Thursday, August 21, 2008

Swimsuit Discrimination

In the very crowded areas of Big City, scattered througout the apartment buildings, are businesses that have swimming pools that are used exclusively for swimming lessons. We have one very close to our apartment, so I signed up the Juan Carlos (5 yrs.) and Pedro (18 mos.).

I have written a couple of times about Brazil's great fondness for the speedo swimsuit, or "sunga", for men. Neither the boys nor the man in my life have "gone native" in this aspect. When we go to the beach or to the pool they all wear their swim trunks and we look like the total foreigners that we are (the bermuda style shorts are not as shocking I'm sure as my and Margarita's one piece swimsuits-now those are a DEAD GIVEAWAY that we are not locals. And of course there's the white skin, that doesn't help so much either (some of us being whiter than others)).

Anyway, my point being, our choice in swimwear makes us stick out, but we're fine with that.

I'm not sure where my prejudice against the speedo comes from, but it is definitley there, deeply embedded in my subconscious mind. Where I grew up, the only time a guy wore a speedo was if he was on the swimteam and he was competing. He would wait until the last possible second to disrobe and then would quickly grab a towel as soon as his race was over. Despite their efforts to be "exposed" for as little time as possible, we still made fun of them.

I don't know where Guapo's discrimination of the speedo comes from, but he probably has even stronger feelings against than I do. So, we don't buy them for our boys.

When Juan Carlos started his lesson though, I was sure they were going to force me to buy one since, of course, that's what everyone else wears. I can deal with a dress code in a class type situation, so I bought him one and presented it to him. He was not happy but agreed to wear it under his regular trunks. It has yet to see the light of day. His teacher asked me why he doesn't have one after his last class; I showed him that he was, in fact, wearing the "sunga" but that he felt uncomfortable wearing only the "sunga". He was cool with that.

I sent Pedro in his swimmer diaper and his little trunks; I certainly wasn't going to waste the money buying him a "sunga". He's 18 months for crying out loud, it's not like he's going to be competing anytime soon. I went to his first class and there was no problem. (I should mention, though, that his teacher and I did not hit it off. She's one of those young women that has no children, but yet, somehow feels that knows everything there is to know about them-especially my kid. Irritating.)

Vanessa took him to his second lesson (not because I'm lazy folks, but because I was helping out at the school) and when she came home she informed me that the teacher wants me to buy him a "sunga" because HE IS TOO HEAVY IN THE WATER FOR HER TO WORK WITH HIM WITH HIS TRUNKS ON. Does she think I'm stupid? Too heavy? My 18 month old that weighs under 25 pounds? In the water? Puh-lease woman!

(shaking my head and sighing in annoyance)

Deciding that this was not a battle worth fighting, I bought Pedro the stupid "sunga". Here he is with it:

At least he likes it more that Juan Carlos does. (As long as it's on his head, I won't mock him too much!)


Ballerina Girl said...

ok, how cute is Pedro?
and how annoying is this lady? will she clean him if he has an accident in the pool?
the swim teachers in Houston never seemd to have trouble with my son and the others that wore the trunks and swim diaper...

well, at least they are having fun swimming!
love, BG
ssshhh-from the bikini wearing, sunga clad family :)

jd said...

Giggle Giggle! I brought one home for my husband last time I was in Brasil. LOL!

lizzy-loo said...

embrace the carioca in you! My son had to have the sunga for his swim lessons when small. Though he wouldn't wear them now( thank goodness) he loved them when young because his trunks called too much attention to him. I say go native!!

Code Yellow Mom said...

We've had lots of sunga conversations around here lately because of the Olympics. It's pretty hilarious to hear the little boy opinions that come out. They naturally have an aversion to them. (Thankfully) But what is that? huh. I do really like Pedro's hat, though. :)

(The heavy diaper/trunks thing is a crack up!)

Maine Mom said...

That's exactly where the "Sunga" would end up on Kate, too!...although she's not a boy and wouldn't need one, right??? Too cute.

Kari said...

Very cute sunga photos! Thanks for the reminders of the "little differences" you would not otherwise think of!

Very odd, on the Chinese puppet for the Olympics coverage, by the way...

utmommy said...

I don't think I could convince my boys to wear one either.

Marina said...

I think the speedo went out with the 70's LOL!! ") marina

No Cool Story said...

But, he was just a baby a month ago =D

Yeah, those weird American swim pants are SO HEAVY and weird ;)

I hate it when non-parents want to raise your kids. That's ok though, eventually, they'll get their comeupins.