Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Who Wears Short Shorts?

Before we know it the Summer Olympics will be upon us.  For me, the Summer Olympics have always been more stimulating, at least visually,  than the winter ones. This is due largely to the apparel of the various athletes.

Let me begin with swimmers. If you think back to the days of Mark Spitz, incidentally an alumni of the same high school as I, male swimmers sported the traditional speedo style suit. It was tight, brief and gave the swimmer great freedom of movement as they sped through the water. It also gave the spectator the opportunity to appreciate the toned legs and buttocks of the swimmers as they leaned forward preparing to dive into the pool at the beginning of an event.

Alas, technology has made the speedo obsolete, at least in terms of Olympic level competitions. Today's swimmer wears a knee length or longer suit designed to reduce the drag of the water on the body, thus increasing the athletes speed. My personal feeling is that the time of the swimmers today should not be judged by the swimmers of yesterday because of this technological advantage. Perhaps two records should be created. I suggest speedo records (sr) and post speedo records (psr).

We can at least satisfy our visual appetites with the divers as the more modest suits, thus far, have not caught hold with these competitors.

We move on to wrestling singlets. Again,the singlets of yore were low cut on top and short on the bottom giving one a fine view of the wrestler's muscled bodies as they grappled. Today, the singlet moves higher up the torso and further down the leg. While still form fitting we are forced to use our imaginations more so than in the past.

In basketball, both at the pro and Olympic level, the shorts worn by the players are getting longer and longer as time goes on. Before we know it they will be playing in full length pants. Again, if one looks at the teams of the past, the shorts worn by the players were short almost to the point of indecency, not that I'm complaining. These shorts were occasionally worn as fashion during the disco era. The great irony of this is that the shorter shorts were more well suited to the game than then those worn today.

Track and Field has also traded in the short shorts formerly associated with that sport. At least they wear form fitting lycra which still showcase the thighs of the athletes so I will give them a pass, at least for now.

We can count ourselves as fortunate that gymnast's uniforms have not changed much over the years. Tight, scoop necked tanks and, at least for floor exercises, brief shorts were sported both then and now. 

My final observations are in regards to Beach Volleyball. For women Beach Volleyball "uniforms" consist of bra tops and bikini bottoms. They look as if they were designed by straight men for the visual pleasure of straight men. The male uniforms of this sport consist of loose, knee length board shorts.

This uneven level of modesty between the sexes extends to everyday behavior as well. In a level of hypocrisy I find confusing, I have, more that once, heard women complain about a man's beach attire as being too revealing, even as their breasts are on virtually full display. They then complain about men objectifying them.

In closing, this is why I enjoy gay and gay friendly beach areas. We can be comfortable wearing revealing or skimpy attire. There is no hypocrisy nor do we have hidden agendas. Objectification is the object. At least we're honest about it and, while lying on our towels, know exactly where we stand.  

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