Today's teens: Speedo-phobic?
Thanks to the alert New York reader who sent Dawn a clip from the
Philadelphia Inquirer detailing how some modest teenage boys are giving up competitive
swimming rather than appear at meets in revealing Speedo racing suits.
"It's really tight and really small," explained one 14-year-old who's hanging up his suit. "If we didn't have to wear that little suit, I'd probably swim."
The article's author, Michael Vitez, reports that "Speedo modesty" is a growing trend across the country and suggests that it accounts for a large drop-off in
boys interested in swimming. "Swimmers are not required to wear the racing suits," notes Vitez. "But the alternative-- being the only competitor not wearing the
standard gear-- is an even less attractive prospect for many teenagers, who don't want to be conspicuous. And the bigger, less revealing suits that boys might prefer at the beach
or even casually at poolside would put them at an enormous disadvantage during a swim meet, like wearing basketball high-tops to run the 400 meters."
Dawn's reader speculates that gay identity politics is to blame for this tragedy. Once homosexuality was a normal, if clandestine, part of adolescence (and
the Church... and the YMCA... and same-sex schools... and bus station men's rooms... and the military... and late-night bars... and secluded parks... etc., etc., etc.), but
now that anyone dabbling in homosex is urged to think of themselves as
gay and "come out," some talented sexual dilettantes are refusing to become specialists.
Indeed, Dawn has some sympathy with the view that the gay agenda has been, in some aspects, counter-productive by spooking "straight" guys out of homosex: after all,
who cares what they call themselves as long as they put out?
But Dawn also suspects that part of the explanation is that such exposés are the result of a new willingness to think of men and boys as sex objects;
yesterday's equally-numerous modest teens would never merit a newspaper article detailing their woes. In Dawn's (all male) high school, the swim coach would personally
inspect the interior of each boy's racing suit to make sure he was wearing a jock; even at the time this struck Dawn as odd since no "support" is needed given the snugness of
the swimwear. Maybe the coach was exercising his coachly prerogative for personal thrill. Maybe he was making sure boys were well-suited to conceal embarrassing
pre-meet boners. In any case, even decades ago, Dawn was among those terrified to consider swimming when such attention was to be expected. Alas.
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