We’ve now been in France for over a month and stayed on multiple campsites. Due to the heat the kids have requested campsites with a pool, and at face value this seems a good idea. However as an English gentleman, French pools can bring with them a dark and sinister threat.
On arriving at the pool there is a fifty fifty bet that you will be greeted with either a graphic showing swimming shorts and a red line through them, or even worse a perfectly tanned and toned swimming attendant saying “Non, speedos only”. These words can, for me at least, make my heart sink. Speedos, budgie smugglers, call them what you want, were in my mind left behind with the wearing of school shorts.
I think it’s because its been so many years since I last wore them, but stripping down to what feels like your undies and striding towards a cold pool is not something I look forward to. Swimming shorts on the other hand provide a gentleman with a certain amount of discretion or even modesty.
The French believe that swimming shorts aren’t suitable for the pool as they can harbour bacteria and dirt because some people wear them for the entire day even when around the campsite, and this I’ll admit is a pretty good argument.
Fortunately, as I was aware of this speedo rule, I took the precaution before leaving England of going to the local Marks and Spencer’s – as we know an organisation well know for providing quality under garments. There I purchased a pair of speedos under the heading of, ‘I’ll buy these but never wear them’. However that statement was rapidly challenged when my 2 daughters wanted to go swimming in a pool where shorts weren’t allowed. I had a choice of let them down ( the kids) or suffer the indignity of the smugglers.
So there was no choice – the smugglers were out!
This is where I found out a very interesting fact, all smugglers are not created equal. It turns out the M&S smugglers were on the skimpy side and I’m now wishing that I’d tried them on and not just assumed they’d fit.
So for now until I can find a sports shop where I can and will try on the required items, I will maintain that English stiff upper lip and stride manfully towards the pool, sucking in my gut and entering the pool faster than you would ever believe was possible, even if the water is freezing. For reference, water slides and diving are definitely out of the question, for the time being at least.
Two last points before I complete this blog:
1. The weird thing is none of the French people seem to care about what you wear as long as it’s not baggy swimming shorts, the largest gut and the skimpiest of shorts are completely fine for the mature French gentleman.
2. Once you are in the water they are remarkably comfortable until that moment you suddenly remember the long walk back to your towel when you get out of the pool.
For reasons of modesty no photos are included in this post 😉