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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gay Swim Team

As part of this jouney into middle age I've committed myself to trying new things or perhaps trying out things that didn't work out the first time I tried. Being on a swim team was one of them. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy swimming. In fact I could probably live on, or in, water. However, I remember not enjoying being on a swim team. Why? Because of the bathing suits. Not about the way they look. I think they look great! Its just the way they made feel....down there. Yes, I quit the swim team because those Speedo's gave me a boner. Of course being surrounded with very cute guys in similar suits just added to my embarassment and arousal. Nope, a swim team was just not going to work out.

Flash forward 29 years. I was invited to Miami's local gay swim team; the Nadadores. Better known as the "nads" (as in gonads, as if I had to explain it to you). Anyway I decided to "take the plunge". I've recently lost weight so I felt confident in my ability to wear a pair of Speedos. Besides, being gay means you HAVE to wear them or you're not "officially gay." The "erectile disfunction" I suffered at age eleven has gone from one extreme to the other so now I can just relax and focus on my swimming and not worry about what happens...down there.

I get to the pool and jump in. Not completely familiar with the routine I ask a few questions. I am not familiar with an 800IM or a 300free or a 100fly. I just kind of follow the swimmers and hope I do as many laps as they do. Swimming was fun. I'm swimming right along and keeping up, more or less, with the other two guys I'm sharing the lane with. I was really getting into the sensory deprivation of swimming, limited sight and hearing but being totally aware of your body and its suspension in water. I was in some cases swimming faster than other people in the pool.

I would ask questions like "how many times across the pool is 300? Is it six?" "Is it three?" As I grew more exhausted from all these laps, my ability to multiply was rapidly diminishing. I also noticed that the other swimmers were getting tired of doing my multiplication for me. After about 50 minutes of continuous laps I lost my ability to do any type of multiplication whatsoever. Finally the guy next to me said the other swimmer in my lane:

"Bonito pero bruto." Which translates roughly to: "cute, but total, complete, moron."

You know, I really love Miami. Speaking Spanish and Portuguese and being bicultural allows me to fully experience this city in a way someone who is not bilingual can't. Not being bilingual in Miami is like missing a sense, or limb. In Miami I am the epitome of a white boy. People assume I don't speak Spanish. "Bonito pero bruto" reverberted in my head after every stroke.

As a gay man, its hard not feel ambivalent about a remark like that. I mean in gay culture, cute trumps smarts every time. Plus, I was really fucking tired from all the swimming. Of course my concentration was shot. There was no way I could multiply now. If I swam any more, "bruto"would far exceed any "bonito". I got out of the pool, convinced that my second attempt to join a swim team in 40 years was a disaster. I went to the locker room and changed. Two hot guys asked for my number.

The next practice is on Thursday. I better get some multiplication flash cards and a speedo.

Today's Hiaku:

Swim silly gay fish

hot freestyle in tight speedos

The water is so nice