Goodbye Speedo (NSFW)

Diary , Gallery , NSFW Dec 09, 2013 5 Comments

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I’ve finally taken the plunge, and ordered a square cut swim trunk to replace my Speedo.  I’d been mulling this over a while as I’ve noticed more and more guys at the pool showing up in square cuts and jammers, and fewer guys showing up in the iconic Speedo briefs.  Even the Olympic swimmers had swapped the briefs for jammers.  Time to keep up with the trends.

Laugh as you will at this being an example of a “first world” problem, but from a functional perspective it was time to replace the current suit anyway.  In chlorinated water, a Speedo will only last a couple of months, and mine was at the end of its lifespan.  So logging onto the Speedo website to order a replacement, would I go with the tried-and-true Aquablade brief or make a change to something more current?

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I’ve had a long relationship with the Speedo brief, starting with the first one I obtained when I was in high school.  Notice I said obtained and not bought… as a teenager I never would have had the nerve to buy a Speedo.  But I had an after-school job at a department store and they stocked Speedos, so one night I stuffed one into my suit jacket and smuggled it out.  At home I put it on, but it was not a good look on my skinny teenage body.  I kept it hidden in the bottom of my underwear drawer, never to be worn in public but there as an aspiration for what I might be someday.

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That someday eventually came, after many years of weight training and swimming.  At last I had a body that could support a Speedo.  This was a hard-won victory, one I have not been eager to relinquish.  Plus I really like the Speedo tan line, which appears like magic each season from swimming laps in an outdoor pool.  So giving up the Speedo would not be a trivial affair.

And yet, I don’t want to be the guy who keeps wearing the same stuff long after it’s gone out of style.  When I was younger I’d see older men wearing clothes that were way out of style, but they hadn’t figured it out themselves or they were too uncool to get current.  The wrong suit, wrong pants, wrong shorts, wrong hair style.  I told myself I wouldn’t be one of those guys, that I’d keep up with the trends and stay current.  Would wearing a Speedo brief put me in that group?

 

When I was a kid we all wore corduroy shorts by Ocean Pacific.  They came in a variety of colors, all with the iconic “Op” embroidered on the lower front corner.  One summer it was time to get back-to-school clothes, so Mom took me down to the mall and I got a couple of new pairs of Op shorts.  But something had changed – the shorts had become longer, maybe by an inch or so.  When I got home I called my best friend, and he was beside himself.   “I’m not gonna wear them,” he exclaimed. “I’ll just keep wearing the ones I have.  I won’t wear longer shorts!”  And I thought to myself that he was being kinda pathetic.

But at the same time I don’t want to dress like a college kid the rest of my life.  Because then I’d be one of those old guys who dressed like he was trying to look younger, seemingly in a futile attempt to hold on to youth.  Age with dignity, man!

I once had a professor in college who said that she’d noticed that people tend to dress in whatever the style was when they were grad students.  At least this applied to faculty.  The faculty who were in grad school in the 70s kept wearing jeans, the faculty from the 80s would wear khakis and sweaters.  This was in the 90s, and as we all sat there in our grunge flannel shirts I wondered if this was how we’d look forevermore.  Needless to say, that has not been the case, as I now have nary a stitch of flannel in my closet.

Except, just shortly after I discarded my last piece of flannel, it seemed to be making a reappearance.  Not exactly the same stuff as the 90s, but similar.  These things move in cycles.  Jeans were tight, then they were “relaxed” (if not baggy), then tight again.  Shorts became longer and longer until they came down to the knees, but now they’re getting shorter again.  And the socks to go with the shorts? We wore tall white tube socks with our Op shorts, but as the shorts got longer the socks got shorter.  From tube socks, to crew socks (scrunched down, for whatever reason), then finally ankle socks.  And now the socks are getting high again, except instead of white tube socks they’re colored, in the manner of soccer players.

This applies to hair styles and facial hair too.  In the 80s I’d roll my eyes at guys who hadn’t realized moustaches had gone out of style, and yet now they’re making a comeback.  After wearing a goatee for nearly a decade (chin only, no moustache) and dispensing with the soul patch as a mid-term modification, I figured that style had played out and it was time to jump on the beard bandwagon.  But what about my hair?  When I started losing my hair I shaved it off, but what if the bald look goes out of style?  Then I’m screwed.

And body hair!  Thank goodness the smooth 80s-90s look finally played out, because using Nair all over your body is a bitch.  Spoken from experience, when in college I routinely shaved mine all off so I’d look good in my Speedo.

Ah, the Speedo.  Am I the old guy with the old swimsuit style who just doesn’t get it?  Hell no, my new square cut is on its way in the mail.  Along with one more Aquablade brief, just for old time’s sake.

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Nate

Writer, performer, public speaker, wing guy, gym buddy, sympathetic ear, naked chef, and all-around good-natured exhibitionist. Say hello at nate@natebeck.us.

5 Comments

  1. JJ

    Excellent! I dress for comfortably not for style, but I am old and can get away with it now.

  2. Bob

    Great article and love the shower pics!

  3. Bob

    I’ve acquired a number of pairs of trunk speedo’s of cut and form, mainly black in colour which I believe is the sexiest and most flattering on any physique a guy may possess. These trunks and ‘togs’ are often lest behind by ‘fitter’ looking members of our local triathlon club who are vacating the local pool and are showering within the changing rooms as us mere mortals are getting ready for a splash about…it is an interesting changeover period! Wearing them is even the more horny to imagine which of those guys have been inside them?

  4. Sailor

    This piece has that wonderful conversational style I equate with the best kind of arts & leisure and style journalism.
    I think it’s harder to do then it reads, I’ve tried to submit a few pieces to sites on local shops, reviews etc. to no avail and I think you should pursue it. It’s a great stance to take when writing about a product and item of desire or such, to make it a personal story of the writer’s wants, inhibitions and feelings of self perception when it comes to this kinda stuff.
    Really fun.
    Made me think of Mike Albo’s column (before they axed him) for the NY Times style men’s shopping. The pieces were always way more about his internal journey then the boutique he was writing about.

    • Nate

      Thanks Sailor, much appreciated. I’m a big fan of Mike Albo so take that as a big compliment. It’s funny how in writing these things, all kinds of personal thoughts pop up and then the challenge is finding a way to organize it all so it reads and makes sense. It’s fun for sure!

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