February 2015. Chalet Morzine. France.
Bugger! I’d forgotten to pack my swimming shorts. With gritted teeth and weary legs, I struggled back into my ski gear, hobbled past the mocking jacuzzi, winced longingly at the beer fridge and headed out into the snow in search of something to wear.
My options in the ski-shop were bleak. Retina-scalding, neon-pink ‘board shorts,’ or, black, lycra, ‘trunks’ with cream go-faster stripes down the sides.
I plumped for the latter, and impatient to feel bubbles at both ends of my body, decided against trying them on and gambled medium.
In my head, I was going to be Daniel Craig, striding purposely from the sea, as bikini-clad lovelies swooned over my bronzed weapons.
Once I’d got them on (and that’s a story in itself), I started giggling.
Tight doesn’t come close. What wasn’t pushed up into my abdominal cavity was now on display like a tray of cocktails at a party.
Since then, their only outing has been as my ’emergency pair’ at the David Lloyd health club, when I forgot my kit.
Whilst their life guard is probably still undergoing therapy, I have to say they were a joy to swim in.
Feeling as sleek as a well oiled beaver, I slipped through the water like a hot knife through butter.
On a practical level, ‘nut-huggers’ are the way forward, but in terms of style, do they cut it at the chic beach clubs of Marbella and Ibiza?
There’s no doubt that swim shorts have become something of a status symbol.
A pair of Orlebar Brown’s, or, Vilebreqin’s, will set you back the same as a bespoke pair of trousers, but I, for one, am not convinced.
In my opinion, irrespective of physique, most middle aged men in board shorts look like clowns.
Perhaps the primary colours and swirling imagery are supposed to depict a playful and relaxed demeanour for the wearer?
I fear the truth is closer to Mr Tumble in his boxer shorts.
The real low point is when they get wet. On exiting the water, the genitals are gripped with all the force of a sous-vide machine.
Then, once the airlock is broken, the material flops around your nether regions like a soggy bin liner.
I’m typing this missive as I sit round the pool in Portugal and it’s all very jolly.
Kids squealing with delight as they are boosted into the air. Lilo wars, races, diving for plastic seals.
Ninety percent of the men are wearing shorts and, to be fair, the only truly offensive item of clothing is a waterproof deerstalker.
It’s shiny-faced, happy families in the sun, taking a break from corporate life, with a wardrobe straight from ‘Rainbow.’
If it’s ‘cool’ you’re looking for, then bring on the Italians (and there statutory month of August off work!)
Go to the Amalfi coat and they’ll all be sipping espresso, posturing on their sunbeds, smoking Marlboro reds and checking each other out.
More often is the case they’ll be wearing banana-hammocks.
Whilst I’m always happiest playing devils advocate, I really do think speedos could be the way forward.
Masculine, functional, fit for purpose.
Embracing a more tailored silhouette certainly has its appeal, but for now, I’ll stick to my boardies.
No to coffee. Yes to lashings of Super Bock. I’m going to chuck my kids around like a demented gibbon and put the budgie smugglers on ice. Until next year. Maybe.