Shopping online for Victoria’s Secret thong panties, I begin to grow frustrated. As I scroll through the panties’ product reviews, most of the comments offer useless advice to a woman like me — because most of the reviews are written by men.

These are straight men who love to wear women's panties. Men who say they have girlfriends or wives who love sharing lingerie. Men who say the comfort, style and support of this skimpy lady lingerie meet all their manly needs.

Taking a closer look at the Victoria’s Secret online thong catalog, it seems the number of men’s reviews even outnumbers the women’s.Yet the international underwear empire has never manufactured male lingerie, hired a male model, or marketed itself as a brand for men. It proved impossible to find out if Victoria’s Secret is pleased about its new non-sought-after consumer base, because company representatives dodged my dozens of phone calls like they were dodging bullets.

Spokespeople claimed they couldn’t answer any questions, or insisted I had the wrong number, then sent the rest of my calls to voicemail. The most direct response was from a cagey representative who said that because of the angle of the article, “No one was available to talk at this time.” All emails went unanswered.

Although Victoria’s Secret corporate bigwigs refuse to acknowledge this surprising online trend, its retail employees are much more open about the company’s customers, products and marketing.

Hannah, a manager at the Victoria’s Secret and PINK store in Boulder, Colorado, admits that of the hundreds of customers coming into her store per week, perhaps ten of them are men. However, “Victoria’s Secret has never marketed towards men,” she tells me from behind the store counter, “and the only product in the store that’s made for men is a cologne.” Hannah points to a lone bottle of cologne on a shelf filled with women’s perfumes and shimmery pink body sprays.

One panty brand marketed specifically to men might shed some light on the strange new trend. Roman Sipe, founder and head of design of Menagerie — a lingerie line for men — can attest to the comfort of lacy little intimates.

“I’ve seen so many guys who would usually not buy the underwear come to realize how comfortable it is,” Roman says over the phone. “I always ask them, ‘Do you think women would be wearing this if it were that uncomfortable?’”

The numerous online reviews from male customers leave us with some burning questions. For one, if such a small fraction of Victoria’s Secret in-store customers are men, why are men responsible for such a high proportion of its customer reviews? Perhaps fellas feel a compulsion to combat the stigmatization of men wearing women’s panties — and are using Victoria’s Secret online product reviews as their battleground.

For another, why are their reviews all overwhelmingly positive? It seems none of the men squeezing their beefy genitals into a tiny lace loincloth have any complaints about the minimal fabric cocooning their manhood.

“There’s certainly a community of men who are into lingerie,” Sipe explains. “But outside of the fetish world, I haven’t heard of many men buying women’s lingerie. There’s specific features that men need, like extra fabric in the front. Otherwise, the underwear just isn’t practical. It’s not all gonna fit.”

Until Victoria’s Secret chooses to acknowledge the men who adore wearing women’s panties, many questions go unanswered. For now, it may be time to say goodbye to boys in boxers, and hello to guys in g-strings.  

[originally published August 28, 2017]