Friday, August 13, 2010

More Naked

One day in the past we had the privilege to spend a couple of days at a resort on the coast not far from our old East African home. As we were checking in we saw a sign for the spa services. Reading the list, I mused aloud wondering what the difference is between a regular massage and a swedish massage. My good friend Lisa said, “I think it’s like a regular massage, but you’re more naked.”

That’s sort of what French swimming pools are like. For the fellas anyways. Back in Paris, JJ would occasionally go to a nearby pool to swim for exercise. She had told me that there’s a sign informing swimmers they must wear proper swimwear. She also told me that she believed “proper” swim attire for men means no long shorts, but rather tight speedo-type swimsuits. I laughed and worried not. I did not have any immediate plans to swim laps. Plus, that place is just for exercise, so I guess it makes sense that you have to wear something more ‘sporty’, right?

Then we came to camp. Our camp, though in the middle of nowhere, has a great swimming pool. But it’s a play pool. Not for lap swimming. This pool is not square, not even oval, it’s not a normal geometric shape at all. The pool really doesn’t get any deeper than about 4ft, and there’s a kids area, 2 waterfalls, a small jacuzzi/jets area in the middle, a bridge, and a slide. Our first week we were too busy with trying to figure out our jobs to do much swimming, but as the week progressed I noticed that even though almost every guy vacationing at the camp wore what I would call swim shorts (board shorts, trunks, etc) while playing volleyball and badminton, they all stripped down to next-to-nothing to get in the pool. I inquired, and sure enough, that’s the rule. No shorts. Only those little speedo things. Why?

I tried explaining the danger in that: “My thighs have never seen the sun before, I might actually get skin cancer at the first exposure.” “I’m an American, we don’t do that.” “Can you please give me one logical reason why that is necessary?” But no matter, rules are rules. So the first time we drove off to the nearest town with a supermarch√©, I hit up the small men’s clothing department for the smallest item in the section and made my purchase. Seriously, this thing is smaller than my underwear. And once I cross through the pool gate, it’s all I’m allowed to wear. Why is it that the now most minuscule item in my entire wardrobe is the only thing I can wear at a public pool? Not sure if I’ll ever get used to this...

So without further adieu, I present to you a photo.

Of me.

In a Speedo.


Anonymous said...


Deborah said...

HA HA HA!!! Michael this is FABULOUS!! We have the same rule at my camp . . . and I still don't get it. Even worse, we took the whole camp to the beach one day to play in the Mediterranean. Lets just say that when playing soccer or volleyball at the beach, French men DO NOT deem board shorts necessary!! (I'll happily leave that image to your imagination!) See you guys in September!

Michael & Joe Joe said...

Paul - I understand exactly what that wow means. And I know you wish you could be here to see it. I can't blame you, really.

Deb - :) It is fabulous isn't it? No need to imagine... I just spent a week on the beach in Marseille and Corsica, so I've seen it. I'm rubbing out my eyes now (but that may be allergies).