The Male Unitard & The Emperor's New Clothes...

paul cram underwearUnitards, like speedos, reveal a lot about a guy. This realization is unavoidable as I am looking at my reflection in the mirror next to the row of porcelain sinks on the 5th floor office building men's room.

How I Got Here

When the wardrobe gal handed me my unitard costume a few minutes ago, I looked at it and chuckled. Stretched the fabric between my fingers a bit. (I could see my fingers, plain as day through the thin material.) I asked her what to wear under it? "Maybe nothing," she says. "Or possibly your briefs. Do you have flesh colored briefs on?" 

I think she has me confused with a well-prepared male model. The type that brings along a little man-bag with model essentials to a modeling audition. Essentials would include: three pairs of pristine folded underwear in black, white, and flesh tone colors; a sharp razor to manscape on a moments notice, and breath mints. But I am not a male model and this isn't an audition for the latest CK underwear campaign. Goodness no, this is a shoot for a local radio station known for their comedic commercials.

This is my "fitting" for the commercial I booked. I was instructed to change here in the men's room near the elevators at the front of the building, and head back to the conference room to show the director as soon as I am changed into the 'tard. That's how I got to be standing here wearing a unitard.

What A Unitard Is

For those that don't know what a unitard is, it's a tight-fitting one-piece garment of stretchable fabric that covers the body from the neck to the knees or feet. Basicly, it's what dancer's wear. For my fellow red-neck's, it's kinda like a woman's one-piece bathin' suit, but it goes all ways down to yer ankles 'n a guy'll wear 'em sometimes fer dancin' ballet.

What A Unitard Isn't


My sherbert-clad reflection above the sink shows off every nook and crevice of the male anatomy. So I decide that maybe I will try it with the briefs on underneath to see if they will help lessen the transparency of the fabric. I start to take off the unitard and as am standing there with one leg out. That's the precise moment Murphy's Law kicks into motion.

If Something Can Go Wrong It Will (Especially When You Aren't Wearing Pants)

The men's room door swings open and in walks a random office working guy. I stand there, one leg in the unitard, one leg out. A pair of briefs clutched in my right hand. My bare butt doubled because of the mirror behind me. I feel my face flushing. It's an awkward moment for us both. Not so much because I am a half naked man changing in a men's room. It makes sense that if you had to change, you would do so in the restroom as opposed to the hallway. No, it's made awkward because I am changing out of (or into he wonders?) a bright orange spandex unitard.

He obviously doesn't know that I am an actor. The actor who booked the commercial where I play an interpretive dancer. Of course he doesn't know that. What he does know is that I am odd.

Hurry And Put Your Underwear On Before Anyone Else Comes In

I quickly get my leg out of the tight material. I tug on the briefs, and yank the unitard back on. Turning to the mirror, I see that the backside tag is in the front now. On top of that, the briefs do nothing but add seam lines around my waist and legs.

Being Fully Naked In Fittings Is A Bit More Comfortable Somehow

Standing in my birthday suit isn't that big of a deal. I am an actor and am in fittings often with little and sometimes no clothing on. It's a part of the job. Usually feels very similar to being in a locker room or something like that, where clothing isn't expected.

There's just something comical about this situation though. Perhaps it's because I have to walk back to the director while wearing this spandex costume. And to do that, I will be walking from the men's room through a series of cubicles where accountant types are working, down a few hallways, and finally to the back room. Very unlike a locker room or fitting that I am used to. (Why didn't I just change in the same room as the director and avoid all the weird hallway walking? I have no idea.)

I reach for the restroom door handle and walk out into the hallway.


So this is what it must have felt like for the Emperor when he walked out wearing his new clothes.

If I smile and nod as if you can't see through my clothes, then you can't. I convince myself that it's a good idea not to run, but just to walk. (As if I am strolling through a sunlit parade.)

As I walk through cube-land, heads start popping up in my wake. I hear people whispering "did you just see a guy walk past in orange spandex?" 

Hey, Eyes Up Here Please

I just keep walking and finally make it back to the director who is chatting with the wardrobe gal. His eyes start at my feet and move up to my waist and that's where they stop. "We can't show that on TV," says the director, "I can totally see the blank of your blank."

You Can't Show That On Television

I glance over the to the wardrobe gal to see how she plans on rectifying the situation. Nothing. She just stares with a furrowed brow. 

So I pipe in with "I think I need a dance belt." 

The wardrobe gal looks up at me and asks "What's a dance belt?" Which stuns me momentarily as I would assume most wardrobe artists would know way more about clothing than me. 

What A Dance belt Is

Here's Wikipedia's definition: "A dance belt is a kind of specialized undergarment commonly worn by male ballet dancers to support their genitals. Most are similar in design to thong underwear."

Fast forward a few days to the day of filming. I am in wardrobe putting on the unitard without a dance belt because the wardrobe gal didn't get around to getting one. I think to myself that if worse comes to worse they can blur out the middle of my body so the footage can be aired on TV without being pulled off as offensive to American audiences. (I think they would air it just fine in Europe.)

When I walk onto set, everyone hustles and bustles around. All avoiding eye contact with me. I spot another actor that I've worked with in the past and wave. He sees me and bursts into a belly laugh, and waves back.

What, if any, unique costumes have you had to wear for work?


  1. My brother flaunted it one Halloween by wearing the Greenman Bodysuit Costume. It also shows up in a wetsuit.

  2. I see the humor of a Greenman Bodysuit on Halloween! :)

  3. I went from rolling off my chair with laughter to outrage at your incompetent wardrobe girl, and then back to laughter again. How can I get her job?

    1. You can get the job without any knowledge of clothing. So I think you are over qualified. :)

  4. that is just too funny...I mean, C'mon have penis's....they show speedo's during the Olympics and swimming/diving competitions and bulges in football uniforms, so why not show a man in a you said, in Europe, they would have had no problem with this at all. I am sure you rocked the unitard and I for one, would love to see the uncensored photo


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