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In Praise of Speedos

My father loved to swim, and so did his father before him. Donald would be taken to the ponds in Wimbledon on the crossbar of his father’s bike, where they would swim with other game South Londoners. Don swam in Speedos wherever we went on holiday. Decades later, I am the last male Stubbs standing (or treading water) and I, too, love to swim outdoors, also in Speedos. The London Fields Lido is my beloved spot. Proper swimmers at the Lido swim come hail or high-varicose count and male ones do it in Speedos. In Essential Endurance+ 7cm Sportsbriefs by Speedo, that is: the model not only synonymous with the brand name itself, but also the marque of the serious swimmer and a no-nonsense, egalitarian, masculine option for all. The tech isn’t difficult: the streamlining yields zero drag with no excess material to inhibit movement. But, brothers, it’s not just freedom they deliver. Speedos’ athletic credentials justify wearing the skimpy garment, while sporty context affords carte blanche to unheard-of exposure. Invented by Peter Travis in 1961, the Speedo briefs rocked convention: beach inspectors arrested the first man they saw wearing them, though charges were later dropped. Thus Speedo granted mankind access to new moves and far more exciting tan lines. Personally, I love how donning Speedos is the diametric opposite of giving a brass damn about fashion. They are an antidote to the churning cycle of trends and stand in defiance as a truly singular perennial. Let’s be straight, it takes balls to wear them. It helps, of course, that regular swimming doesn’t half do your body the world of good. Through the years, girlfriends of mine have come down on both sides of my Speedos. No question, they are a matter of taste and it is prudent to keep things palatable in public. Also, while your “family jewels” are on display, be mindful where your other valuables are stashed. On holiday, I hide my hotel room key/phone in my trainers on the shore and swim off with splashy abandon – like a cross between Roberto Cavalli and Iggy Pop. I’ve made spiritual contact with my father while open-sea swimming. Don would have bloody loved the locations I’ve got to. For the brand’s 90th birthday this year, get confident and find something spiritual in your Speedos too. Just ensure your personal topiary is tidy. Author: Tom Stubb

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