Is it ever OK to wear Speedos on holiday?

Gentlemen, find a wall to lean on, breathe in, and slip on your Speedos - Lanny Ziering
Gentlemen, find a wall to lean on, breathe in, and slip on your Speedos - Lanny Ziering

Cocaine, uranium, AK-47s… and budgies. Smuggling any of these is frowned upon, but for the last few decades at least, it seems as if it’s budgie-smugglers that have somehow attracted the greatest moral outrage.

Since the turn of the millennium, wearing swimming briefs (aka Speedos, togs, sluggos, banana-hammocks and indeed budgie-smugglers; like any villainous international criminal, they have a number of aliases) has been considered a felony against fashion, good taste and even the laws of space-time: “The ’70s called,” my own actual girlfriend told me on one occasion, “and they want their swimwear back.”

Once a staple of the jet-setting gentleman’s wardrobe – accessorised, ideally, with bear-hairy chest and gold-rimmed Aviator sunglasses – micro-sized man-pouches ruled the waves from Margate to Malaga (and other equally exotic foreign climes). They were flaunted by the fashionable, modelled by the macho, and even earned the ultimate style accolade when they were – pun deeply regretted – briefly banned, for reasons of public decency, in Australia in 1961.

Then the bottom fell out of the market – possibly literally, given the minimal support offered by three square-inches of ageing lycra – and thus began the era of the boardshort. Like Adam, suddenly aware of his nakedness after consuming the apple, we ate of the breakfast buffet and were ashamed – of our muffin-tops, of our very-visible pubic hair, and, occasionally, of a tiny wrinkle of something unmentionable escaping from its elasticated enclosure. We reached for the fig-leaf of a nice thigh-length bit of cotton-polyester from M&S, and never looked back.

A few, ahem, pockets of resistance held out, either because they were behind the times or ahead of them. Australian blokes never got the memo, but the rest of us fell in line, cowed by the beachwear Gestapo. First, they came for our sandals-with-socks combo; then they came for our strawberries-&-cream-contrast tanlines; then they came for our briefs – and there was no-one left to speak out because we were scared our womenfolk would laugh at us again.

Well no more, men! It’s 2023 and time to feel the bracing winds of change stirring on our newly-exposed inner thighs, the enlightened sunshine of freedom warming our at-last-unencased buttocks. It’s time to go Greer on our swimgear, burning our boxers just like Germaine and her mates went to town on their bras in the Sixties. It’s a question of emancipation, ethics and equality: if the girls have the right to expose their bodies without shame, so do the boys.

Gentlemen, find a wall to lean on (getting into them isn’t as easy as it looks), breathe in, and slip on your Speedos. You have nothing to lose but your dignity!

Do you wear Speedos on holiday? If not, why? And would you object to the skimpy garment experiencing a renaissance? Please comment below.

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