Josh Kilen

Telling Fun Stories. Ambiguously Ambitious.

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That Time My Dad Wore His Speedo

There he was, package and all...

When I was 12, my father decided to wear an excitingly small speedo to the pool. Unfortunately my entire 6th grade class and their parents were in attendence as well.

to be continued...

Just finished the first draft: It's a little longer... 1222 words, hope that's okay.

When I was 12 years old, my father managed to embarrass me more than I thought was quite possible by employing a smallish speedo, some middle aged bravado, and my entire 6th grade class. It was a night to remember.

I attended a private school from 5th to 8th grade and one of the highlights of those years was the yearly tournament creatively named Lutheran Elementary School Tournament, or LEST for short. LEST was pre-pubescent bacchanalia of young men and women battling in such diverse events as knowledge bowls, spelling bees, volleyball, and even basketball tournaments. It was our World Cup except we got one every year.

In addition to the competitions, it was also a chance for heady teenage hormones to go a little wild. Over 15 schools stayed in the same hotels, so it was an excellent opportunity to find young people of the opposite sex and stare at them awkwardly. At least that was my custom in those days. Often the best place to find a large cluster of young people was the pool area. This was why two nights into the event, my friend Robbie and I were chomping at the bit to go down to the pool. It was about as close to James Bond strolling into a Montenegro Casino and seducing a foreign beauty as we were going to get at that age.

We were primed with our swimsuits and towels, feeling pretty confident in ourselves, when my Mom delivered the terrible news.

"Oh, boys! Wait up, your father and sisters are coming with you," she said.

To a 12 year old hoping to catch the notice of and perhaps, maybe, even talk to a pretty girl from another school, this was the kiss of death. Invariably I would be put in charge of my sister's safety and my great plans of lust and love would never bear fruit. We slumped on the bed and in unison let out a deep lip sputtering sigh.

My sisters changed in the other room and my father went to the bathroom. The girls were surprisingly swift, re-entering our room with shrill and excited laughter, but my Dad was taking his time. One thing I learned early in life, there's no hurying my father in the bathroom. So we waited.

My father emerged from the bathroom with what I can only describe as a flourish. There he was, barely covered in the smallest bathing suit I have ever had the misfortune of seeing. It was a tiny black thread of a thing, with enough fabric around the groin to be considered, technically, legal. The thing it did do was leave very little to the imagination.

"Oh Craig! No!" My mother rightly exclaimed.

"What?" my father said, attempting to look sincerely befuddled.

"You cannot wear that to the pool," my mother said. Her face betrayed the thought that the man she had pledged to love was capable of such bad decision making.

"We agree with Mom!" We all said in unison, even my friend who was now bonded to our family for life.

My father waved us off. "It's fine, it covers everything." No one said a word, we just continued to stare uncomfortably. "Fine, I'll put on a robe until we get down there and slip into the pool so no one will see. This is the only suit I brought." He said this as if that made the whole matter clear and digestible. He quickly grabbed a robe, threw it on, and motioned us toward the door. "Come on, the pool awaits." Just minutes before, those words that held so much promise filled me with a terminal dread.

We walked down the hallway to the elevator and rode down in silence. No one wanted to acknowledge the situation. I prayed that this was the on time of day that no one from my school, or any school hopefully, would be at the pool. The doors opened and we walked out of the elevator directly into the pool area.

My prayers were not answered. It seemed that Robbie and I had missed a memo somewhere because my entire class was in the pool area, splashing around and generally carrying on like 12 year olds do. Only a few kids noticed us, waving their hellos as they dived back into the mass of arms and legs, as we tentatively walked to the edge of the pool.

Robbie and I quickly found places for our towels and dived into the pool. My sisters did the same. Dad had a different agenda. With an uncharacteristic enthusiasm and showmanship, he whipped off his robe and threw it off towards our towels thus exposing himself to all of us. Robbie and I discovered that looking up at my Dad in a speedo was not a superior view.

I don't know if it was his intention but all activity in the pool ceased. Not a word whispered, not a ripple was made. All eyes were now on my Dad and his barely there european style bathing suit. A young man swam up behind me, Rick, the class doorknob, the one everyone hates but follows anyway, and said, "Hey, isn't that your Dad?"

"I, uh, uh," I responded. Most twelve year old boys are not equipped to handle complex social situations like these and I was no exception.

"Dork," Rick said as he splashed the side of my face. With that humiliation, some life came back as everyone shifted their attention from my father's package to their previous activities. Though their attentions were divided with constant glances back to make sure my Dad held his place.

In response to the extra attention, my father decided to do possibly the worst thing a middle aged man wearing a tiny bathing suit around almost teenagers could do; he stretched. Arms spread, he arched his back, and had a good stretch. I looked up, mouth hung open at his audacity. Then I noticed the looks on the faces of the mom's lounging around the pool. It was a mixture of admiration and horror. He entered the water and started playing with my sisters as if everything was normal.

Over the next twenty minutes, these quietly appreciative Lutheran mothers led their children away from the pool area. They each left with a parting glance at my Dad and I knew that we were they reason they hastened their exit. Eventually we were the only ones left in the pool.

At the time I remember being more embarrassed and angry with my Dad than ever before. It seemed like the most selfish thing I had ever seen. Twenty two years later, I think I understand a little better.

At the time my father was 36 years old and had been working out steadily for over a year. He was struggling to overcome the dreaded middle age man look that many of his friends had succombed to and succeeded admirably. So at 36, with the toned body of a teenager, my Dad just wanted to show off. Now, why he chose to show off his new physique to a group of pre-pubescent and their parents is a question I may never have answered, but as a 34 year old man looking down at a decidedly larger belly than I'd like, I get it.

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