Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday Soapbox

I was reading an article on Salon about Speedos. The author is a serious swimmer, but was giving in to the social pressures and resisted wearing Speedos while swimming. Then one day when his trunks came off as he did that little flip swimmers do, he basically decided to say screw the social pressures and started wearing Speedos.

It seems that there are two camps about Speedos.

One camp says, so what? A man's, erm, area is his area and we all know what the geography is, so why all the fuss?

The other camp thinks it is disgusting and crude and want absolutely no part of any man wearing one.

Yet isn't there a dichotomy between the sexes in swimwear, or even just beachwear for that matter? It is perfectly acceptable for a woman to wear what amounts to three teeny tiny bits of fabric and some floss. Yet, for a man do don something equivalent is viewed as just nasty. And it is the women who make the worst faces at seeing Speedos, not men.

Judging from the current trend of beachwear here in SoCal, the longer and baggier the boardshorts, the better. I don't think I've seen a man in a Speedo since the last summer Olympics, and certainly not in person. Is it a reaction from men to not openly display their sexuality, even though women feel free to display almost everything? Even when not at the beach? I'm trying to understand the almost Puritan vibes about the issue.

Or even worse, it is ok if a very fit and good looking man wears Speedos, but an overweight man in them is anathema? That speaks of discrimination to me. Is it the overabundance of hair on display? Oddly enough, lots of hair on a man's body, once viewed as the ultimate sign of masculinity, is shunned in America. Men are beginning to wax and shave almost as much as women, and I'm sure there are women that are thinking, yeah, payback finally.

Or maybe it is all just ado about nothing, and in time fashion will cycle around to men in tiny pieces of fabric again.

Perhaps the pendulum will just swing back to the Victorian era altogether and we'll be butttoned up to our necks and afraid to let our ankles show.

I think I might be able to live with that.

No comments: