A few weeks ago, in one of my classes, I had to ask the students what free things people get when they are beautiful. The theme for that week was about inner and outer beauty and the story was about a beautifu girl who gets free things because she was beautiful. A fourth-grade boy told me they get fanties. I did not understand what he said and so I told him to tell me again. One more time he said they get fanties. I did not know what fanties were and so I asked and a first grader stood up and touched his hip and said everybody wears fanties. Then, I realized they were talking about panties. Korean does not have an 'f' sound and so they get confused as to when to say 'f' and 'p.' Even the adults who have spent time studying English abroad get them mixed up. I explained to the kids that boys don't wear panties. They told me that everybody wears panties. I explained to them that boys wear undershorts and girls wear panties. They did not believe me and said that everybody wears panties. Later, I was talking about it with my co-teacher and she had not heard that panties are for women only. I explained to her that if some man were talking about his panties then people would think that he wears women's underwear.
Today, in another class, a student mentioned something about panties. I had to explain to them that boys wear undershorts and girls wear panties. They believed me more than the other class did. I also told them that the general term is underwear. I guess in Korea they are not taught that their are differences in names for men's and women's undergarments. Either that, or they do not make underwear designed for men.