Tuesday, August 10, 2010

shambles p.i.: the use your imagination speedo edition

While I consider myself quite fashion-conscious, one sartorial sh*tshow I haven't kept up on is men's swimwear. I bring this up now -- balls deep into swimming season (pun intended) -- because of a recent Sunday jaunt to DC's public Francis swimming pool. Located in what the Internet apparently refers to as the "West End" of DC, the Francis pool is situated just up the street from Trader Joe's at 25th and N NW.

And while the pool seems to attract a nice cross-section of upwardly mobile DC residents (present company excluded -- I'm very much downwardly mobile), including gays, straights, blacks, whites, Latinos, Europeans, young, middle-aged and old, there was a surprisingly high concentration of extremely small men's swimming trunks. We're talking Speedo central, my friends.

Sure, it's just as logical as it is stereotypical to assume that perhaps it was just the foreigners and gays donning these water-ready panties, but my gaydar was holding steady at seven out of 10 as it would anywhere in and around the Dupont area and I overheard most of the wearers speaking English with an American accent. Indeed, I was perplexed.

More befuddling, though, is that this strange instance was preceded a few weeks ago at the beach by yet another when a straight, married friend of mine boasted about his love of the Speedo, surely to the chagrin of his wife. In fact, as a favor to her, he kept the Speedo in his suitcase, opting instead for, well, let's just say shorter-than-normal, yet acceptable trunks.

But seriously, what is going on? Are the days of longer, surfer-style men's swimming trunks gone? And if so, why? Is it for the fear of farmer's tan? A need for extended leg movement? Or simply because today's man has extreme pride in his manscape?

My time at the pool last Sunday answered no questions for me, but instead compounded the riddle. Not only does the small swimsuit seem to be the new rage among the general male population, but so does the small swimsuit featuring vanity padding. I think you get what I'm saying here and if you don't, I dare you to click here (NSFW).

And while that's so borderline obscene that it's probably not safe for work, it's apparently safe for the public pool, where not only children are present (although, luckily, not that many), but so are a wide variety of other people with the gift of sight. You don't see us women trying on bikini bottoms that purposely enhance our camel toes...ick. Although, now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure that without padding, the Speedo has the potential to become much, much more interesting obscene...

But really, I don't care how good of a body you have, unless you're engaged in competitive swimming, you probably don't look good in that casual Speedo, at least to women. For example, that's Justin Timberlake pictured above. He has instantly gone from bringing sexy back to bringing creepy back.

On the other hand, if all the guys at the Francis pool stopped wearing Speedos, people watching would become much less amusing. And then what would I blog about? I would just be forced to give you useful information, like the Francis pool has three sections -- shallow (for kids), standard (for swimming laps), and deep (for whatever). It's open everyday but Tuesday from 1 p.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays and noon-6 p.m. on weekends. It's free for DC residents or $4 for guests. They don't sell water so bring your own. Snacks and other beverages, however, are not permitted and, yes, they seem pretty vigilant about it. Wow -- what a boring blog that would be...


FoggyDew said...

See, this explains a lot. I was driving through somewhere downtown on Sunday and saw a guy doing a Pierce Brosnan from The Matador - walking proudly down the street in a speedo and ... well, not cowboy boots, but not sandals either.

Not a huge fan of the speedo and would never, ever wear one, but you may be onto something there about the tanning.

One Blonde Girl said...

Wow. I agree whole-heartedly. Speedos are for competitive swimming only. I will never, ever want to see that much of a man. (I think this fact was pretty much driven home for me when you mentioned that it was JT in the picture and I had to go back and double check, and yes, you were right, that is JT in the pic, but for obvious reasons, my eyes didn't register that when I first looked at it.)

James Doakes said...

Thirty One Today
What a Thing to Say

I Thought My Life Would be Better By Now
I Thought My Life Would be Different Somehow...

Anonymous said...

I wrote about my visit to the pool soon too. What I didn't write about is that we have some Russian families in our neighborhood and the men (and women) seem to like very, very small and unflattering swinsuits. It's refreshing in a way because they must love their bodies but it's also a little uhm unattractive?

Anonymous said...

I have secretly coveted the Speedo look since my first trip to the Spain back in the late 90s. Those Europeans do beach wear right.

Anonymous said...

Haha, I can't believe that's Justin Timberlake! Well, I believe you, but had to double check as well. Yugh.
Not sure about the swimwear fashion in the Netherlands, it's been to rainy lately for beach or pool.
I did see a little item about Brazil on tv, how Brazilian guys think the butt is the best part of the female body.
I don't think I can say the same of hairy male butts, so please hide them in those longer shorts!

Anonymous said...

huh , puritan's pride....
but it's ok to have kids at 15....

Marissa said...


Weirdly, I think I know exactly who you are talking about.

james doakes--

Actually, I never really thought I'd be this happy at 31, especially if you had asked me last year - 2009 was a tough one.


Although the Speedo is like a car crash, I agree that it's also a little admirable. I mean, you gotta have some damn fine self confidence...


Well, get over to the pool this weekend and you can wear that Speedo with pride!


I actually consider myself a butt connoisseur and agree that a nice butt can be a very attractive quality. However, that said, I think a hairy man's butt should probably be kept under cloth. In fact, that goes for hairy woman's butt, as well. And probably most butts in general.


Indeed, you have honed in on the grand irony of America. It's the kind of irony that propels someone like Sarah Palin from cartoon-status to near vice president. We're like the Baby Sinclair of the world. We're just so darn wacky that you gotta love us...or something.