Oh, please! Part of AfterElton.com’s coverage of the 2008 Summer
Olympics is an article on Speedos? How shameless can we be?
But surely it’s a fact that for many gay and bisexual men, at
least part of the appeal of the Summer Olympics is the endless parade of young,
handsome, fit swimmers, divers, and water-polo players in this most form-fitting
and revealing item of male attire. And then they get wet!
Hey, we never claimed to be ESPN.
Where did Speedo-type swimming suits come from? What do the
athletes themselves think about them? And — the most important question of all —
how much can we stretch the text of this article so as to include as many
pictures as possible of hot men in their Speedos?
For almost all of human history, most men swam naked. And
while the Ancient Greeks did not include a swimming competition in humankind’s
first Olympic events, they did famously perform all their athletic competitions
in the nude.
According to National
Geographic, “The nude athletes would parade like peacocks up and down the
stadium. Poets would write in a shaky hand these wonderful odes to the bodies
of the young men, their skin the color of fired clay. But other cultures, like
the Persians and the Egyptians, looked at these Greek men oiling one another
down and writhing in the mud, and found it very strange. They believed it
promoted sexual degeneracy.”
If the gay male reaction to diver Alexandre Despatie’s nearly-naked body during the
last Summer Olympic Games is any indication, the Persians and Egyptians had a
In fact, the world’s first Speedo-like item of clothing probably
wasn’t a swimsuit at all; it was most likely an undergarment. In 1991,
archeologists discovered the frozen remains of “Otzi,” a man who lived
in the Alps back in 3300 B.C. He was wearing a
leather loincloth under his cloak.
The Ancient Egyptians likewise wore loincloths — including King
Tut, whose priests had considerately included some in his tomb. Perhaps Mama
Tut worried that her young son would have a chariot accident in the afterlife
and wanted to make sure he had clean undies on just in case.
And all those paintings and sculptures of Jesus wearing a
loincloth while nailed to the cross? Probably somewhat historically accurate. Historians
are still divided, however, as to whether or not Jesus had such killer abs.
Some cultures traditionally swam in their undergarments, and
for the Japanese, that meant the fundoshi, which is a cross between a loincloth
and a g-string. In short, this may have been as close as historical man got to
the modern Speedo!
Next Page! Mark Tewksbury has nothing to hide!