Pancho Villa: Mexico’s Commander in Chafe

Although the Mexican revolutionary general Pancho Villa was as tough as a stale tortilla, he could not endure his problem with chafing. Impatient with this discomfort he wrote a letter to John Wesley Hanes in 1914. Wesley Hanes was the founder of the Hanes Hosiery Mills Company.

An unhappy and uncomfortable Pancho Villa.

In the letter, Villa asked for “the support of Hanes” – a request that historians believe shows Pancho’s wry sense of humor. While the pun may have been intended, Villa and his men did need relief from constant chafing.

Pancho Villa (not pictured) received the support of Hanes boxer shorts.

Over the course of the revolution, Villa received 12 large shipments of undergarments and socks for him and his revolucionarios. Wesley Hanes wrote to Villa in a letter that accompanied the first shipment, “These boxer shorts provide support, but our men’s underwear will also help keep your men cooler and dryer and they will help prevent the painful chafing your compañeros have experienced.”

Villa replied, “I appreciate very much how your underwear, as you Americans say, prevents the chafe. I no longer have to use Johnson & Johnson anti-itch medicine. It smelled like babies.”

Reinvigorated by the new-found sense of security that new underwear so often gives, Villa and his men continued the revolution against Mexico. It is ludicrous to say that Villa’s underwear helped win the revolution in 1920, but it undeniably made the journey to freedom so much more comfortable.

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1 Response to “Pancho Villa: Mexico’s Commander in Chafe”


  1. 1 Rebecca October 7, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    This post seriously made me laugh! This blog is a great idea. Well done!


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