Recently, Alton Towers, a theme park here in England, banned swim briefs for men, declaring them in "bad taste" as they are a "family venue." I need only, I hope, report that no such ban on bikinis for women applies to prove the point that what is good for the goose is absolutely not good for the gander.
We belly-ache over the subject of sexual equality. We talk of liberating women from the stringent dress codes of hard-line Islamic societies, which is all very well and certainly has my support. But we ignore the trend taking place in Western society, which in 50 years' time will expect all men to wear burlap sacking from neck to toes, lest the sight of a male elbow or ankle offend anyone's sensitivities.
I will never understand what it is about Speedos that gets some people so worked up. For all you women who say you don't like it, I submit the following scenario to you: You and your man are both sunbathing on the beach. You, of course, have the freedom to bare as much as you please while your male company is wearing baggy, flowery board shorts. Now comes night-time and you're looking forward to a bit of playing around. Your partner peels off his shorts to reveal the following: a tanned chest and abs, pasty white thighs and tanned calves. And you expect to say, with a straight face, that this turns you on? Please, ladies. Next you'll be telling me that all drinks should be spiked with GHB, and probably saying that with a straight face as well.
Okay, I do realize that the bald, ugly, beer-bellied, chicken-legged contingent has given swim briefs a bad name. But why should fit, handsome men have to pay for their crime? There are some women out there who I believe should never wear skirts above the knees, because their legs are a horror show. Yet, you'd think me crazy to declare short skirts off-limits to good-looking, in-shape women simply because some pudgy-legged females dared to bare.
At my workplace, shorts recently became a banned item of clothing. Yet, men can wear 3/4 trousers. Have you ever seen a more ridiculous fashion item than 3/4 trousers? What's the point in wearing something that's not quite shorts but not quite pants either? And furthermore, does the management even realize where these 3/4 trousers originated? From that moronic "music" and "lifestyle" known as hip-hop. So, basically, our workplace is saying that a nice, crisp, respectable pair of khaki shorts, down to the knees, is not acceptable during the warm weather in our supposedly casual office, but some ridiculous claptrap from the "gold chains, no brains" world of rap is.
I remember when shorts down to the knees used to be considered conservative. Now men can't even show their whole calves anymore.
Who defends this sort of ridiculous fashion? It seems no matter how baggy and how long summer gear for men gets, there are always plenty of people who will defend it and declare it sexy. I don't know: I'm guessing society is just mad about ugly clothes on guys. It's the only explanation.
Why can't we simply admit that, as a society, we are severely prejudiced against the male form? That would at least be a laudable dose of refreshing honesty for once.
When I was at Discovery Cove, the specialist park set up by Sea World in Orlando, I saw a Latino guy wearing Speedos. This is a family-friendly destination as well, yet no one told him he couldn't wear his briefs. He was the only one there wearing them, it’s true — I'd opted for the wetsuit — but no one was telling him off for his preferred swim gear.
So, fuck you, Alton Towers. Your "bad taste" logic works both ways. You ban fashion freedom for men, I'll ban you from ever receiving any money that I earn.