Just outside of Barrie, Ontario, on our way up to her family’s cottage last weekend, my wife asked me a sensible question about what we had packed. “You packed your bathing suit, right?” she asked. Wrong. I did not pack my bathing suit.
Maybe it’s due to growing up without a pool or a family cottage, but it just never occurs to me to come prepped for swimming when I travel. I’m a good swimmer who enjoys swimming, but it’s never at the top of my list of leisure activities. (At the top? Sleeping.) One year in Montreal, I lived in an apartment building that had a pool — and I never once went swimming. I also never had a key card to the front door of the building and always had to count on someone entering/exiting to get myself in, but that’s a whole other story.*
*The whole other story: I was too cheap to pay the $50 deposit.
Anyhow: halfway to the cottage and bathing suit-less (technically not the same as being “unsuited”), I caved to the suggestion that we see what the local Wal-Mart had to offer. Will you be shocked if I tell you that the choices were limited? Will you be even more shocked if I told you that every single men’s bathing suit was of the long, saggy, quasi-board shorts variety?
Why is the long, saggy, quasi-board shorts variety of bathing suit now virtually the only swimwear a man can buy?
A few years ago, inspired by the now-famous Casino Royale scene of Daniel Craig as James Bond, emerging from the surf (image, top of post, via IMDB.com), my wife suggested I try a pair of shorter, tighter and, for lack of a better word, European-style swim trunks. Now, I’m sure a lot of women were “inspired” by that scene. And I can confirm that I look nowhere as good as Daniel Craig in a bathing suit. (I look nowhere as good as Daniel Baldwin in a bathing suit.) But it is true that the average male fares poorly in these now-standard baggy, cargo-short-looking trunks. The look? To be blunt: like you’ve had an accident.
Now, don’t worry: I’m not suggesting we all go full-Euro and start rocking the Speedos. And we’ll leave the full bodysuits to old-timey strong men (and Michael Phelps). And I’m sure you’ll all be relieved to hear that, before our recent trip to Cuba, I picked up a pair American Apparel trunks that splits the difference between saggy and skimpy.
But I do need to ask: Ladies, which styles of swimwear do you prefer on your men?
Paul Beer is a Toronto writer, actor and comedian. You can follow him on twitter @pauldanielbeer.