June 21, 2013

"Why Are Guys Afraid to Wear Speedos?"

"American men need to get over their Freudian fear of showing off their junk."

The title and subtitle to a Slate article about men's bathing suits.

Random sentence: "My interest is not entirely sordid. My primary motivation is, in fact, safety."

107 comments:

Seeing Red said...

Because we've seen old fat European males in them?

Tibore said...

For a while I wore a speedo when I went swimming. I looked awful. I've gone back to trunks and never looked back. And yeah, it was totally a vanity thing to stop, and by "vanity", I mean "avoiding personal embarrassment".

Seriously... I soooo don't have a Speedo bod. :(

Wonder what our blog hostess things about those. I mean, trunks are essentially SHORTS! :D

Carol said...

Sheesh, obviously it's because some guys know they wouldn't make much of an impression, or even if they did it would look ghey.

BTW they didn't have this hangup back in the day. It came along with the basketball shorts. Which I think were meant to cover the girdle - I mean compression shorts.

tim in vermont said...

Freudian? He uses that word "Freudian," but I do not think he knows what it means.

Rocketeer said...

I'm sorry, it's not that I'm afraid of showing off my junk - it's spectacular - it's that Speedos look ridiculous. Good grief, why is everything about the cock with some people?

Amartel said...

Titus bait.

Pogo said...

Maybe 117 men in the world look really good in them, the remainder look like a rubber band stretched around a potato.

Patrick said...

Why Are Guys Afraid to Wear Speedos?

Because we're not sure what would be worse: having the "junk" be visible, or not having it visible. Trunks avoid that.

Plus, they look ridiculous on anyone that is not an Olympic caliber swimmer.

Captain Ned said...

Living in Vermont on the coast of Lake Champlain I cannot avoid seeing grotesquely obese Quebecois hauling their junk over the sea wall wearing a Speedo banana hammock.

No Vermonter would wear same. Instead, we'd wear the shorts Our Gracious Hostess rails against.

Nomennovum said...

American men need to get over their Freudian fear of showing off their junk.

My God, journalists will leave no stone unturned in their quest to insult Americans for their supposed prudery.

It ain't prudery. It's style. We dress our women in string bikinis and our men in board shorts. Prudes, like the Muslims, dress their women in beach burqas, while the men wear whatever the hell they want -- Speedos, trunks, board shorts.

MadisonMan said...

The son wears a speedo all the time when he swims. When he's lifeguarding, board shorts.

When I was swimming I would wear a speedo, but too many cases of swimmer's ear (and I hate earplugs) ensued, so now I just walk for exercise, or bike, or do home repair or garden.

When you're swimming for exercise, you really aren't that concerned about how you look. Well, I wasn't. I just wanted something functional that wasn't too expensive.

Sorun said...

Unless he's doing some serious swimming, a man looks vain, gay, and/or ugly.

X said...

yeah it's a real mystery why american men don't wear panties and euros do.

Alan said...

Why are gay writers so creepy compared to normal, decent gay people?

MadisonMan said...

Unless he's doing some serious swimming, a man looks vain, gay, and/or ugly

What does a gay man look like?

I ask this, because I've known many, and there isn't one typical look for them. Maybe I've met the wrong gays who have somehow escaped from your this-is-what-gays-look-like box.

Jeff Teal said...

Back when I was a swim instructor I wore Speedos.I also weighed 165 lbs swam 1-1 1/2 miles per day and ran 6-9.Tha ain't happening lately so I jo longer wear weenie benders.

Roger von Oech said...

I put on my Speedo six days a week and swim about 3,500-4,000 per workout. I'm surrounded by many like-minded folk (masters swimmers). I don't think any of us thinks about "exhibiting their junk" or any other such nonsense.

I can tell you that all these people (especially those 40-70+) look one hullava lot better than the general population you see at Costco, the mall, or at the airport.

Paul said...

Ok Ann,

You wear your bathing suit up your crack and I'll wear a Speedo that shows my junk.

Am I sounding crude? Well that's the Speedo way.

Sorun said...

"What does a gay man look like?"

I know it when I see it.

Palladian said...

Not even beautiful, well-formed men look good in Speedos. They're tacky.

Jeff Teal said...

BTW the first time I got propositioned for anonymous gay sex I was on my way to administer a swim test at 4am wearing a T shirt and shorts over my weenie benders.Might have something to do with the gay=Speedo association.Which came first the Chicken or the Egg?

edutcher said...

Because they're uncomfortable?

Because most guys, contrary to what the feminists think, are not that obsessed with showing off everything they own?

If you want to see a "Freudian fear of showing off their junk", go down to Mexico. They have to show the world what they've got and, if it's not enough, make sure there are build-ups in the thing to make it look suitable.

Which gets pretty funny when the guy is laying on the beach and the suit is still standing up.

As it were.

(almost as weird as the 60 year old Euro women walking around in nothing but a bikini bottom)

Palladian said...

What does a gay man look like?

I ask this, because I've known many, and there isn't one typical look for them.


Gay men look like your worst nightmare or your dream come true. Sometimes both.

Palladian said...

BTW the first time I got propositioned for anonymous gay sex I was on my way to administer a swim test at 4am wearing a T shirt and shorts over my weenie benders.

How did the propositioner know what you were wearing under your shorts?

ndspinelli said...

You can always pick out a French Canadian on an east coast beach. He's the fat guy w/ pale skin and a speedo. You can pick them out in restaurants because they don't tip.

Simon said...

It's not that we're afraid to wear speedos, its that we're conscientious enough that we don't want to force anyone to see us wearing speedos. Let's face it, the male body is hardly a thing of beauty at its best, and most of us are a lot of cheeseburgers from our best.

Palladian said...

Let's face it, the male body is hardly a thing of beauty at its best

God and art history would disagree.

Amartel said...

Why does Slate Magazine employ sordid people?

The writer's primary motivation is not, in fact, safety. He does, in fact, want a better view of your junk. And and all junk, please. And if you have the good sense to deny him, for whatever reason (that's your business) then you're a yokelish prude and probably a racist. His colleague will find some ancient ancestor of yours who did something bad and transfer those sins to you. Voila, genetics. Science! and Europe!
His other colleague wants to give you really shitty sex and relationship advice.

Amartel said...

Proven objective fact:
Board shorts just look better.

Palladian said...

The writer's primary motivation is not, in fact, safety. He does, in fact, want a better view of your junk.

If your "junk" isn't discernable through all of your clothing— jeans, suit pants, shorts— then I'm not interested.

Nomennovum said...

Let's face it, the male body is hardly a thing of beauty at its best.

Speak for yourself.

creeley23 said...

Good god. Ditto to everyone who knows speedos look ridiculous to horrible on guys with non-athlete bodies, i.e. most of us.

The author claims his concern is with guys who drown or come near it because their really, really baggy board shorts fill with water.

But this isn't a problem with normal swim trunks or even the "baggies" surfers wear to avoid chafing from surfboard wax. It's the "below-the-knee" style that we see on the basketball courts that I'm guessing come from the "pants falling-off" hip-hop fashion that seems to be based on ill-fitting prison uniforms.

Ann Althouse said...

"the male body is hardly a thing of beauty at its best"

That's absurd, only to be said by a man and as a substitute for "Please don't ever think I might be gay."

Ann Althouse said...

But isn't there something to be said for equality at the beach? If women are wearing suits that let everyone see how well-endowed they are, so that the information is basically there and you know what would be seen if we were naked, shouldn't men do the same?

Levi Starks said...

Speedo's?
you wont even let us wear shorts.....

Nomennovum said...

If women are wearing suits that let everyone see how well-endowed they are, so that the information is basically there and you know what would be seen if we were naked, shouldn't men do the same?

We already go topless, Ann. The proper analogy is: If men have show their junk, women need to show their camel toe.

creeley23 said...

If men got the partners they wanted by wearing speedos, they would, but it doesn't work that way.

Or if it does, perhaps you as a woman could explain.

Sorun said...

Hot gay men in Speedos.

edutcher said...

Which one is Titus and which is Palladian?

Sorun said...

"If women are wearing suits that let everyone see how well-endowed they are, so that the information is basically there and you know what would be seen if we were naked, shouldn't men do the same?"

You don't really know how well-endowed men are, especially near water, unless they have an erection. Is that what to see at the beach?

Palladian said...

Palladian is the younger, smarter. fatter one.

MadisonMan said...

#2 from the left is trying too hard to suck in his gut.

LordSomber said...

Speedos were good enough for swim team, but outside of that, no.

Not a comfortable thing to wear when you're at a place intending to relax.

Nomennovum said...

#2 from the left is trying too hard to suck in his gut.

That would be Inga.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

the male body is hardly a thing of beauty at its best

That's absurd, only to be said by a man and as a substitute for "Please don't ever think I might be gay."


No, most guys look down, or in the mirror, at all the hair, at all the places where there should be muscles (and some of the places where there are and probably shouldn't) and know most guys look like that.

They don't think they have to look like Ahnold or Cary Grant, but they do realize how ridiculous the package looks (and can't for the life of them see what women see).

But isn't there something to be said for equality at the beach? If women are wearing suits that let everyone see how well-endowed they are, so that the information is basically there and you know what would be seen if we were naked, shouldn't men do the same?

Are we getting back to that post about Choom and Vlad not wearing ties where you thought they shouldn't wear anything?

Rusty said...


""Why Are Guys Afraid to Wear Speedos?""

Not Speedos so mach as harpoons.

Synova said...

I thought that guys hated speedos because everyone can see if you have an erection or not. Which, if you're a teen boy is a really big deal when you're on the beach.

Girls avoid speedos because everyone can see if you're nippy or not.

It doesn't matter how tiny a bikini is so long as it's got a ruffle or pattern or texture that hides that.

John Scott said...

Afraid to show their junk? Coming isn't the problem; it's going. Most guys don't have the arse to pull it off.

Nomennovum said...

It doesn't matter how tiny a bikini is so long as it's got a ruffle or pattern or texture that hides that.

I don't date women that don't show some THO.

Synova said...

"the male body is hardly a thing of beauty at its best"

A bit too hairless and I don't tend to even like tattoos but... "at it's best" definitely applies, as does "a thing of beauty."

harrogate said...

"God and art history would disagree."

Palladian demolishes and enlightens. One of the best comments in a long time.

Even were I good-looking and in shape, I would not wear speedos.
Nonetheless, some guys really can pull them off .

Synova said...

Female Speedos... Oh look, a one piece... that looks like sprayed on paint...

Nevermind.

harrogate said...

Synova,

Nice.

Mike Rentner said...

"American men need to get over their Freudian fear of showing off their junk."

Begging your pardon, but "WE" don't need to get over anything. I think the rest of us have been quite successful without listening to your advice.

bagoh20 said...

I follow nature, so like the industrious beaver I always swim in full length fur. And also like the beaver, it my wood stack in the water that's extraordinary.

Sam L. said...

Let's all get over it and go naked. Remember, most of the people you see on a nude beach are those you don't want to see...

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

"Althouse said...
"the male body is hardly a thing of beauty at its best"
That's absurd, only to be said by a man and as a substitute for...
"

Only? Phthth.

A not small proportion of men think most men are really ugly. I'm one of them. I look at women and think 'How in the hell did so many ugly he-critters come from that face?'

Tastes differ, and the reflexive 'homophobia' slur is a lazy conclusion.

Lyle Smith said...

Just say no to the speedo.

Pogo said...

That is, just because women and gays find men beautiful doesn't mean heterosexual men do so as well.

Such a conclusion seems rather astonishing to me, like saying everyone who does not like broccoli is lying, because I sure do.

Ann Althouse said...

"We already go topless, Ann. The proper analogy is: If men have show their junk, women need to show their camel toe."

No, because that isn't any information you don't already have from your general anatomical knowledge.

Ann Althouse said...

"A not small proportion of men think most men are really ugly. I'm one of them. I look at women and think 'How in the hell did so many ugly he-critters come from that face?'"

Yes, but the quote I'm critiquing didn't refer to "most men." It referred to "the male body... at its best."

I agree that most men are not beautiful (but not that they are "really ugly").

bagoh20 said...

If I found a man attractive, I'd fuck him. They are so easy. I don't fuck them.

bagoh20 said...

For me knowing that a man is attractive in a completely intellectual exercise understanding what other people find attractive about them.

bagoh20 said...

In fact, the only reason to not be gay is because men are not hot.

Pogo said...

"It referred to "the male body... at its best.""

So, like one guy? Who is he?



bagoh20 said...

"What's a gay guy look like?"

That's easy if you're a guy. He's the guy that keeps looking long after you make eye contact.

bagoh20 said...

Cell phones are way too small to do anything serious like blog commenting. Same with Speedos. They're the flip phone of swimwear.

madAsHell said...

The trick is to put a potato in the speedo....and make sure you put it in front.

You'll be asked to leave the pool if you put the potato in back. Don't ask me how I know!!

ricpic said...

What does a gay man look like?

I've noticed that gays who are brunettes have, on average, more dark wiry hair on their arms and the backs of their hands than do brunette straights. Laugh if you like, it's too frequent and noticeable a characteristic to be accidental.

No observable difference regarding blonde gays.

Palladian said...

I agree that most men are not beautiful (but not that they are "really ugly").

Most women aren't particularly beautiful either.

harrogate said...

Relatedly, "booby trap" spelled backwards is "party boob"

harrogate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ampersand said...

American men don't wear speedos because American women don't like looking at the junk.

Achilles said...

I like it when girls wear shorts and t shirts to go swimming. It is a lot easier hang around and interact with them. In the days before shaving became the norm the worst was seeing a patch of landing strip or some curly escapees on the side. Some swim suits let the nip show too. As male with predictable desires it is difficult to think about anything else at that point. As a married male I don't need to be confronted at all times by things that won't happen.

I can't imagine that women want to be confronted with it either. I am going to echo sentiments above that underneath the standard underwear coverage region the male anatomy is repulsive both front and back. Shaving these areas to make them more attractive has its own pitfalls that are more extreme on the male side than the female side. Beyond that speedos look stupid. Board shorts have pockets too.

Besides if you are a female and you want to see a guys junk it isn't that hard in most cases just ask.

Palladian said...

American men don't wear speedos because American women don't like looking at the junk.

That's why I pity heterosexual men. It's nice to be gay because your partners are generally not disgusted by, and actually like, your genitals and anatomy.

ricpic said...

David beats the Venus de Milo going away.

Palladian said...

Of course, if women found men's genitals to be as gross as many of them profess, none of us would be here.

Greg Hlatky said...

"American men need to get over their Freudian fear of showing off their junk."

It's American men's struggle against the hegemony of Euronormative behavior.

ampersand said...

That's why the night was made for love.

Julie C said...

My kids swim for a year round team and wear speedos even when it's really cold. Sometimes the younger kids wear 'jammers' which are like speedos with longer legs. But once you, er, develop, you need the support the speedo provides (or so I'm told).

The team went on a rafting trip last week, and of course all the boys wore board shorts. What was interesting to me was how ALL of the girls wore bikinis. Every single one. Of course, many also suffer from very white stomach syndrome since mostly their stomachs never see the light of day.

My older kid swims in an Open water event in the SF Bay every year. Typically the water is 58 degrees or so. Most of the swimmers wear speedos and nothing else. Brrrr!

dbp said...

For serious swimming a speedo is a great choice. You can swim faster and not get chaffing. They are not comfortable to lounge-around in though.

The thing is that, to American eyes, even an attractive man looks better in trunks. Unattractive men are just like unattractive women--the less they show the better. So really no man in America should wear them unless he is doing serious swimming.

ampersand said...

David beats the Venus de Milo going away

No fair! She's unarmed.

Jeff Teal said...

Palladian Speedos even under running shorts tend to hang the junk differently.Personally given the choicee of looking at a great guy or a so-so girl I'm looking at the girl.

Craig Howard said...

You're posting about men wearing Speedos when you can't stand to see a man in anything above the ankle?

BigFire said...

You mean like this Southern Comfort commercial guy? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygeWsoYYMuQ

Utterly comfortable with who he is.

Ann Althouse said...

"Most women aren't particularly beautiful either."

Particularly? To my eye, almost no women are beautiful.

Many are pleasant enough, but beautiful?

One on a million.

Fortunately, most men love women, and their subjective appreciation is what keeps this whole thing going.

Ann Althouse said...

"'American men don't wear speedos because American women don't like looking at the junk." 'That's why I pity heterosexual men. It's nice to be gay because your partners are generally not disgusted by, and actually like, your genitals and anatomy.'"

The first quote is crazy talk, what hetero men tell themselves.

You seriously think women don't care about that?

Women are more polite than Palladian, and take the trouble to boost egos, but you are kidding yourself if you think there are no opinions and no judgments.

Ann Althouse said...

"You're posting about men wearing Speedos when you can't stand to see a man in anything above the ankle?"

My ideas about men in shorts always included wearing appropriate gear for various sports.

SMGalbraith said...

It's not me wearing the speedo it's all those other guys wearing them too. Geezus.

We have an unwritten agreement among us, sort of like the MAD doctrine, I won't wear one of those if you don't

So we don't wear them.

William said...

I would never wear a speedo because I would never want to be mistaken for the kind of self deluded fool who thinks he looks good in a speedo. Anyway my junk is not my best feature.

Rusty said...

Synova said...
I thought that guys hated speedos because everyone can see if you have an erection or not. Which, if you're a teen boy is a really big deal when you're on the beach.

And when you're a man in your 60s it's a big deal anywhere.

Rusty said...


I agree that most men are not beautiful (but not that they are "really ugly").

Obviously we haven't met.

rcocean said...

American men don't wear speedos because they don't care what they look like. Real American men are out "Doing things", not prancing around; imagining what Swim-suit makes them look good.

They also don't wear jewelry, cod pieces, big diamond rings, gold chains, make up, or wax their chests.

Imagine John Wayne wearing a Speedo!

rcocean said...

And real American Men don't read Slate.

Just sayin'

rcocean said...

Real American men wear only 3 things in the water:

- A wet suit
- A good swimsuit
- Shark Repellent

rhhardin said...

The feminine operation is concealing that nothing is concealed, rather than revealing.

A naked lady is more often ridiculous than sexy, just as an outdoor presence.

Tom said...

In college one of my best friends was an absolutely beautiful girl named Andrea. Andrea was hit on almost everywhere we went (once even by Charles Barkley). When we were on spring break, a European guy in a speedo hit on her big time. She scanned him up and down then only said, "nice balls". That ended that.

PWS said...

Funny that in the article the author uses the term "Speedo shame."

Not only linguistically linking up with fat-shame, but both about the body.

Chip Ahoy said...

I thought it was an Australian thing. They're big on sea rescues. This is such an important part of Australian life and they are so good at it that their competitions have acquired an international air.

In competition a team will pull down their Speedos™ in the back, leaving the front sacked, so their wet bums give traction on the seats of their rescue boats and it is this competitive edge to this safety practice challenge that led to their nation's gay reputation. Or maybe it was just that one team that one time. [australia speedo rescue] images almost bears this out.

Tarzan said...

Ive often wished i had a pair of speedos UNDER the board shorts after a day at the beach. The chafing is a beeyatch!

How do the speedo hating beach bums deal? Its the one situation where the uncircumcized have the advantage on the rest of us, hands (?) down. The built in banana catcher doesnt help at all, from my experience, but maybe im buying the wrong shorts?

Please, gentlemen, Summer is upon us. I beseach you to share your wisdom.

tim in vermont said...

Maybe we prefer to get laid before we get judged, so at least we get laid once.

traditionalguy said...

Wearing speedos is too close to being in a Cattle Call where the heifers can appraise the bulls.

Some of us bulls like to sneak up on the heifers and surprise them. It is more of a challenge, and that way the women learn to respect our minds before we blow their minds.

paul a'barge said...

SCUBA diving, under a wet suit. Gotta be Speedo. For comfort.

paul a'barge said...

SCUBA diving, under a wet suit. Gotta be Speedo. For comfort.

Steve Koch said...

It feels great to swim without a suit.

Wearing a speedo seems weird to most American men, I don't think it ever occurred to me to wear a speedo. Most guys look better in shorts than a speedo. For the guys who had the body to wear a speedo, some of them just didn't want to show off.

Most men don't want to stand out because of their clothing, they want to fit in. Many men care more about being respected by other men than impressing women. Men put muuuch less effort into their appearance than women do.

Steve said...

Why does everyone care what someone wears? If it's a modesty issue, then many women's suits wouldn't pass. Other than that, let a guy wear what he wants to. I couldn't care less if he has a "speedo bod" or not! If he's comfortable, stop imposing your opinion and style on him. If it's that offensive, don't look.