Wikipedia:Underwear rule

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Some male briefs.[1]
A female bra.[2]
Related: Superman rule. Same as this one, except it's a Superman costume.

During heated arguments, imagine everyone involved, yourself included, as being in the same room wearing only underwear while having the same argument. Assuming all parties involved adhere to this rule, the dispute will either result in mass orgy or successful dispute resolution, both of which have the favorable consequence of keeping everyone happy.


  1. Humanizing — It forces those involved to put a face onto an otherwise faceless entity on Wikipedia, thereby humanizing them.
  2. Behavioral psychology — It brings people closer together by sharing a common misery: being in their underwear. At least that's all something they can agree sucks, and getting along will end that misery. Dispute resolution can only happen if all parties are open to consensus and reasonable compromise. The thought of getting out of the uncomfortable mental image of everyone debating in their underwear (or worse, having sex :P) reinforces the desire to get out of the conflict and avoid beating a dead horse.
  3. Subconscious — Most people don't like being in public in their underwear out of humility. Being in your underwear while everyone else is clothed automatically puts you in the wrong subconsciously. Being in this mindset, you are more likely to see the faults of your own arguments as well as the merits of another's, because both of you are, by default, out of place and wrong simply by being in your underwear. Therefore, you're less likely to fall back on an absolutist mindset.
  4. Shared comedic baseline — The sexual innuendo of the latter half of the rule introduces an element of humor to the situation, thus aiming to keep it lighthearted—even if you perceive it to be gravely serious.
  5. Diffusing — It's harder to either accidentally or intentionally make serious personal attacks—you're in your underwear. It's also hard to take others' personal attacks seriously—they're in their underwear.
  6. Instant results — Citing the underwear rule instantly decreases the tension in an argument by a power of ten. Bonus points if you invoke the rule while also posting a picture of underwear to drive the message home.

Rough logic[edit]

  1. In many Western civilizations, it's anecdotally believed that a business suit makes a person more confident.
  2. The goal in dispute resolution is to make polarized parties involved in a heated argument less confident of their absolute rightness in the dispute.
  3. The antithesis of a tuxedo is being nude; the antithesis of a business suit is underwear.


  1. ^ Male intentionally omitted— let your mind fill the void with whatever hotness or ugliness you deem appropriate. :P
  2. ^ Food encouraged. People stop talking (for once) when they're eating food.

See also[edit]