You’d think a phalanx of square-jawed chaps in black suits and sunglasses with spiral wires coming out of their ears furtively pawing through racks of size-skinny flannels in a department store would have been noticed by someone, but perhaps the assistant and all the other shoppers who witnessed this spectacle had to sign non-disclosure agreements. Or maybe their memories were modified with those flashy things from Men in Black.

Anyway. What I did find out is that Long Johns, made in large quantities for chilly American soldiers during World War 2, were most likely named after a 19th-century boxer called John L Sullivan, a trendsetter who instead of the usual shorts wore full-length, skin-tight underpants into the ring.

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