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Briefs Encounter 

Unreal discovers underwear's newest dimension! Plus, we learn how to handle a crisis and check in with a diligently dieting local blogger.

A few weeks ago Jockey kicked off its new line of "3D Underwear" by giving out piles of pairs at the West County Mall Famous Barr. Unreal didn't go because we couldn't figure out what 3D underwear is. So we called Tim Pitt, vice president of consumer marketing for Jockey.

Unreal: Tell us about 3D undies.

Tim Pitt: Taking information from 3D laser scans of bodies, we built underwear that we believe has dimension, especially in the seat of the garment.

Most people probably don't think of the tighty-whitey as the world's most restrictive garment.

If I took a typical tighty-whitey — as you describe it — and I pulled in a north-south direction or an east-west direction, it would only go so far. At some point that cotton will begin to break. You want to try to create a product that moves that distance, and beyond, for any move you make throughout the day, whether that's sitting down or something more extreme.

Isn't calling your underwear "3D" kind of like a producer bragging that his new movie features "moving pictures"?

The name itself is indicative of what we're trying to get across to people. People usually stop and say, "OK, what is 3D underwear?" which is obviously what you've done with your story here.

How many pairs of free undies were given out at the Famous Barr event?

Sixteen hundred. We used the "Jockey 3D Performers" there, which garnered a lot of interest.

Who are the "Jockey 3D Performers," and what are their phone numbers?

I don't know who they are, and I don't know what their phone numbers are. They're people in their underwear, in and around the mall that day.

If you could spend ten minutes in your underwear with anyone from history, who would it be?

I don't know that I'd answer that one.

What Would Chuck Norris Do?
Robert Watters is the executive director of Brookfield, Wisconsin's Crisis Prevention Institute, "the world's leading training organization specializing in the safe management of disruptive and assaultive behavior." He'll get the chance to use the word "de-escalate" a few thousand more times when he visits the Adam's Mark downtown at the end of July for the organization's twelfth International Instructors' Conference.

Unreal: Don't crises get a bad name?

Robert Watters: The term "crisis"? We view crisis as not only having that potential danger, but we also see it as an opportunity to learn and to de-escalate the situation. What we do is teach verbal de-escalation strategies. A lot of empathic listening — treating individuals with respect and dignity.

Huh. We've always advocated violent crisis intervention.

Our programs are used within organizations, companies and schools, and I don't know an organization that would advocate violence. Now, an individual — if that's their philosophy of handling a crisis situation, obviously our program would not meet their needs.

Like John McClane from Die Hard.

That's kind of a crisis in a global, or vast area. What we work on is a crisis with an individual in a workplace. It's not like an emergency situation like what you just referred to.

Who do we have to sleep with to become a Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Certified Instructor?

We typically host programs [called] "Train the Trainer." Organizations send a designated employee to get trained in the program, and then they would return and train their staff.

Have you yourself ever been in a crisis?

Yes, sir. I worked in the prison system in Illinois. There was conflict every day. You have to be really tuned into your skills to de-escalate the situation. Sometimes it does get physical, and in that moment there are safe and unsafe ways to manage it.

Let's say "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Marilyn Manson descended upon city hall, determined to kick Mayor Slay's ass. How do you think Chuck Norris would handle the situation?

I can't comment on that. You would have to ask Chuck Norris.

Kiss This
Like you, dear reader, Unreal was crestfallen to learn that the Archdiocese of St. Louis has begun restricting access to its weekly newspaper's Web site. No longer can just anyone scroll through the St. Louis Review to catch up on the Archdiocese's latest; now you have to be a subscriber, which costs $25 a year. At least we can still view the "Dear Father" column gratis. Which brings us to the April 21 installment of "Dear Father," in which Pastor Matthew Mitas of Union, Missouri, tackles a big issue: When meeting Archbishop Raymond Burke in person, should a parishioner "shake hands or kiss the bishop's ring?"

Call Matt a suck-up, but this is the sort of conundrum that's kept many a theologian awake nights. And now a pastor from Union has wrestled the angel and emerged victorious. Mitas' argument is so subtle we wouldn't dare try to paraphrase it. Instead, we reproduce it in its entirety:

I've had occasion to meet Archbishop Burke many times, and each time I shook his hand. He is, however, a high official of the Church. Should I have kissed his ring? What is the proper decorum in such circumstance?

People need to have universally accepted rules for showing respect and friendship to one another. When it involves governments of nations, it's called protocol. When it involves individuals within society, it's called etiquette.

Some may think such rules are restrictive, but the opposite is true. The rules of etiquette empower people both to avoid offending one another and to show each other respect (and, when followed, they keep a lot of people from making fools of themselves).

According to traditional etiquette, a bishop is addressed as "your excellency," with an archbishop called either "your excellency" or "your grace." Take your cue from him. If he extends his hand to shake yours, then do the same. But, traditionally, if he is your own bishop, you would kneel on your left knee and kiss his ring. If he is not your bishop, or if kneeling would be awkward, you would bow to him then kiss his ring.

A bishop receives his ring at his ordination as a sign that he is "wedded" to his diocese and its people and is a bridegroom much like Christ, the Bridegroom of the Church. Thus when you kiss the bishop's ring you are actually paying homage to Christ.

This code of etiquette probably smacks of aristocracy to many Americans and to a lot of bishops, too. In a democratic republic like ours, where one citizen is as good as another, such expressions seem obsequious and foreign. Even so, we Americans know how to show respect for our president. Though just a citizen like the rest of us, he can't get off an airplane without having a brass band strike up "Hail to the Chief" and a firing squad blast a 21-gun salute.

Simply put, the honors are for the office, not the man. Bishops don't insist on this etiquette. They will shake your hand and take no offense. You, however, may actually do a great service by kissing his ring, for you'll remind both him and yourself of the sacredness of his office and of the apostolic shoes he fills.

Local Blog O' the Week

The Fat Girl Blog"
Author: Teresa
About the blogger: Teresa has turned to Weight Watchers in her quest to shed pounds.

Recent Highlight (May 11): Old Me/New Me Part 1

OM: So, the gang is going to Qdoba for lunch.

NM: Indeed they are. I'm not sure I'll go though.

OM: Excuse me - perhaps you didn't hear me. I said Qdoba which is commonly called your favorite place to eat.

NM: Yeah, but there's that whole point issue now. It's something like 20 points for a shredded beef burrito.

OM: Okay...but you have 28 points left for today. Points are there to be used. Besides, you don't want to be the weird girl.

NM: I'm already the weird girl. If I get it, that leaves me with 8 points for the rest of the day. The soda at knitting group will be 3 points, which gives me five points for dinner and two snacks. It's not going to work.

OM: Fair point. How about you check the nutritional info for doing it without the tortilla.

NM: Hmmm...16 points. That's still a lot.

OM: It's less than 20, though!

NM: I like the tortilla though. I like it a lot.

OM: So try it without the cheese and sour cream.

NM: Hmm. Still quite a few points.

OM: Have you forgotten the art of rationalization?

NM: Huh?

OM: The 20 point burrito with all the trimmings has 70% of your daily intake of iron! You were anemic - you need iron!

NM: That's true, I was anemic. I'm not now. I am, however, still fat. So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to heat up my soup.

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