We asked readers to vote on which question they wanted Prudence to answer for a special edition this week. After a close run, here’s what they picked. Submit questions here. (It’s anonymous!)
Low-stakes question here: I hate my bathing suit! I’m a 46-year-old cis male, and these baggy trunks we’re expected to wear are the worst. Out of the water they are wet and clingy. In the water, they flap around and get full of air pockets. I’d like to switch to a speedo (name brand or otherwise) or a tight-fitting square-cut brief type of suit.
My question is: Will wearing a tight-fitting suit be seen as creepy or aggressively sexual? I swim at the lake in town and at a local gym. Both places have men and women of all ages and children. I’m happily married and not looking to get into any extramarital anything. I just want to be comfortable when swimming. Normally, I don’t care (much) what other people think, but I also don’t want to make a giant scene or somehow ruin these places for others.
—Showing a Little More Skin
Dear More Skin,
Thank you for thinking about not being a creep! More people (okay, let’s be honest: men) should follow your lead.
But in this case: Wear the swimsuit of your choice. It’s not like you’re considering a thong here. Tight-fitting little suits are what many men around the world as well as many American men who are serious about actually swimming wear, for all the reasons you stated. Personally, I remember seeing them at the pool as a child, and I’ve always associated them with older guys who are just getting their laps in and don’t give a damn about how they look, rather than people who are trying to be sexy.
That said, maybe you’re so attractive that the sight of you in one of these tiny things will in fact make people think (or hope) you’re looking for an affair. Who knows! But there’s a simple solution: Lean into your self-consciousness and just avoid spending too much time strolling around making small talk in your wet Speedo. Always have a towel ready to throw around your waist as you head to the locker room. That way you can wear what works best for you, but your trips to the pool will remain focused on your time in the water and not the amount of skin you’re showing and people may or may not be thinking about it.
My husband and I hired his 19-year-old nephew to help us with our small business; he stole over $4,000 in petty cash from us over the past year. Our accountant uncovered this and our security tapes proved it. My sister-in-law paid us the money back so we wouldn’t file criminal charges. Her son excused his actions by saying we paid him poorly and he didn’t think we would notice. He put my husband and me as a work reference after we fired him.