You’re on a beach, preferably foreign – so you don’t have a full handle on the societal norms – and you’re wearing your regular swimming gear.
If you’re a middle-aged man it’s a pair of trunks, with a leg length somewhere above or at the knee that are either a plain colour or some sort of exotic print – it depends on how much peacock you have in your DNA. As a woman it’s some sort of costume that covers enough without making you feel like you’re either a nun or your mother.
You look around and you start to notice that most of the people your age are wearing decidedly less swimsuit than you are. And they seem to be getting away with it. It’s not pretty, but it’s not as grotesque as you might have thought. nobody’s in their prime past 35 but most people are looking good for their age in their budgie smugglers and strappy bikinis. After a few days of this you start to feel that the old aphorism Less is more might actually mean something and not just be a reference to Apple design.
So, buoyed by this new sense of liberty, encouraged by the laissez-faire attitude of the locals, you find yourself in the local beach shop browsing the cheese wire that passes for swimwear.
You leave the shop with your tiny package (and your new swimming togs) and you head back to your accommodation to try them on.
You’re hoping for more Tom Daley on the 10m board than Ray Winstone in Sexy Beast as you arrange your equipment into the new speedos and head out to the beach.
As you settle yourself on the beach you feel slightly self-conscious as the fresh air gusts around your upper thighs and the application of sun oil to your freshly revealed milky white bits feels disconcertingly like a service you should be paying for.
After a few minutes of lying there you’re wondering how long you can hold in your midriff before it all falls apart. In the end you realise that if you lie on your front you can relax like a walrus on a beach. You survey the beach in front of you with your chin propped on the fist column and you come to the slow realisation that almost everyone else is at the same thing.
Trying, beyond hope, to make do with what they’ve got. There are only one or two decent human specimens on the beach and they’re emotionally infantile narcissists. As deep as a puddle. Genetically perfect but not the polymath we all become as we get older.
F*** it, you think, I look fine and what’s more, (Another benefit of getting older) I don’t care.
As this is a running blog and stories about running are invariably not that interesting the above allegory is a more interesting way of saying I have just bought some new running shoes. They are smaller and lighter than my normal ones and only time will tell if they work out for me. I took them out for 10 miles yesterday and they seem to make running fast easier but I suspect that over longer distances I will suffer some sort of injury (think of your equipment falling out of your speedos).