Wednesday, March 20, 2013

You Can Wear a Bathing Suit as Underwear, but You Probably Shouldn't

So with Winter drawing to a close (just ignore this week's... incident), I think it's time I address this topic: SVIMVEAR!

OMG! I Totally grew up in that house!

Now, my gentle readers, since all 5 of you know me so well, and since I talk about my childhood ad nauseum, you are very aware that I grew up in a seaside resort town that shall remain nameless for legal purposes, but you know the one... the one with the Spring tulip festival and Fall lima bean festival. I think there's a horseshoe crab festival in there too but I forget when that one happens... June 26, I think.

I come from a rich cultural tapestry.

Throughout my childhood it was impressed on me (pounded into me) by peers and one particular sibling, that beachwear was the sole indicator of your social status and your place in society (jock table, band table, art table, theater table, mathelete table, stoner table?) so it was of the utmost importance that I pestered my parents until they bought me the appropriate Birdwell Beach Britches, or perhaps Sundeks so that I would not be the social pariah who could only hope for a riptide to end my shame. Of course I had to rely on the hand-me-downs, so it was a matter of luck whether or not an older brother would have that fortuitous growth spurt while his suit was still fashionable. Alternatively, you could REALLY beg to go to the Kona Sports end-of-season sale and maybe engineer a shift one rung up the social ladder for next year.

My ass never looked anything like that.

These are what I had, down to the classic sky blue. My GOD! Those are expensive! No wonder I never got them new. Note to self: call parents and have them mail those to me.

That's probably all (more than all? way more than all?) the background one needs to understand the deep-seated psychological issues I have on this topic, and why I now tend to swim at nude beaches. You might think that someone who loves clothes as much as I do, and conversely hates nudity, would not favor those 70s swimming spots, but go figure.

All that being said, I do have some preferences for beachwear. In a perfect world we would all be wearing Victorian or Edwardian fullbody trunks. It isn't that I subscribe to the Victorian social mores of modesty, but rather the style is phenomenal! Any outfit that you can top off with a straw boater can not be praised highly enough.

Why do these only seem to exist in Second Life? Are we so incapable of realizing our fantasies? I would wear the crap out of each and every one of these. Imagine a beach full of nothing but this! Perhaps THAT is why people cash in their 401Ks to spend in virtual alternate realities.

This brings me to another point, first expressed to me by a good friend on the beach: straight boys are terrified of their sexuality showing... kind of. It is actually a bit more complex than that in an analogous way to the aforementioned Victorian Modesty. For some reason, to show any flesh below the hip but above the knee (or even the knee) is somehow as risque as being absolutely naked; however, low-rise (so we ALL know you manscape) is de rigueur, much like a Victorian woman showing ankle is clearly a trollop, but a plunging d├ęcolletage is completely acceptable. Now I have some idea as to how this has come to pass, but I don't want to get into the whole pants-on-the-ground debacle that makes me cry inside. Suffice to say it is not a good look, and society would be much better in general without the crackshow. Standards and Practices said no!

Knees??? I shall positively swoon!

Confession: I am NOT 13
in this picture.
Somehow a trip to the beach now involves wading through a sea of shapeless, sack-like suits but I refuse to fall into that and it still earns me sneers and scorn. I say pheh to all that! I am not 13 years old anymore. 

Please wait 30 minutes after eating before reading
to avoid emotional cramping. 

Speaking of BEING 13 on the beach... funny story: I had ridden my Schwinn Varsity from school (singing "school's out for summer" the whole way) over the solitary hill in town (it was a bridge... it was the best we could afford back then) to the beach to frolic in the surf. Lo and behold, there on Popular Crowd Beach was a particularly unpleasant red-headed girl from the 9th grade doing her own frolicking with the Popular Crowd after whom that beach was officially named (look on Google Maps, hand to god it's true!) Unsurprisingly, she dropped in on my little sitting rock to bombard me with her special brand of tomfoolery, rifling though my backpack to triumphantly wave my change of underwear over her head like some sort of victory flag. To this day I am not sure if she thought that tightie whities were something freakish or not, but she did delight in running down the beach with them and putting them on to the amusement of the other PCB teens. That is the exact moment that I had my epiphany and came into my own. I watched the other boys laughing and knew that they all wore the exact same underwear, give or take (mine were high-quality Haines, not crappy BVDs like others... you know who you are, former PCM minions), and this chick (I'll call her Mabel, since I can not for the life of me remember her name, but that sounds plausible) acting like an idiot (she was in remedial math, remedial reading... you know, everything... so I am fairly certain that she was technically an idiot) and I realized I was not at all interested in being a PCBer or having their approval. In an instant I knew I was so much better than that and than they were. I had no reason to be ashamed of my skinny body, or glasses, or lack of a tan. They should want my approval, but they were all just a bit too dim to understand that. I walked up to Mabel and said, "You keep 'em baby. They'll help you keep your dick under wraps."

I left the beach and never looked back. That isn't to say that I never went back: it was the nicest part of the beach, and I was not about to give up my spot. To this day, I sit in the same spot with the same beach towel.

Yes, it is the same bathing suit from 1985. The sunblock, however, has gone from SPF4 to SPF70.

But I digress... this isn't Degrassi Junior High and I am just here to rap about the rad threads. Sorry. That still sounds like some Degrassi guidance counselor talking.

Original Jams just like Moondoggie used to wear.
I still like mine better, so suck on that, Gidget!
My all-time, non-crack revealing favorite bathing suit is the one pictured above: my Original Jams. While they may have faded from their original florescent 80s grandeur, their 60s inspired new wave sensibility outshines anything I could find today. In fact, I have scoured the InterWebs for something similar, but to no avail. I will be heartbroken should they ever fray. Luckily, they were made with love and built to last so maybe they will outlive me.

Then there is that even more classic square cut suit that James Bond favored. How could anyone NOT want to have even half his style. There is something simultaneously sexy and sophisticated about that look which reveals just enough while still looking natty.

Daniel Craig or Sean Connery? Or George Lazenby?

I have to say, I feel extra suave when I wear mine and drink martinis as the swim up bar.
Matthew Williamson and Lifestyles. Sexy, huh?

And during the course of writing this, my mommy informed me that she could not find my old Sundeks. That is the same mommy who bought me those tightie whities, because duh, I was 13...who else was going to? Everyone's mom bought their tightie whities when they were kids. What 13 or 14 year old had the discretionary income for underpants? Problem solver that I am, I did find these on eBay Israel for a mere pittance. Sadly, they have succumbed to that lengthening trend, and THIS now qualifies as short. Perhaps I can get them tailored to what they should be.

Clearly the ones on the right represent the ideal Sundeks of the 80s.

If I have left you with a sense that I had a melancholy, solitary childhood, fear not gentle readers, for I did have my own crowd, and I did consider us the Popular Ones. I still see a lot of them, and we are still the coolest!

Coming soon: Underpants, and why come your mom will always buy them for you.

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