May 9 2006 12:00 AM

A:  If you really want to know discomfort, bend over on a first date and let a woman see a thong peeking out the back of your Levis. She'll be out of there faster than you can say “my boyfriend Sven.”

 Life is not one big equality fest. If a man flashes a woman, she'll probably call the police. If a woman flashes a man, he'll probably call Tom Leykis — the syndicated radio jock who rallies young hotties to hike their shirts for male drivers with their headlights on. There are countless nudie magazines for men, and even a nudie home, the Playboy Mansion. While there is Playgirl magazine for women, there's no Playgirl Mansion; not even a Playgirl guest house to entertain loyal subscribers — girls with names like Dirk, Buck, and “The Hairy Pirate.”

 Women, for the most part, don't go to strip clubs to see men in thongs, they go to strip clubs to laugh at men in thongs. Flipping the bird at convention is part of it, but sociologist Beth Montemurro, who watched women watching men strip, said women's motivation is mostly about “having a shared experience” with their friends; you know, like yesterday's Tupperware party — except the headliner isn't a lady in an apron but a ripped gay guy in a gladiator skirt.

 No, women aren't repressed, just different from men. Men have a more visually based sexuality, so they can get physically aroused from pictures alone — or just from watching a girl wearing three bandaids and a firehat sliding down a greased pole. Most women, on the other hand, need touch, emotional connection, and a bit of back-story. They get turned on looking into the eyes of a fully clothed firefighter — and grossed out by men in tight pants or Speedos, or those who wrap their package in anything silk, satin, leopard, or thong.

 Regarding your comfort complaints, keep in mind that underpants, unlike luggage, do not come with a lifetime guarantee. Toss those that have been with you since junior high. Go to a high-end department store, and ask a salesperson to point you toward full-coverage that fits. You just might do a little better than if you're grabbing them three-to-a-pack at Rite-Aid.

 Sure, there are a few girls who don't mind or even prefer a man in a thong. Very, very few. Of the 50 or so women I polled this weekend, most said stuff like this:

 Nancy: “There is one scenario where this would be okay: He's just had, at the same time, a testicular operation that requires they be strapped tight at all times AND treatment for third-degree burns on his behind, meaning, it cannot be covered in fabric. But, he'd better have some salve and gauze back there!”

 Kate: “EUWWWWWWW. I can't even go there on how creepy this is. Commando,   fine. Boxers, sure. Tighty-whities, if you must. Pouches, thongs, dance belts, G-strings — not in my lifetime!”

 The consensus was best summed up by my friend Leah: “Any guy who can tolerate a strand of elastic between his buttocks for long periods of time is not straight. However, he can head straight...to West Hollywood. Don't forget the chaps!”

(c)2006, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved.

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