When I headed across the Tasman two weeks ago, I anticipated a couple of extra degrees of warmth – so late spring rather than our changeable mid-spring. I was wrong. Summer seemed to have arrived already in both Sydney and Canberra and I did not pack sufficient summer clothes. However, it was not yet summery enough to make me think of swimming.
Sydney daughter lives on the fringe of wealthy but staid Bellevue Hill, where it meets the uber-trendiness of turmeric latte Bondi. It could not be more different to Tikorangi and our local town of Waitara so I always find plenty to look at while out walking and I usually carry my camera. However, when confronted by three confident young men wearing only the briefest of swim attire and striding along some distance from the beach, whipping out my camera was truly the last thing I thought of. I was almost flustered by this brazen display of masculinity.
Australia continues to embrace the briefest of brief swim attire for men, usually referred to as budgie smugglers. For recreational wear, New Zealand men long ago moved to the more modest baggy attire of surf shorts. I am fairly sure that only competitive swimmers and the occasional embarrassing older dad wear such brief togs in NZ these days. But then I do not think we have ever had an onion-munching prime minister who took some pride in being photographed publicly in these budgie smuggler togs. If you google Tony Abbott, you will find plenty of evidence and if you are not Australian, it is near incomprehensible.
I was relaying my surprise to my daughter and she found me this You Tube clip. I laughed and laughed.
It is simple, if you can’t see the sea, you are wearing underpants. Or if you are more than 300m from the water’s edge, you have entered the underpants transformation zone. These young gentlemen were certainly wearing revealing undies, in that case.
And even being a buff, gym-fit, Bellevue Hill, private school educated, stockbroker type of young man does not make wearing undies in public acceptable attire