The Real Purpose of Swimsuit Netting

In a perfect world, I’d get to wake up in PM daylight every day. Not too late—noon or 1 is fine—but I don’t want to deal with alarm clocks and bed times. I’d get up, do my stuff, maybe get a workout in, eat a pile of nachos and go to work. Yes, I’d still work—I’m a man who loves a project—but none of this eight hour workday stuff. I’d work until I was done for the day, be it 4 hours or 12. Then I’d go home, probably eat more nachos, and do my research (which is fancy talk for fall down a Wikipedia hole). I suppose this world wouldn’t have noise restrictions either, so I could really get into it if I started reading about Musique Concrete or something.

However, this world is not perfect. I know this because my taint is on fire.

Not literal fire, but it might as well be. I woke up today at 10 am, which is the same time I wake up when I’m going to work. Part of the joy of not going to work is waking up late, so once that’s been taken from me, I’m already at a loss. But I woke up early and went to the beach. I can’t remember if I wrote about my feelings on the beach in Can’t Eat, Can’t Breathe, but I certainly meant to. In case I didn’t, here’s a clue: my mother used to take me to the beach as punishment.

Her defense was “You like it when you’re there. You get to do all that boogie boarding.” I maintained then and now that if there were any other activity available that didn’t involve sun, surf and sand, you could offer it to me mid-wave and I would let that board float out to sea. But if I had to go to the beach (and she was very clear that I had to), I might as well do something.

So that explains why—as a 33 year old man roped into a family beach trip—I was boogie boarding in the ocean.

I never owned any swimming shorts because that seemed like needless extravagance to me. Workout shorts are as close as I’ve ever gotten to task specific shorts and I can still wear those to sleep if I want to. But wearing workout shorts in the ocean has the effect of vacuum sealing all the flavor so to speak, making them just as good as not wearing any shorts at all. At 8 years old, that might have been cute. At 33, it’s a crime.

So, I ventured into the world of swim shorts, though there wasn’t a lot left to choose from. However, the few swim drawers left tattered and forgotten on the Old Navy floor were on sale, so I took a $7 gamble on some shorts featuring something I’ve avoided for my entire adult life, netting.

I bought them knowing nothing about how swim shorts work. Maybe the netting’s poor reputation is unearned. Perhaps netting is the key to keeping the private stash from becoming an end cap display.

As far as I can tell, the purpose of netting is to hold sand and grind it into your taint. Really grind it in. Again, I know this because my taint is on fire. Initially—as with all things—I blamed CF. In the past I’ve sweated so much that the salt became a natural exfoliant on my upper thigh area. I would have persisted in this belief had I not dropped my drawers in the bathroom and heard two distinct plops. Rather than provide modesty, the netting had simply made it so that when my suit clung to my body, it was clear that I was carrying a netful of sand between my legs. Thanks to the first law of sand dynamics, I will now have sand between my thighs for at least two months.

The simple solution to this problem is to cut the net out of those shorts and never speak of this again. But why treat the symptom when you can treat the disease? It’s not like cutting the net out of those shorts is going to shade me from the sun or keep the ocean from grinding my face into the sand while it touches my heels to the back of my head (a process through which one—possibly offensive—thought tumbled through my head as I felt my spine bending in new and exciting ways: “Oh shit, I just Superman’d myself”). The net can stay. The beach has to go.