Well, folks, something has been on my mind a lot lately . . . and I find myself mesmerized by it. Yes . . . that little glimpse of Frodo's unmentionables (undies, that is) in ROTK. Hence this . . . fic . . . essay . . . thing . . . has turned into, quite frankly, one of the oddest and silliest things I think I've ever written. So here it is, for good or ill . . . another reason why I will never be accepted into the fanfic literary canon.

Disclaimer: I own nothing, and to my chagrin, certainly not Frodo's bow, darn it.

Note: I have borrowed a choice phrase or two, all in fun, from The Fellowship of the Ring, and I hope the readers and the good professor will humbly forgive me this trespass. Er, and Ngila Dickson, if you are responsible for the authenticity of that scene, I bow and worship you forever.

And without further ado . . .

"How Frodo Got His Bow, or A Treatise on the Evolution of Hobbit Undergarments from the Latter Third Age to the Present" or "How Randy Hobbits and Rangers Influenced the Course of the Latter-Day World"


Herein lay the story of just how Frodo Baggins got his bow. Unfortunately, perhaps, for the reader, we're not talking about a bow that shoots arrows, or a bow as in, "You bow to no one," but instead are discussing the smallest, perhaps seemingly most insignificant bit of fluff: the little string bow that holds up Frodo's skivvies--or undershorts---or drawers, as we will properly refer to them here.

For said bow is a tiny thing and barely visible except for a few seconds worth of time in the Tower of Cirith Ungol in which it peeks, most alarmingly, above the waistband of Frodo's velveteen breeches as they lay snug and low against his peaches-and-cream-tinted belly.

Indeed, this bow seems unlikely to be worthy of meriting a history of its own, but given that it functions to protect all of Frodo's various rosy roundnesses, its importance cannot be overestimated. And furthermore, as the professor himself oftentimes showed us, few things in Middle-earth are as insignificant as they seem.


Concerning Male Hobbits' Undergarments

For it was around the year 2850 of the Third Age (Shire Reckoning 1250) that male Hobbit apparel, and underthings in general, began to evolve into the ever-practical, though often quite sensual (though Hobbits would disagree) items of clothing we see during the War of the Ring and beyond. Little is known of Hobbit underwear in the aforetime, but it is said that during the Days of Dearth and the Long Winter, (S.R. 1158-60), that Hobbit drawers alternated between very thin linen wrappings (called "Bullroarer shorts") that barely protected the more delicate parts and quite itchy "longhandles" that reached the knees to provide maximum warmth.

By the time the last hundred years of the Third Age had rolled around, however, male Hobbit drawers had generally evolved into something that might look like what we know today as "boxers," with the exception that 1) they lacked elastic, 2) they were fastened with buttons, 3) they were a bit longer and looser.

No bows were to be found upon Hobbit drawers prior to the Third Age 3019. Rest assured that Hobbits were, and always have been, *quite* fond of buttons from the time that Marco and Blanco crossed the Brandywine, and as a result, buttons decorated not only undergarments, but were lavishly bestowed upon weskits, jackets, shirts, and of course, breeches. It goes without saying that Hobbit-sized buttons were and still are quite small, and many a Human would find them extremely disturbing to navigate. Made of horn or wood or imported pearl, the buttons were usually a practical black or brown, but could also be dyed green, yellow, burgundy, or blue.

As there is no recorded instance of buttons in the Silmarillion, the Ainulindale, the ancient lore of the Numenoreans, or in any recorded Middle-earth history before Hobbits' appearance in Eriador, it may be assumed that Hobbits invented, along with pipe-weed, the ever-useful button.


Concerning Drawers In Particular

Let us go back now to the year 3017 of the Third Age. If one were so bold as to peek down the breeches of Frodo Baggins and his companions Meriadoc Brandybuck, Peregrin Took, and Samwise Gamgee at this time, one would see drawers basically unchanged from the last two hundred years of Hobbit fashion. After all, Hobbits resisted change and liked their undergarments well-ordered, and for this reason, all fellows wore the same design of a non-elastic waistband with button-tabs on the sides for adjustment, along with a gusseted button-flap front. Often, the drawers sported a balloon seat for extra room.

One of the servant class, such as Samwise, would likely wear the simplest design, fashioned from a vanilla-colored homespun nainsook or flannelette. This doughty fabric chafed at first, to be sure, but such drawers were made to *last*, and after hundreds of washings, they usually took on a softness unrivaled by any Elvish threads.

Both Bilbo and Frodo were as gentlehobbits and bachelors very exceptional, of course, and it is written down in the Red Book of Westmarch that every pair of Bilbo's drawers sported a "B.B." embroidered on the left thigh. However, Frodo usually eschewed such details, preferring an extremely high-quality, soft-but-serviceable cotton/silk blend in a creamy white to house his equally creamy male fripperies and rounded buttocks. Pearlized white buttons always adorned his drawers, and small tabs on either side allowed the waist to be adjusted.

Although at the time of this writing Frodo hadn't worn buttoned drawers for at least one score and ten years, he did recall that prior to the War of the Ring, he always wore drawers that sported approximately four very, very small buttons on either side of the flap. From his childhood, through his teen and tweenage years, and finally, to adulthood, Frodo gave nary a second thought to this garment, having grown quite used to unfastening buttons when removing his drawers or answering nature's call. It was just the Hobbity way---neat, compartmentalized private parts and a comfortable bum.

So what changed all of this? Many witnesses, including Frodo himself, can attest to the very facts that led to, during the year 3019 of the Third Age of Middle-earth, Frodo willingly discarding his Hobbit-style drawers and adopting the string-bow-tie-method favored by the Men of the more southern lands. And according to several sources, the process was set in motion after Frodo became well acquainted with Strider, the Ranger of the North.


On the Ordering of the Drawers

It is said that this "Strider" and Frodo Baggins exchanged only a few lingering glances at the Inn of the Prancing Pony before deciding to sneak off together and examine each others' drawers in detail. Rumors abound that Frodo was quite unruffled by the strange, wrap-around breech-cloth that snugly housed the ranger's Sceptre of Annuminas, but that Strider soon became extremely agitated at his own inability to hastily unfasten the small rows of buttons that covered Frodo's own more interesting accoutrements.

"Blast it, Frodo, undo those things yourself for me--there are too many of them and they're too small," was supposedly heard by Peregrin Took on more than one occasion as he passed a clump of shaking bushes while the company made their way to Rivendell. Meriadoc Brandybuck reported hearing multiple groans of "So many buttons, so little time" float through the air in a Man's voice while Frodo and Strider were supposedly off gathering firewood. Samwise Gamgee pinked up when questioned, but refused to comment.

Of course, soon enough the Witch-king of Angmar accosted Frodo at Amon Sul, and buttons were temporarily forgotten as the small troupe focused on moving with all speed toward the Last Homely House.

Once in Rivendell, it is rumored that this ranger, henceforth known as Aragorn, son of Arathorn, hit his own head in frustration upon realizing that the new drawers fashioned for Frodo while the hobbit lay abed suffering his Morgul wound bore . . . buttons. However, as Aragorn wished to keep his private life private from the Lord of Imladris, he said nothing, and luckily, the entire issue became of little import during this quiet, blissful stay. For in Rivendell, time passed slowly, providing plenty of opportunity to languidly unfasten buttons, lacings, hooks, eyes, and whatever other types of fastenings Mortals preferred.

But as all things eventually seem to do, this lovely time ended, and once again, the multiple small buttons upon Frodo's silky-white drawers (which, to remind the reader, housed his equally silky . . . plump fruit) became an issue and a barrier to quick lovemaking while on the run.

Gandalf the Grey, now White, recalled that on more than one occasion, if truth be told, his eerily sharp Wizard eyes spied Frodo sitting in Aragorn's lap at the edge of the camp, and that more often than not, the ranger would plunge his hand down Frodo's breeches only to curse and say, "Alas, I forgot---those dratted buttons!"

Gimli, son of Gloin, swore that one night while on watch in the elvish land of Hollin, he heard a rather long, drawn-out argument between Frodo and Aragorn, uttered in loud whispers just past a distant row of holly and whortle bushes.

"By the by, Frodo Baggins, I'm going to cut every one of these Hobbit-sized buttons off with my dagger and you shall just have to go bare under your breeches!"

"Men! Can't you be just a little patient about this?"

"You know I take care to be gentle with you. But I cannot help it---we have only a very small amount of time before my watch, and I would *like* to get you naked before the Fourth Age comes to a close!"

"My, in such a rush. All right, Aragorn . . . here, let me do it---no, stop that, you'll tear them off with your clumsy Man fingers. I'm getting them, I'm getting them---just wait a moment, for heaven's sake! Oy, where's the salve?"

After this verbal exchange ended, Gimli said he saw the outline of pale forms thrusting in the moonlight through the bushes and heard a multitude of pants and whimpers and the cawing of birds--which he took to mean that Frodo eventually *was* able to remove his drawers and expose his nakedness before Aragorn's watch began.

Things came to an abrupt head, er, as it were, in Lothlorien, according to one source, who hails from Mirkwood and who wished to remain anonymous. The source reported that Aragorn had had it up to here (and the source made cutting motions across his slender neck at this) with the great frustration he experienced whenever his usually nimble hands failed to pry Frodo's drawers off or apart in what should be an acceptably ranger-y amount of time.

"For Aragorn, son of Arathorn was the greatest tracker and huntsman of that time," the source intoned, "and yet these drawers were beating him."

Furthermore, the source reported that Aragorn considered Frodo's drawers to pose a distinct danger to the Hobbit, since when Frodo wandered off to answer nature's call, it took a while to unfasten his buttons. The very idea of Frodo in such a vulnerable position, alone, with his dangly bits exposed for a long period of time, went against Aragorn's very vow to protect the Hobbit by his own life or death. A drawstring drawer, the ranger considered, would take care of it all very nicely.

It is said that Aragorn might have also intended to fashion for Frodo drawers that expanded comfortably should the Hobbit succumb to the elvish penchant for becoming with child, but that is a story for another time. Suffice it to say that for whatever reason, Frodo soon saw the last of his many-buttoned, gusseted-for-extra-room Hobbity drawers.

Therefore, in the year 3019 of the Third Age, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, heir to the throne of Gondor, went directly to Haldir, the Marchwarden, who appealed to Galadriel, Lady of the Golden Wood, for some new drawers to be made for Frodo Baggins. And late at night under a great silver mallorn, reports our source, Aragorn presented Frodo with three brand-new pair of drawers made by the elves of Lothlorien---this time, without buttons.

The elves, taking the Hobbit penchant for comfort under all circumstances under account, fashioned Frodo's new drawers from the softest, most luxurious cotton-blend imaginable---perfect for wicking away the moisture from Frodo's dark crevices---and sewed them with flat-lock seams to avoid chafing. Of a snowy white color, the garment was of the usual thigh-length and boasted a tiny green embroidered leaf on the top left buttock. But perhaps most importantly of all, these drawers, reinforced at all points of strain (and there was strain, yes there was) came with an overlapping fly and a drawstring waist that tied on each side (one tie remaining hidden) for a perfect, comfy, shift-reducing fit.

An elaborate dinner spread and a cozy private night under the stars followed the giving of the drawers, and according to Rumil and Orophin, who kept watch on the borders of the Golden Wood that evening from a quite-hidden flet, the drawers amply demonstrated their easy access in a trial run. Frodo tied the drawstring into a tiny bow to avoid knotting, and the way it sat carelessly upon his slender hips, just below his navel, sent Aragorn (as well as several others who shared a bathhouse) into a mad frenzy whenever he spied it for the remainder of their stay.

As it happens, Faramir, son of Denethor and Prince of Ithilien, recalled getting a personal glimpse of Frodo's Lothlorien drawers while in the cave of Henneth-Annun, when Frodo thought never to see his Aragorn again.

"The drawers were unimaginably soft," Faramir said, "surpassed in smoothness only by Frodo's own dimpled bottom. And since Frodo and Sam told me about their experience with the Elven rope of Lothlorien while in the Emyn Muil, I still think, to this day, that Frodo's drawers held some of the same magic. For no matter how he writhed about under me, the bow would never come untied until one wanted it to. Or unless," Faramir added with a small grin, "a man pulled it with his teeth."

On the Giving of the Drawers

But those times passed, and in Minas Tirith after the destruction of the Ring, the King Elessar presented Frodo with an entire new wardrobe---including, of course, several pair of drawstring drawers. All of which, it may be said, bore the White Tree of Gondor on the back left cheek.

The good lady Ioreth, who served in the Houses of Healing during the War of the Ring, admitted to hearing and seeing the conversation between her Lord Elfstone and Frodo of the Nine Fingers soon after the Hobbit gained complete consciousness. She recalled peeking into the patient's room and spying the king sitting on the bed with his strong, healing hands up the nightshirt of the Periannath on his lap. Frodo held in his unbandaged hand a pair of his newest Tirithian drawers, and there were tears in his eyes as he spoke.

"Drawstrings and ties, Aragorn . . . does this mean . . . dare I hope?"

"Yes," the king answered, with a kiss to the Hobbit's brow and a rough quality to his voice that Ioreth had rarely heard before. "I would not have you resorting to your old buttoned drawers ever again, Frodo Baggins."


"Has sailed over the Sea."

"Oh, Aragorn," was the last Ioreth heard before she slipped away.

"But many times when the king came a-visiting here, he would shut the door to the Periain's room, and during those periods, I would sometimes hear the bed creaking and groaning---or was it a person?" Ioreth wondered. "And I'd say to myself, 'Ioreth, those sounds are waking other patients, but the hands of a king are the hands of a healer. And our Elfstone (such noble, chiseled features he has) must indeed have healing hands, if the Ring-bearer's cries of ecstasy are anything to go by.' Of course, he and the king were dear friends, and as I said to Mithrandir just a few decades ago---"

And so Frodo Baggins did indeed resist going over the Sea and has remained with the King Elessar for many decades. But the story of Frodo's hip-hugging tiny string bow does not, fortunately, stop there (and it is also said that the king is still hale and hearty and still goes into a mad frenzy at the sight of Frodo's easy-access drawers. According to one Bergil, son of Beregond, the two were spotted twisting and unclothed and creating quite a public disturbance recently in Rath Dinen).


Final Notes

After the War of the Ring, multiple hardships were visited upon the Hobbits of the Shire, as Saruman and the one known as Wormtongue took over and wreaked many types of havoc and bloodshed. It is said that Samwise Gamgee took home with him after the war a pair of Frodo's used Lothlorien drawers, and that after burying them in the Shire's rich loamy soil, the little country was visited with such prosperity and plenty as had not been seen even during Bilbo's lifetime.

Fascinated, Thain Peregrin and Meriadoc the Magnificent often visited the White City and made a study of Frodo's Lothlorien undergarments. They took this knowledge back to the Shire, and as Hobbits are nothing if not skilled with hand looms, they improved upon the original drawstring design and a fashion revolution sprang to life.

So it was that Hobbits gave up their buttoned drawers and invented the forerunner of what is today's fly-front boxer---with no buttons or ties. Indeed, this new brand of Shire drawers grew in such popularity amongst the Big Folk that it reestablished commerce with the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor. Few likely recall that the "Bradley" in "BVD" was once "Brandybuck," but was changed to accommodate the modern names so many of the Little Folk--including Meriadoc's descendants---took upon themselves. One wishing to learn more might consult the archives of Minas Tirith or "Meriadoc's Adopting the Fashion of the Big People,", an appendix to his "Herblore of the Shire."

Of course, the luxurious material that made up Frodo's original Lothlorien drawers is now preserved at Great Smials, the Mathom-house, and in the museum of Minas Tirith. But duplicating this fabric remains a lost art, for when the last elves of Lothlorien sailed West over the Sea, with them went the last living memory of elvish skivvies in Middle-earth.

Lily Baggins,

Gondorian Scribe