Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Speedos, Nudity and Watermelons!

About a month ago I was at home reading (cough) The Sun Online (cough!), when I came across an article about the ‘sizzling hot weather’ Britain was experiencing. Under this headline was a picture of a crowded Brighton beach. “I really no understand why the peoples go the beach with many clothes” was what my Brazilian housemate said when he saw this picture. I explained to him that going to the beach in England was very different to going to the beach here in Brazil; because it is rarely hot enough to be walking around in just your swimwear. “I really no imagine going to the beach in many clothes! Where are the bikikis and where is the sunga?” The word sunga means speedo in Portuguese, and I know this because of a previous conversation I had had with him.
A week or so before travelling to the beach, Kiko asked me “do you have your clothes for the beach?”, “Of course I do” I replied. “So what colour are your sunga?” I remember being bemused as to how I should answer this question, I thought it must surely have been a joke. Yet it was apparent from the look on his face that he was being deadly serious! I explained how British people don’t really wear speedos...because they are pretty tight, and, well, pretty revealing! As I was soon to discover though, for an overwhelmingly large number of Brazilian men this is not an issue, sungas are considered to be staple beach wear. A few weeks after this conversation I was on the beach, and literally every guy was sporting a sunga! Before coming to Brazil, when I had imagined being on a beach over here, I had pictured the sun, clear blue seas, golden beaches and palm trees, and this was what I got...but what I definitely hadn’t imagined was all of this AND trying to avert my eyes....as some middle aged, hairy, Brazilian men ran out of the cold sea (Baywatch style) in speedos!
The only rule I have been told that applies for speedo use over here is that they shouldn’t be white, because as you can imagine, these reveal a little too much!
When I enquired about using my local gym a few months back, I discovered that sungas are not simply worn at the beach. I was told I could use the pool, but only if I wore a pair of speedos. Board shorts there are not acceptable. I remember being pretty surprised by this, as it was only a few months ago I read a story about how a British holiday park had banned men from wearing speedos in their pools. I had naively assumed most other countires would share the same British view when it came to attitudes towards speedos. For an area used by so many women and children, it’s easy for me to imagine why men wearing tight spandex may cause some discomfort to people using the pool's facilities. However this attitude is evidently not adopted here in Brazil, or indeed in the majority of countries around the world...which got me thinking. 
I had no qualms about wearing speedos up until the age of 17, when I used to be into competitive swimming. I guess back then I considered them to be practical, and besides, everyone else in my team wore them. As I have got older I have come to accept that not only are they very unfashionable in England, but there are cultural ramifications for wearing a speedo. As a man, if your ball bag is visible at the beach or at a swimming pool in the UK, people are quick to assume you are either gay, or (how should I word this)....a bit of a perv.
A Japanese onsen, and these guys are just
 in the buff! This onsen definitely looked a little different
to the onsen at my local gym!
I remember it was not long after arriving in Japan that I started to use my local gym (I'm making myself sound like I'm really into the gym aren't I!). After using the gym for the first time I took a shower, and then I used the large, outdoor bath(called an onsen). But to use the onsen, you need to get butt naked! Foreigners in Japan will talk about the first time they bit the bullet, took off all their clothes in front of their Japanese friends and/or co-workers, and used the onsen; because this concept is pretty alien to us at first. Unless of course (and perhaps a little randomly!) you are a rugby player, then it is perfectly acceptable to be naked in a bath with your team mates. At first, this onsen experience felt a bit strange, yet by the time it came to leaving Japan I really thought nothing of whipping off my clothes for a soak in the bath, regardless of who I was with. I guess each culture has its own set of rules about what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to the beach/bath/swimming pool...and that I have come to realise British men are definitely a little prudish in comparison to some of out international neighbours! My Brazilian friend's attitude is "so you might be able to see my dick through my sunga. And? Don't look if it's a problem!"
While I was at the beach, one of the girls I was with asked me what British women usually wear when they visit the beach. I explained when women go abroad, it is not uncommon for them to go topless. As that, this girl looked very shocked (almost disgusted), and explained that over here this would be considered low class behaviour. Walking around in a skimpy bikini (that could easily have been made with dental floss) is acceptable, but fully exposing your breasts is not. This of course seemed quite surprising to me, perhaps because to Brits abroad seeing a topless woman on the beach is not really a big deal!
Over here you get all kinds of shapes and sizes on the beach. I remember the first time I was at the beach in Rio, and I was sunbathing. I looked over at one woman who, with the greatest respect to her, was fookin’ enormous! She had on a tiny thong, and had maybe the biggest behind I’d ever seen. Then when she bent down to get something out of her bag, what I was looking at could quite easily have been the back end of a horse! If she was English this woman would probably have been one of those women who goes into the sea in a big, black, baggy tee-shirt to hide her body, whilst at the same time looking slightly uncomfortable splashing around in the waves.

But this woman definitely wasn’t British! She was walking around with such confidence and not a hint of being self conscious and with all of her curves spilling out in her tiny bikini, I was taken aback!
Watermelon woman, just helping out with the bins!
From what I have noticed, women with curves seem to be celebrated much more over here than they do in back in England. And when talking about curvy Brazilians, now seems like a good opportunity to introduce you to one unique Brazilian celebrity. She became famous simply because of her natural curves...and the woman I am talking about is Watermelon woman.
I have included a picture of Watermelon woman, so I can leave it to your imagination as to why she has been given this name! I have seen her on a few afternoon TV shows now, and she tends to walk out in her bikini, and her purpose for being there is simply to show her curvy ass off to the viewers! Then when she dances, her large ass shakes, and at this the audience claps and cheers at her ass. Sometimes Watermelon woman may even bend down to pick something up (without bending her knees of course!); which gets the same response from the audience!

I still find it difficult to believe this is an actual person....but you can give us Watermelon woman over skinny Victoria Beckham any day!

6 comments:

  1. Sungas are just wrong.
    Nice blog.

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    1. Hey Meredith, thanks for stopping by to comment, I appreciate it!

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  2. I feel your pain with sungas. I went through the full range of emotions earlier this year and have come to terms with it. If you haven't already taken the plunge, my advice is to go neutral color and find the longest ones possible. Here's my experience with them http://www.10kjuan.com/the-ups-and-downs-of-brazil/ ... Good luck!

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  3. Brazilian men (well most of them) seem to be obsessed with women with big 'bundas' (bottoms). I - being a Brit - prefer a more pert, curvacious bottom.

    I think Melancia is just disgusting TBH.

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