Over The Fence or Through The Gate?

by Rachel Gertz

I’m the last person who should be writing this. In fact, I’m even the wrong biological sex. But you’re just going to have to put that small fact aside while I spin you a little story all about the rod and the keyhole. Yep, you guessed it: the true function of men’s underwear.

This is not a boxers versus briefs debate. Nobody cares about that shit. This is an over-the-gate or through-the-fence-debate. And it’s serious! Men everywhere are born and must make the decision whether to unfurl their trunks over the elastic waist band or pop them through their keyholes to take a whiz. Some men even do the “down-and-under” or the “sitzpinkeln,” but I’ll get to those anomalies later.

What Sparked The Debate?

I didn’t even realize this was a ‘thing’ until last night. I started talking about my special toilet idea* with five other friends (three gals, three boys) and somehow we trekked into male urinary-method territory. One of them casually mentioned urinating “through the hole” and the others’ eyebrows lifted like flag poles in the wind. That sparked a controversy, so much so that someone actually got out the google to verify the ‘right’ method. So you see, I really had no choice but to write this article. It practically begged me to.

The Origin of the Flap

It all started back in the 1500s. Before this, men pretty much stuck to draping loin cloths or ponchos over their goods to ward off hungry bears. But as Renaissance fashion shortened men’s shirt dresses in the front, the gap widened, exposing the meat hog and bullets to wary onlookers. Thus, it became necessary to add a piece of triangular fabric to protect hairy monsters from curious eyes. This fabric was sewn, laced or buttoned to the rest of the garment and men would unbutton or unlace them and pee through the gap to relieve themselves. Later came thicker materials such as leather that protected the package while still letting the peener and veggies breathe a little. Finally, shaped and armoured protrusions known as codpieces were adopted by pretty much all the lads and used as fancy adornments in theatre, war, and impressive mating rituals. This was the height of fashion for quite some time. King Henry VIII even started a trend by insisting on thickly padded codpieces. I’m sure he smelled great.

Codpieces got weirder and weirder. People were etching faces in them and using them in erotic fiction and Shakespearian insults. It just got messy. So by the 1590s they were out, and even became a notorious symbol of bad fashion. Kind of the like the shoulder pad in the 1990s.

The Brief

As history tells us, men pretty much stuck to itchy, ill fitting flannel “drawers” right up till the 1930s until we’re introduced to the brief or tighty-whitie or Y-front (Britain) in 1935. Legend has it that Jacob Golomb (founder of Everlast, the boxing equipment company) initially changed out the ill-fitting leather bands around fighter trunks to stretchy elastic ones, essentially pioneering the concept. A little company called Coopers, Inc. in Illinois started selling the ugly tight-waisted version of the brief as we know it. Lads everywhere itched to get their hotrods inside them and according to Wikipedia (the trusted source) Coopers, Inc. sold 10 000 pairs within the first month. Hotcakes, I tell ya.

The Fly

Initially, these briefs featured a fly (a covering for the dink and doodles) which “allow[ed] for convenience at urinals.” I’m not exactly sure what that signifies, but if it was anything like past interactions with fabric triangles, I’m assuming men were popping their fountain pens through the peephole and spraying their ink like a Shakespearian octopus.

Now briefs come in all sorts of fancy styles and sizes. They fit men’s asses and can even compliment the wiliest rear. Picture them soaping up a Chevy—I’m partial to the short sport-cut brief that echoes the European Speedo, but with less hair on the thighs—none of these saggy-bottomed, worn-out, racing-striped underpants your dad used to stuff in the bathroom garbage after a fearsome bathroom sesh.

Anyway, here is where our brief evolution diverges. Flies and no flies. If there is no fly, what do you do? You have to go over. Some men prickle at the thought of pulling out their salami and dangling it over their waist band like a fairground churro cart. Other men revel in it. So what makes a man a man? Does it relate to which direction he tugs the boat? Or is it simply a dick direction preference?

Here’s the breakdown.


These guys claim that peeing over the top is ugly…

  • The elastic band snapping your balls causes you to urinate on the floor and double over in pain.
  • It means dropping your pants to your ankles and showing your glowing derrière to those unfortunate enough to be behind you.
  • Unnecessary unbuttoning or unbuckling of dress pants and belts to release the one-eyed hound.
  • A delay in breaking through all layers before a sexual quickie (either with oneself or another).


These guys claim that peeing through the fly opening equals…

  • Wasted time and odd looks as you reach in elbow deep to dig around for your sloth.
  • Providing your trouser snake a chance to dribble on your pants as you recoil.
  • Forcing your mighty badger through a narrow opening lined with teeth.
  • Making your sexual partner bang you through the gaping maw of your underwear (only sexy if it’s a woman wearing the fabric maw, apparently).

Some random stat I came across claims that only 20% of the male population piss through the fly. But I can’t call that incontestable, now can I?

Either way, urinators are staunch in their preferences. I’ve never imagined such a stalemate. Reading through the forums, it was like witnessing the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot waving their dicks in the air and hurling warpaint and masculinity jeers at each other. Unbelievable.

What’s my take?

You probable don’t care. But for those of you who want to impress me, know this. I can’t seem to fathom the idea of stuffing my twig and berries (if I had any) through a wood chipper, if you know what I’m saying. I’ve seen penile entrapment injury images that would make you go weak in the knees. My mom worked the Urology floor as a nurse and I’d constantly find her medical textbooks, much to my chagrin.

In my friends’ candid words, “NEVER put it between the teeth!!”

Now, I don’t aim to take sides here, it just seems like “over the fence” is all about practicality. I asked for a demonstration of this event to verify whether the ass did indeed show, and whether elastic ball snapping did indeed occur as the “through the gate” people claim, and I’m telling you, neither of these issues presented themselves. Now, I don’t make watching a habit, and I certainly wouldn’t ask you to contribute to this recent experiment. You just need to know that I take my writing seriously and wanted to air a topic that I feel most men could easily weigh in on. At any rate, if I had the balls, I’d probably pee standing up myself, and I’d probably be a down-and-to-the-side kinda gal. Women don’t get many options there, you know.

Still there are two or three sides to every story. Even Larry David has an opinion on this one. And unless you have long balls, he believes that a ‘no-fly zone’ is a bad idea.

At the end of the day, I guess its up to every man to decide where he’d like to prop his wolverine and butterballs: up top or between the seams. Just do the ladies a favour and wipe the toilet seat down after you exercise your rights, okay?

Oh, and if you’re feeling adventurous you could always try these urination options:

The Down and Out

The urinator pushes his cobra down the bottom of one leg hole and out the bottom. An overly complicated way to drain the snake, if you ask me.

Going Commando aka Freeballing

The urinator does not wear any underwear. Risk of zipper injury surprisingly does not increase with this method. Does make for awkward encounters with seams, though.


Sitting while you pee. Apparently this is especially popular in Germany, but don’t make me verify that.

Go to it, boys! And report back. I’d like to get some solid data on this one.

*it’s complicated.



Back to top.