The old man and the Speedo

A woman I know drives from Darien to Jones Beach on weekends in the pursuit of sun and surf and every time she comes back, she complains about the “old men in Speedo bathing suits.”

Here in Connecticut, I suspect we have laws against that sort of thing. Nevertheless, I’d like to make a few points:

1. She’s showing a bias against old men, who are a protected species and should be allowed to wear whatever they want, in good taste and in bad.

2. If the scenery bothers her so much, she should take out her contact lenses. However, she should also be careful not to trip over the old men because it could cause serious injuries that increase Medicare costs.

3. If you never saw an old man, or a young man, in a Speedo, it’s a very brief piece of swimwear, which resembles a jock strap two sizes too small and may be worn at black tie events, preferably with a cummerbund.


Being a fellow on the fringes of “old,” I have to wonder why it’s unacceptable for us to wear the same kind of skimpy bathing suits that women wear, regardless of age, body shape and size. Countless women in undersized bikinis and those Brazilian string things prowl America’s beaches, but you don’t hear us complaining, “Hey, baby, cover it up!” No, we take it in stride and keep our contact lenses fully focused.

In the olden days, there were rules about what you should wear, but now it seems that anything goes. However, in Asbury Park on the Jersey Shore, a former councilwoman says scanty swimwear on the boardwalk is giving the city a bad name, and she wants people to cover up.

Of course, New Jersey is the home of that enlightening TV series The Jersey Shore, where the only thing smaller than their bathing suits is their IQs.

I’ve never worn a Speedo, but to keep me appropriately fashionable, my daughter Julie bought me a bright red Vilebrequin, which she claims is a brand that trend-setters wear on the French Riviera — which is known as the Jones Beach of southern France. Pretty soon, I’ll even be speaking French and I’m going to buy a beret to wear with my Vilebrequin.

Unlike my other daughter, who goes to the beach so much she’s starting to look like Norman Bates’ mother, I only wear my bathing suit when I’m walking the dog in the woods, where no one but the deer can see me. However, the deer don’t seem to enjoy the view too much since I’ve seen them hide their eyes when I pass by. Of course this is not a new occurrence. My legs are so white, I’ve been known to scare women, children and chipmunks.

The crazy thing about Americans is we think we look great in bathing suits even after a lifetime of consuming Big Macs and Dunkin’ Donuts. The strategic planners for Speedo better look to the future because in 10 years, 40% of Americans will be obese and manufacturers will have to develop new and improved fibers that have super stretching properties and don’t constrict blood flow. If they don’t we could well have a major health crisis on our nation’s beaches.

Maybe we all should just abandon bathing suits and go “au natural.” (Hey, I’m speaking French already!)

And if the thought of that fills you with dread, just take out your contact lenses.


Joe Pisani may be reached at [email protected].

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