While swimming with my girls in the local pool last week I noticed, as usual, the large signs posted all around the entrance reminding men what kind of swimwear they were permitted to use.
This has never been a big problem for me, as I’ve never quite understood why anyone would want to wear baggy, floppy clown pants while trying to swim anyway, so I’ve always been more comfortable with proper, snug trunks. You know, like swimmers wear. But what annoys me more is the outraged and indignant reaction of expats and tourists when told that no, they can’t go into the water wearing “shorts” which come down past their knees. There are various expat fora full of puzzlement, anger and outright xenophobia trying to work out why those weird continental types want to force us to don tight trunks, although occasionally someone comes along and talks a bit of sense, calmly explaining the logic behind it:
“I know this one, after arguing the toss with the French pool attendant on holiday he explained in his best English, ”You have to wear trunks because what the French resorts have found is people wear their swimming shorts all day at the beach, then the bar, then shopping, then get back to the pool and dive in it wearing a filthy pair of shorts, leaving sand and all sorts of other muck at the bottom of the pool” Makes sense if you think about it, I stopped arguing after that.”
And yet the Brits (in particular) still seem to have an aversion to swimwear which looks like underwear, even going so far at some resorts as to mirror the European rule and ban Speedos for being too shockingly revealing, and “to prevent embarrassment among fellow members of the public and to maintain the family-friendly atmosphere at the resort”.