clasp up by the waistband? Could he be allergic to metal?
posted by moonshine at 1:23 PM on September 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

Does he does this when he has taken off his trousers? I.e. he keeps tissue permanently in his undies.

If so, then it sounds, er unusual.

If he wanders round in just his undies - i.e. early morning or late night - then where else is he to put a tissue if he needs to blow his nose.*

*I may or may not have also done this.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:24 PM on September 10, 2012

Count me as another of European stock who has never, ever heard of this.

Furthermore, given how tough European toilet paper can be... *shudder*
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:29 PM on September 10, 2012

I have never heard of this being a thing in Europe, and am kind of surprised to hear of this with how much more rough toilet paper is here - ouch, but I can say that I once encountered an American man who did this. It was for a "No matter how you shake and dance, the last drop always goes in the pants" kind of thing and I talked him out of it by teaching him a more hygienic technique for dealing with that last drop one can never seem shake away. Though be warned, this will require some advanced knowledge of male anatomy to understand.

It is impossible to get that last drop out of the penis by shaking it because that last drop is not in the penis, it is in a widening in the urethra just behind the Perineum at the very base of the penis behind the testicles. The technique involves applying pressure to perineum just behind the testicles before shaking. Indeed the reason why that last drop often inconveniently comes out right when one bends over to pick up ones pants is that the act of bending over itself applies pressure. If this is indeed the reason why your particular gentleman has this habit you can teach this to him and worry no more. Incidentally, once you yourself learn this region, this same technique can, with his consent, for many add a surprising amount to the pleasure received from fellatio. For many, applying pressure to this region immediately before orgasm can extend it indefinitely and is a lot of fun to do for someone who has never experienced it before.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:42 PM on September 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Thank you all for answering this very random question and withstanding all this TMI.

I'm thinking carsonb's answer is probably it, even though there are never any spots on the tissue when I see it and it is totally clean. (And yes, he has one in there every single time I have looked, and I've seen him putting a new one in when he puts new underwear on.) He is extremely clean in all ways, so maybe it has something to do with that. I've never seen any scrapes or pieces of metal in there, and I've never seen him use him use the tissue to blow his nose. That, I think would be a problem for me, if he were going around whipping tissues out of his underwear for that purpose.
posted by galenka at 1:43 PM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm not European, but I live in a part of Europe (if Norway may be considered as such). Never heard of anyone doing this. That said, I mean, I can kind of see the rationale behind it, since, as people have pointed out, there's always going to be that one drop, reach-behind-the-nads-and-press-trick or no. So, whatever, dude likes to be clean, or feel clean, and if that's how he feels clean, I say go for it. The only thing I'd be worried about is whether this fastidiousness is a sign of OCD (not the personality disorder OCPD, but the anxiety disorder). But in and of itself, as I said, whatever.
posted by Busoni at 2:17 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Or, what @rabidsegue said.
posted by Busoni at 2:20 PM on September 10, 2012

Just another (redundant) data point: European man, never done it, never known anyone else do it, never heard of it.

But mainly I wished to say that, having piqued everyone's curiosity, you really should ask him and report back to this thread.

For science!
posted by pont at 2:26 PM on September 10, 2012 [9 favorites]

Or to play the "assume the worst" game, many STDs include penile discharge as a symptom, maybe he's trying to cover for that :(
posted by jpeacock at 2:27 PM on September 10, 2012

I really, really do not think the last drop pee theory holds for this. 1) Wrong place, 2) it's always clean, 3) he sounds fastidious and this wouldn't really mesh with his personality.

My theory: PHPP (Pubic Hair Pull Prevention)

When you stretch elastic (such as the elastic on the waistband of underpants), it can allow for hairs (such as the happy trail) to inadvertently get wedged in between the fibers. When the elastic contracts, the hair gets stuck. When you move, the hair gets pulled. It's uncomfortable. An especially fuzzy ex of mine complained about this all the time.

Putting a square of toilet paper in there to protect the bit of hair in contact with the elastic seems like it would solve the problem pretty nicely.
posted by phunniemee at 2:34 PM on September 10, 2012 [5 favorites]

If you don't feel comfortable asking him, then maybe you won't feel comfortable talking about a lot of things, and that could really hinder your ability to develop a good relationship. So I think you should take a chance on asking him.
posted by Dansaman at 3:03 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I honestly can't think of a good reason why someone would do this (and certainly not one that would be influenced by the presence of a foreskin, since you specifically mention that he's uncut).

Phunniemee's PHPP theory is plausible but, as someone who occasionally suffers from PHP syndrome, I don't think a single square of toilet paper would do much good, nor would it be my preferred solution.

I really think you ought to just ask him about this. It's probably not a big deal and if you can't ask him about something like this, what is going to happen when Big Issues™ come up in the relationship?
posted by asnider at 3:16 PM on September 10, 2012

Euroguy here. I have never heard of this. I also have no idea of how this would either stay in place or, uhm, remain pristine, over the course of a day.
posted by carter at 3:21 PM on September 10, 2012

"European guy" means absolutely nothing. I know for damn sure that as a (relatively normal) British guy I have surprisingly little in common with the hygiene practices of the Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian men I have shared houses and offices with. I have never heard of anyone doing your boyfriend's thing with the toilet paper. But then I don't know how most Hungarian men take a leak, nor why some German men find toilet bowls without a stool-collecting step unspeakably barbaric.
posted by cromagnon at 3:28 PM on September 10, 2012 [8 favorites]

Unless he somehow is positioning himself to "stay upright" I don't see how that is helping him absorb that "last drop".

Not really sure why that would be weird, since I don't think I'm the only guy who's most comfortable dressing with his junk pointed up. (Underwear: it's for support.) And contrary to blasdelb, I doubt it's uncommon to have the last drop residing somewhere in the shaft and ready to escape.
posted by psoas at 3:48 PM on September 10, 2012

(That is to say: I don't do this, but if I did that's where I would put it.)
posted by psoas at 3:49 PM on September 10, 2012

Well, here's one reason someone might do this, though it seems a little "bizarro world":

Apparently, there are "infidelity test kits" which take samples from underwear to test for proof of infidelity. The test kits look for semen stains on underwear to determine if a partner has been unfaithful.

According to one product's website: "A man will continue to secrete small amounts of semen for up to 2 hours after each sexual encounter unto his undergarments (underwear, boxers), bed sheets, etc."

Yeah, I know, I had no idea either! And it sounds crazy to even go there, doesn't it? But some people must actually do this stuff, or there wouldn't be a market "infidelity test kits".

If your guy is only using one square of tissue, up by the waistband, that wouldn't seem to protect him against this, or against the pee thing, really. But if he is using more than one sheet, well, this could be a reason, too.

You mentioned how he is really careful about being pristine and clean. Since you seem uncomfortable talking to him about why he does this, you probably never specifically asked him if he was married or dating anyone else, either.

You might want to consider whether your guy could be taking this odd step to keep someone else from knowing about what he is doing with you (or vice versa).
posted by misha at 4:04 PM on September 10, 2012

Okay, so this is how it goes. You're watching DS9 together, or whatever, and this happens:

Him: Odo's face is so weird. I can't get over it.
You: Yeah, it is, isn't it? And while we're on the subject of weird, or at least unusual and mysterious, what's up with that square of toilet paper you keep in your underpants?
Him: I was wondering when you were going to ask that. It's because of ___.
You: I figured it was something like that. Why is Odo so bad at facial bone structure?

... and then later you come back here and tell us what the "___" is, because apparently we weirdos on the internet want to know.
posted by brina at 4:21 PM on September 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

Omg, if you're close enough to be down in his business, then you're entitled to ask why there's stuff down in his business.
posted by violetk at 4:38 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

A single square doesn't seem like much defence against anything. An acquaintance used to keep several squares there in the event of a t.p. outage in a public restroom (he had Crohn's), but a single square doesn't seem too helpful for that.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 6:37 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Depending on his style of dress, I'd go for the allergy to metal thing. Some things made of non-gold/silver/stainless-steel like metal backed buttons, rivets, zippers, coins, keyrings, belt buckles, etc. can make me break out in a horribly itchy rash that lasts for days once it starts. I took to wearing a rope belt like Jethro.
posted by zengargoyle at 7:11 PM on September 10, 2012

Maybe the waste band is painful - the label perhaps is chafing?

But there comes a time in all men's lives where that last little drip will only drop when you've zipped up and walking.
posted by mattoxic at 7:52 PM on September 10, 2012

Can you please for the love of god ask him, now I'm dying to know!!
posted by miles1972 at 11:07 PM on September 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

while I was walking on the camino in Spain (long distance hikes in country-side leads to not always having access to toilets) someone gave me the advice to take a couple of squares of toilet paper whenever you use an actual toilet and keep it in your underwear for when you go behind a tree or something.

a lot of places don't always keep toilet paper in bathrooms- either it's not there at all, or it runs out. maybe this is also a strategy for avoiding that situation so he can ALWAYS be super clean.

but just ask him! for all you know you'll like his reason and start doing it too lol.
posted by saraindc at 12:52 AM on September 11, 2012

OK so my theory is that he is an overly fastidious type who likes to wipe his penis after urinating, and so has taken to keeping a single square of tissue on hand in a convenient location.
posted by dontjumplarry at 1:23 AM on September 11, 2012

(Please report back or this will be like taters all over again)
posted by dontjumplarry at 1:24 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

married to a man who puts the Pru in Prussian and even he has never heard of that.

His best guess was, "his Mum was probably a bit OCD or told him he'd get longer between washes".

What is more common in continental Europe is for men to be more comfortable with whatever their little hygiene quirks are in my experience. Also to wear underwear that supports rather than loose baggy style boxers....and that goes for experience of friends in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Northern Europe.
posted by Wilder at 5:24 AM on September 11, 2012

I dated a guy who did this. He was American through and through. It was, as carsonb said in the first comment, to account for that last drop.

No idea if he had heard of this from somewhere else or came up with it on his own.
posted by Fuego at 1:19 PM on September 18, 2012

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