It’s a man thong – An Irishman’s Diary on Speedo anxiety

The Speedo look was bad enough on me – but a million times worse on others.

The Speedo look was bad enough on me – but a million times worse on others.


The row over the burkini in France brings to mind my own run-in with the French and their dictatorial attitudes to what one should wear while swimming. It had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with fashion. Alas, the result of the French dictat was much the same – I felt like they were trying to body-shame me and, truth be told, they embarrassed my teenage daughters even more.



These are new shorts, I said; I don’t have Speedos, I said. It was still a “non”. Amazingly, the rules were the rules and there was no French solution to a French problem other than buying some Speedos.

To say that my daughters were embarrassed to see me in Speedos would be too mild. That they were embarrassed was nothing compared to what I felt.

You have done that dance on the beach before, haven’t you? The one where you wrap the towel around your torso and wriggle out of your wet swimwear into something dry? You twist and turn and bend – all in an attempt to ensure that you expose not a single inch of flesh to anyone on the beach. Because everyone is looking! They are all looking!


The Speedo look was bad enough on me – but a million times worse on others. I still have nightmares about the rather large man who must have been over 20 stone in weight. Speedos on a man carrying 20 stone really should be banned.

I have to say that I could not but feel some sympathy for my fellow Speedo saddo. He looked like he was in agony. It would have been kinder to allow him to swim naked in the pool rather than inflict the torture of wrapping a pair of skin-tight Speedos around his nether regions. I doubt that fellow was fertile by the end of his fortnight’s holiday.

Oddly, when we went to the beach, I could ditch the Speedos and wear some nice baggy shorts – much to everyone’s relief. Indeed, my daughters started talking to me again. Of course, I soon found that I was overdressed for the beach. Topless bathing was common and there were many examples of the human body on display.

There were hot young women baring their breasts to the sun and there were women who were probably hot young women once upon a time who had sat in the sun for so long that their skin resembled leather shoes that had been left at the fireside too long and had ripped and cracked.

Truth be told, you go a bit breast-blind after a while –and not just in regard to women. Man boobs, moobs were a constant sight too, giant, huge, hairy moobs which sagged down to touch even bigger stomachs which, in turn, were sitting atop a pair of – yes, you are right– Speedos or, even worse, a man-thong.


Ban burkinis? Non! Ban Speedos and man-thongs. Make burkinis compulsory for men of a certain age.

Hide all moobs and beer bellies, mes amis.