Jake Joseph is an ordinary man with an extraordinary claim: "Basically," he says, "I've engineered the perfect pair of men’s underwear." A bold claim, to be sure, but could it possibly be true? Men’s Health called Jake Joseph's underwear the “best pair for travel” and they were anointed “brief of the year” by Guys’ Underwear Blog. Just how confident is the Houston entrepreneur and onetime Red Bull employee about said engineering feat? Enough so that earlier this week he showed up at the Houstonia offices in a tailored suit to hand deliver a pair of his custom-made drawers to yours truly.
I’ve never had another man deliver me a pair of underwear. Nor have I discussed male undergarments at length with anyone who wasn't my mother when I was six-years-old. Yet, in the presence of one Jake Joseph, what with his closely cropped facial hair and skin that gives off whiffs of expensive body scrub, I found both developments surprisingly enjoyable, even liberating. As we sat in an empty office together on the second floor of Houstonia—you know, just two guys discussing the intricacies of men’s panties—five things became immediately clear to me:
#1: “Jake Joseph” is a name that actually sounds like it should be stitched into the waistband of an expensive pair of underwear.
Try coming up with another name you'd want to be stitched onto your private parts? Let me guess ... you can't! There are no others. Would you wear a pair of underwear with the name “Steve Lopez” or “Ron Barnes” on them? Of course not! Those would be gross for some unidentifiable reason. But "JAKE JOSEPH"? Now THAT’S a name! A collection of consonants and vowels of such unspeakable beauty that to utter them reverentially is tantamount to heavenly prayer. You're either going to buy a fraudlent stock from a guy named Jake Joseph or his name is going to end up in the vicinity of your genitals. Let's be honest. With a name like "Jake Joseph," Jake Joseph only had two paths in life—white collar prison or underwear celebrity.
#2: Jake Joseph is really good at talking about underwear.
And he has a way of putting you at ease when discussing the topic, a way of artfully sidestepping the fact that the two of you are basically discussing how this guy has spent years laboriously researching the best way to make your scrotum feel more comfortable. What do I mean by this? Well, for example, Jake Joseph doesn’t say:
“My underwear won’t ride up into the crack of your ass.”
Remember. This is Jake Joseph we're talking about. Have you seen the guy? He looks like he just stepped out of a Banana Republic ad for the sole purpose of impregnating your girlfriend. But if Jake Joseph did impregnate your girlfriend you'd probably hi-five her because you'd have the opportunity to raise Jake Joseph's son as your own. What an honor! Instead, in his friendly and smiling and utterly serious way, he says that due to a combination of pyramid shaping and elastic ribbing:
“By the time you sit down and get up the fabric won’t arrive at a place where you don’t want it to.”
Well played, Jake Joseph, you hunky underwear hawker, you exterminator of wedgies ... well played.
#3: Jake Joseph really does want your scrotum to feel comfortable.
Why else would he spend years figuring out the precise amount of bamboo viscose to include in his underwear, giving it a "breathability" and an elasticity that won't easily fade? In an era when most undies grow hard and tough over time, chaffing your most sensitive areas, this is sort of revolutionary. Each design, Jake Joseph says, endured over 100 wash and wear tests when it was being developed. "Put your hand in there," he tells me as we mutually hold a pair of underwear alone in the office, our eyes periodically meeting. "You feel that? Feels nice and soft, right?
#4: Jake Joseph's underwear really are the most comfortable undies I've ever worn.
I know, because I spent 24 hours in a pair of his $36 "ZenSho" boxer briefs, a new line specifically designed to avoid bunching. The moment I slid them on—I kid you not—silicone "grips," which line the interior base of the leg, grazed my thighs and sent chills up my spine. And the fabric is beyond soft. I'm not sure what to compare it to—velvet, silk, lining your junk with organic cotton swabs or the fur of a newborn kitten? Maybe, but this is even better.
That said, soft is nothing if it doesn't include security, and therein lies the beauty of Jake Joseph's revlutionary ball-huggers: they hold everything in place without constricting your swimmers or riding up your thighs (thanks to those grips). A tapered pattern countours to your body. But the true test of a good pair, I and Jake Joseph agreed, is versatility. Can you wear them to work (under a pair of semi-tight jeans), the gym (under a pair of basketball shorts) and everywhere in between (with a suit, for example)? The answer, as far as Jake Joseph's pair is concerned, is yes. After a long day at the office I hit the gym, where I had the same amout of flexibility and comfort as I do with my go-to athletic underwear, which are actually designed for sweaty movement, but offer none of the softness or enduring elasticity like a pair of Jake Joseph's.
Considering that a nearly completed Kickstarter campaign is expected to drop the price to levels you typically associate wth men's underwear and, well, I'm sold. These are easily the best pair of boxer briefs I've ever owned (did I mention Jake Joseph delivered them to me personally?). If Jake Joseph made blankets I would sleep under them. If he made suits I would wear them. If he made cars I would drive them. If he made food I would eat it. If he made a child with my girlfriend I would ask to babysit said progeny so he would have time to make even more $36 underwear for guys like me. You get the idea. Jake Joseph is a hero. I've looked into his eyes, glimpsed his soul, and concluded that he really does want to make your scrotum happy.
#5: I now have a man crush on Jake Joseph.
Are you surprised?