Thursday, December 19, 2013

What's the Deal with Frenchmen in Banana Hammocks?

The Fantasy - it almost never looks like this.  Much more often, it looks like... 

This.  The Reality

Do you ever go to the beach, and you're hanging around, having a nice day, when some European guy (often French) turns up wearing what looks like a remnant from a popped balloon?

Women giggle in embarrassment.  Traumatized children run screaming, emotionally scarred for life.  Men hang their head in shame.  And you think, "How can this be?  Where are the police?  Is there no God?" 

Boy, that'll ruin your day.  And yet the offender himself seems oblivious to the damage he is doing.

Call them Banana Hammocks.  Call them Man Panties.  Call them Budgie Smugglers.  These bathing suits are bad news.

Here's the painful truth.  Women have beautiful bodies.  Men DON'T have beautiful bodies.  That's just how it goes.

Men who work out all the time, and are awesomely physical fit, still have weird bodies that you don't want to look at.  Men who don't work out have bodies that should be banned from public display.

In the United States, we recognize this reality.  Men wear shorts to the beach, and to public pools.  As it should be.

Americans are baffled by Frenchmen in Banana Hammocks.  Well, I finally decided to put an end to this mystery.  After eight minutes of intensive research, here's what I discovered.    

Honorary Frenchman Steven Tyler of Aerosmith must think he looks good here.  Unacceptable.

The reason so many Frenchmen wear man panties is because in France, at least at public pools, it's against the law to do otherwise.  In fact, if you turn up in a French pool in something other than man panties, you will be forcibly removed from the water.

Apparently, this is for cleanliness reasons.  As it turns out, tight, skimpy nylon, which leaves all manner of otherwise private bodily hair exposed, is somehow cleaner than the normal swim trunks that men in many other countries wear.

Tortured logic from someone familiar with the rules:

"Hygiene," says Emmanuel Dormois, a head pool attendant in Paris's 11th arrondissement. "Small, tight trunks can only be used for swimming.  Bermudas or bigger swimming shorts can be worn elsewhere all day, so could bring in sand, dust or other matter, disturbing the water quality.  By banning them outright, we're not forced to stand there measuring what can be defined as swimming shorts.  I accept that some men feel very ill at ease wearing small trunks, but others don't mind."

Some don't mind wearing them, but everyone feels ill at ease looking at them.

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