Thursday, November 08, 2007

Humility--Or The Tangled Tale Wherein I Make A Triathlon Related Purchase That May Never Be Used

I come from humble people.

Part of that humility was just the ethos of the family. Many's the time as children that my brother and I would receive the dire warnings concerning the wickedness of pride, about how the mighty would be humbled, and how the meek would inherit the earth.

Part of that humility was probably just self-preservation. You see, we are genetically tiny people. At 5'4" I tower over my mother, her mother, my dad's dad, and lots of the relatives on both sides of the stunted family tree. Like most hobbits and tiny prey animals, we rely upon the camoflage of humility to avoid being detected by the larger, predator animals like athenas, clydesdales, and Iron Superfreaks. (I have since come to find out that many of these larger animals are quite friendly and kind, but that was later.)

As a kid, this humble, camoflage-seeking behaviour was probably one of the reasons I never became involved in varsity team sports. In my high school in Oklahoma, it was all about the football and wrestling. A little guy like me would have been killed even trying to go out for a 5A football team, and while I probably would have been a formidable wrestler, there's this other barrier that humility throws in the way.

The.Locker.Room.

I was completely intimidated by athletes. The intimidation in the locker room was even worse. You footballers and uber athletic types may have no idea what this feels like, but when you are a hobbit, you have a deep, instinctive and abiding fear of situations like the locker room. Junior high and high school locker rooms are even worse because they are filled with junior high and high school boys in a giant tiled room with shower heads around the walls. Such places are filled with the large, scary alpha dogs. Hobbits and other prey animals lose all their camoflage when the clothing comes off. The more you will yourself to be invisible, the more you believe that everyone is looking at you.

Now that I am older, I know that I am not the only guy who worried about such things, but when you're a kid, you think you're the only one ever to experience adolescent angst. In that type of environment, I figured I had a lot to be humble about . . . or more precisely maybe, . . . a little to be humble about. I mean, I"m only 5'4" and . . . well. . . . never mind.

Such experiences imprint the instincts of the prey animal, and every step along the triathlon jounney involved some little battle.

Well, running came first, and that was not too bad. It was perfectly acceptable to run in baggy shorts that gave no clue concerning how "proud" or humble the wearer was or ought to be. And if I ran early in the morning, the showers were essentially empty.

But then, what of cycling? In cycling on must wear these skin tight shorts. If the color or the lighting is wrong, little is left to the imagination. Even the casual observer can tell one's state of "pride," and maybe even what religion one was born into:

bikeshortsred


The first time I put them on, it was a real "men in tights" kind of moment. But all the other men were in tights too, and at least I wasn't "rolly polly dude in tights". Besides, bike shorts with the right padding can be the equivalent of the wonder bra for guys. A little artificial help never hurt anyone.

Ah, but then there's the pool. There's no padding involved here, and the nylon is much thinner than bike shorts. I did not just jump in with the Speedo crowd. Before tri-swim lessons, I was definitely a board shorts or swim trunks kind of guy. I operated under the theory that humble people keep their trunks to themselves. Plus, I could only benefit if I left a little (or a lot) to the imagination.

But then there was TI swim lessons and learning about hydrodynamics and joining a masters swim group. As I got progressively more confident and progressively fitter, I went from jammers to square cut brief to a practice suit brief. I even had two black "brief" swimsuits made by TYR. VERY racey for a humble hobbit.

Then there was what has come to be known as "the purchase."

I've been doing a swim block in which I have swum every day for about the last three weeks. But in starting the block, I noticed that some of my old suits and jammers were getting too threadbare to continue being used with proper humility. So, I went to my favorite online swim store to order some new suits. I liked the price of the suits by "Club Swim" so I ordered four briefs and one jammer. But, I started thinking.

That's always the problem. I start thinking.

All my suits are black. "How about a little variety?" I says to myself. So I ordered two black briefs (no surprise), one navy brief (no big deal) and one . . .




wait for it . . . .











4890-12773-T

RED--Lifeguard red.


Then they arrived on Monday, and I guess I was generally pleased. The fabric of the briefs was nice, even nicer than the TYR or Speedo suits I have purchased. They are made of heavy nylon and lycra, not flimsy, see thru or too clingy when wet if you get my meaning. The 32 inch waist fit great and the leg holes aren't too tight for my cyclist quads. But I gotta say. They were very . . . .


Very . . .

uhm . . .






brief.


Not much fabric on the sides, sitting low, slightly below the hip bones, and only just covering the bum in back and the . . . uhm. . . . recreational equipment in front.

Very.Brief.

I managed to swim without embarassment or unseemly exposure in the black and navy suits this week. But there's something about that red suit. The color just asks people to look at it. And if they look at it, they might look at . . . . "it."

Humble people don't wear skimpy, red swimsuits. It may never come out of the drawer.

29 comments:

Spokane Al said...

In reading your stuff I would say that the size of the heart matters much more than the size of the equipment.

And if you can master your equipment with enthusiasm, endurance and creativity, I am sure you will be just fine in life (and triathlon too).

tri-mama said...

Yea, but they match your tattoo!

21stCenturyMom said...

Oh you crazy hobbit! Put it on - live life! If nothing else it will match your face as you strut your "stuff" across the deck.

Curly Su said...

ha--people leave such good comments. i've got nothing. but then again, i'm a girl... :) hahahaa.

LBTEPA said...

No photo = didn't happen. Let's see a pose (including the ironman tatt) and let the people decide.

Nytro said...

well.

i don't know quite what to say about this purchase.

i just remember the first time i went to a swim group with my boss and he came out in briefs like that.

i didn't know what to say then, either.

good luck with that, bro.

1HappyAthlete said...

That's awesome TG

Kim said...

ummm. im speechless.

red speedos.

i pray the guy from my gym doesn't get word that red speedos are cool. they are only cool on you greyhound!

Brent Buckner said...

Cue Uriah Heep.

Bigun said...

A red speedo like that SCREAMS fast - it's like the billion dollar carbon bike - you've got the chops to buy it, but do you have the speed to justify? Of course, the red speedo also SCREAMS other things. Unmentional things. Dark, scary, spend-some-time-on-the-couch things.

Steve Stenzel said...

Please keep it in the drawer.

Please.

Taconite Boy said...

who let the dogs out?

(asked sincerely)

GeekGirl the Iron said...

Oh, I don't know. I think you're probably just about in good enough shape to pull it off.

Now, let's talk about those bike shorts a little further up in the post...what the hell is THAT?

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

wow.

That'd be like me buying a...

Hrm...it seems there is no chick equivalent.

I got nothin'. But I can say that if you can pretend it's OK? I bet you money it will BE OK.

Tri-Dummy said...

As I laugh harder w/each descending comment, I can only offer this bit of advice, my hobbit brother.

Compensate with a large firearm.

Or manscape. The mailbox always looks taller if the bushes are trimmed.

Di aka "Mrs Bigun" said...

I am with TriDummy - Manscape - if you have the ba...er...heart to wear those briefs - manscape! TriMama is right too, it is the perfect accessory for your Tat!!

pinkgurugal said...

in tv we call pictures the money shot. so show us the money!

pinkgurugal said...

in tv we call pictures the money shot. so show us the money!

Jane said...

er, ah, oh my.

hmmm, well you can't just tease us. I agree with several of the women above - photos please.

momo said...

i'm late to this party, but i'd say - yep - show us the pics. :-)

Tri to Be Funny said...

Next time, we want to see the pic of you WEARING the red briefs :-)

Coach Tammy said...

I watched Lord of the Rings again last night, and this is the second blog I've read with a LOR reference today. (insert twilight zone theme here).

As for your swim attire, I can't think of an appropriate response, so I'll just keep my mouth shut. ha.

CoachLiz said...

Thanks for posting that sidesplitting pic of the Polish national cycling team!

Hey, I feel your pain. Guys are know to always look at two things on a lady... T & A. I do not have the T part of the equation at all. Let's put it this way, I have to purchase my lovely lady lumps coverage from the girl's section at Target.

Be proud and just know that you are a little more aerodynamic than others.

Fe-lady said...

Yeah...we (I) want pix too...and just get "Lifeguard" silkscreened on the butt and there you go!

Jane said...

OK Greyhound you asked for it:

One observation I have is that you seem to be apologetic and are asking our permission or approval. There seems to be some underlying pride that you can pull off wearing this, but like you said, you are a humble man. this is also consistent with your middle-class-graduate-educated-protestant-caucasian background; i.e. more shame or embarassment about the goods than need be. There is probably why Europeans wear speedos so much more than Americans.

Another observation (okay, you asked for Freudian, didn't you?) is that you were comfortable in the same style but in blue or black. Why the red? (more than just it draws attention). Well, the obvious textbook interpretation would be that red symbolizes your castration anxiety. So maybe you have the "equipment" but fear that if other larger (in height, weight, stature) men see that you are a threat in the equipment area, they will attack you and uh, remove it.

That will be $200 please.

greyhound said...

Oh, I feel much better now. Thanks Doc.

No Wetsuit Girl said...

I say, sport it with a smile! Then again, that might be the European in me talking.

Really, really great post. I know just what you're talking about with the locker room thing. I mean, I know *just what you're talking about* in your post, but I can relate to the locker room issue, and I think it was very well said.

Bigun said...

That's why I always carry a pair of sissors in my swim kit.

Lana said...

I'm late here, too...but I'm with the rest of the ladies - show us some pics. I just can't judge it until I see it on!