Thursday, July 30, 2009
A naked solution to swimsuit controversy
Unless I’m misreading the situation, and I don’t think I am, the future of competitive swimming could involve full nudity. And that gives me a kind of water willies that might be at odds with what just went through your mind.
I’m fascinated by the Michael Phelps swimming controversy involving the buoyancy-enhancing, friction reducing polyurethane swimsuit worn by dastardly German swimmer Paul Biedermann.
Golf, tennis and NASCAR, certainly, have struggled with souped up equipment issues for years. But it never dawned on me that swim apparel could be considered performance enhancing. Sure, a stylish one could maybe help you connect on the beach but after doffing the duds it would require standard pharmaceuticals to do any actual enhancing.
How wrong I was. I guess we can all rest assured that technological savants are at work to shave .0001 off a competitive swimmer’s time rather than devoting their genius to building, say, vehicles that are safer, more fuel efficient or -- and wouldn’t this be cool? -- edible.
Swimmer Beidermann tried to deflect the controversy by saying, “I hope there will be a time again when I can beat Michael Phelps without the suit.”
It sounds to me like he’s suggesting racing in the nude.
That would solve many problems while simultaneously launching a host of others.
I enjoy pure competition as much as the next guy, but if swimmers begin hunching over the starting blocks without even their Speedos on, I’m frantically clicking to find a channel with fully clothed bowlers.
Devoted students of this blog -- and thanks so much to all three of you! -- know I’m a near unwavering advocate of more nudity to improve nearly every social situation. Just last week, it was I that suggested nudity could save the space program from being forever marooned on Planet Boredom.
But naked competitive swimming is where I draw the line.
I understand that’s a confounding position because we can all agree that being naked in water is generally among the most joyful human experiences. It’s one reason people sing in the shower.
It feels good. You’re all sudsy. It’s cleansing. What could be better?
Veteran skinny dippers like me know the answer to that. It was back in high school when my friends and I would coax a group of innocent lovelies to sneak into neighborhood pools with us in the hopes it would lead to mutual corruption.
It never happened the way we dreamed but I enjoyed more illicit nudity on those moonlit summer nights than all those years later when the cable company mistakenly included The Playboy Channel in our basic package.
Those were my wonder years and from them blossomed a lifelong affinity with naked, or “nekkid” swimming.
The late, great Southern humorist Lewis Grizzard once said that the difference between being naked and being nekkid is the state of being without clothes and being without clothes and being up to something.
The logical conclusion of what swimmer Beidermann is proposing is naked, not “nekkid” swimming and that leaves me cold.
Despite our black president, our states embracing gay marriage and whiffs of pot legalization in California, we’re still essentially a puritanical nation that instinctively puts fig leaves on works of art rather than embracing our Eden’s essence.
Naked swimming would never fly.
Still, something must be done to mitigate the vexing swimsuit controversy.
I propose we remove the human element from the pool and simply drop the new high-tech suits into the water when the starting gun sounds.
Then we can cheer the empty super-charged suits as they fly down the lanes shucked free of their human cobs.
It’ll seem a lot less impersonal when Ol’ Glory goes flying down the lane without an actual swimmer inside.