Monday, June 6

Little Difference #36

Little Difference #36 - Speedo Swimsuits

I know, I know this should be a post about Venice, but we ran into this difference on Sunday and I just had to share it with you. We heard it was true. And as Bryce found out on Sunday it definitely is true - at public swimming pools here in Luxembourg men must wear Speedo style swim suits!

We've never taken the kids swimming here despite the fact that swimming seems to be very popular. There are many swimming pools and people always talk about going swimming. Once Bryce heard Speedos were required there was no possibility of him going. And since wearing a bathing suit in public is really not my favorite thing I never offered to take the girls either. But, they begged and begged so Bryce volunteered. Hey, we managed to put them off for over 2 years, not bad.

He brought his trunks, put them on and then was stopped from getting into the pool. No Speedo, no swim, Monsieur. Luckily there was a shallow kiddie pool and the girls could splash around with Bryce on the sidelines.

I've been told the reason for the Speedos is hygiene, meaning the trunks would bring more dirt, grime, unhygienic stuff into the pool. Could someone please explain this reasoning to me?

In the little corner of America I'm familiar with men wear swim trunks. With the exception of athletes, Speedos are not worn by the average guy. In fact, we secretly point and giggle when we do see a man in such swim attire. Point and giggle, my friends. And that is why Speedos at the swimming pool is a Little (big) Difference.

FUNNY READ - an expat in Paris recounts his horror at the Speedo rule.

Tell me about swim attire in your neck of the woods.

Read all the Little Differences here.


Jennifer said...

So funny! Where did they go? Tell Bryce not to buy a Speedo just yet: At Les Thermes, swim trunks are okay.

Amy said...

Oh dear.
I did some Googling and found that it is common around Europe to require Speedos. They don't want you to wear something in the water that you might have been wearing all day, bringing germs in the pool; and they are assured that you're not wearing dirty underwear under your suit. This was an interesting article:

Some pools also require swim caps, either the waterproof kind that athletes wear, or even simple cotton ones, to keep hair out of the filtration system. Makes sense!

se7en said...

From Cape Town, from a surfer corner of town as well. Absolutely NO speedos over here...not even one... never ever on the beach and maybe little kids at the gym. But never ever anyone older than say school ready age. Just no. NO!!! Seriously Dad's have to wear speedo's ... No. I don't think I know a dad over here that would ever go near the water!!!

likeschocolate said...

Sounds like a typical answer in regards to why they wear speedos, but I don't think it is true. I think it is just what they are use to. It is starting to change very very slowly. Though we did find out that having speedos for little boys is a good thing at the beach when the sand tended to give them burns on the inside of their legs. The sand is more gritty than in the states. My husband being from Germany now will no longer wear speedos -thankgoodness.

Mike said...

but there's so much variety:

the full body swimsuit might be overkill for the indoor pool, but the lycra boxers are actually not bad.

just in case bryce wants to have another go before you vanish. it's only going to get hotter ...

alternatively you can go to the lake in remerschen. i don't think they care about what you wear (as long as you wear something. the nudie section in the back was closed by mayoral decree some years ago)


This Girl loves to Talk said...

we could not live without swimming.. I dont know HOW you avoided it!! my girls swim in summer nearly every day or ask to go everyday (we dont have a pool)

in australia speedos are jokingly called 'budgie smugglers' (see if you can work that out ;) most men here wear shorts (trunks) but speedos are seen. I've never heard about the germ thing.. maybe we put so much chlorine in our pools its not necessary:)

Dana said...

LOL. All Speedo, all the time! Okay, so they don't seem to be so strict about this rule, but I've never seen a man in the pool without them. I have seen boxer brief-type speedos with a bit more coverage.

What I love is that no one seems to be worried so much about size, of the body frame, that is. Short, tall, chunky, slim, hairy, bald = speedo.

At the beach, though, I've seen just about everything, including oversized swim trunks that seem to be fashionable with American men, the type that go down to the knees, and, of course, dental floss bottoms on women & topless women. And in Croatia? Total nudity. Oh. . .to be so free!

Anita said...

At least at Thermopolis, the guys can wear the more "short" version of the speedo - still tight, but with fabric down the legs. Will has those and he doesn't seem to mind that so much - plus, everyone else is wearing them, so why not?

Amy's explanation is the same one I've read/heard - and it makes sense enough to me. Clearly I've lived in Europe too long :-)

Katrin said...

You're kidding me...Bryce was stopped because he wasn't wearing speedos?!?! Was that at the pool in Strassen?...wouldn't surprise me...they are kind of strict. I have now been living here for over six years and something like that has never happened to me, well my husband :-)...We have gone to other pools in the GD and I have definitely seen men in trunks...Love <3

Emily Malate said...

When you said "Bryce volunteered" - I laughed OUT LOUD at the thought of him putting on speedos for the cause! I forgot what a rebel he is - wearing his modest American trunks.
This is the funniest thing I've ever heard - and also explains why you can spot a Euro tourist over here so easily ;)

The Expatresse said...

Years ago, on a trip to France to visit friends, The Spouse was barred from entering the community pool because he had trunks and not a Speedo-type get up. Not to worry! The manager pulled one out of the Lost & Found for him. The Spouse wore it, but we couldn't help thinking "Ewwww! Used Speedo!"

And, yes: the idea is that you wore those trunks as shorts all around the Ville, sweating in them and rolling in mud puddles, and what have you.

NB: At the same community pool topless-ness was not in any way frowned upon. Little Differences . . .

katy said...

Jennifer - Thanks for the tip!

Amy - Thanks for the research. Swim caps are also very common. That NY times article is HILARIOUS! I'm sending it to Bryce. Thanks for digging it up. Also going to edit the post to include it.

se7en - Ha Ha. Good to know!

Likeschocolate - Yes, I agree - it is a custom not so much a true hygiene issue.

Mike - as usual, I really appreciate a local weighing in! I think lycra boxers are the only humane choice. We'll see if Bryce agrees.

Thisgirl - Not even going to ask what a "budgie" is. Think I can work it out on my own :) Thanks for telling us about Australia.

Dana - yes, I agree with you about the differences in body shapes between men who wear Speedos. Would love to see the day when women of all shapes feel comfortable running around in the female Speedo equivalent.

Katrin - Wasn't Strassen, not sure of the name. I'll have to ask. What kind of swim attire are you going to buy your boys? ;)

Em - Yes, he is a trooper! I agree with you about spotting tourists. You must see a bunch living in Hawaii.

The Expatresse - A friend told us that in France there was a vending machine with Speedos for purchase. Our friend ended up having to do that to enter the pool. Much better than the lost and found box! But can you imagine, as a woman, having to wear a swimsuit from a vending machine?

Unknown said...

I am dying at this whole post and at the comments. Especially the thought of having to wear a swimsuit out of a vending machine. Oh lord. You don't see many swimsuits here - kids swim in short and tank tops, younger ones are always naked and adults dont seem to submerge their bodies at all.

Katrin said...

@Katy: I'll definitely buy the boys some kind of trunks/shorts swim wear...I am not a big fan of speedos... :-)

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