Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul confesses that his love for bikinis has lead to some painful experiences.
Somewhere along the way I developed a deep appreciation for Speedos. And I don’t just mean tingling excitement from seeing a hunky guy parade down Fire Island letting it (almost) all show. No, I mean that I, myself, much prefer to don a bikini than baggy board shorts.
It’s not like I can chalk it up to a European upbringing. In Texas, I was raised to wear much more modest pool attire. And it’s not like I have a toned torso that I love to show off. I have battled weight my entire life.
Maybe it started when I was 14, and just coming to terms with my body and sexuality. I used flip through GQ magazine pulling out pictures of models in revealing swimwear, creating a collage on poster board of my ideal man that I hung in my room. Remind me again how my Mom was surprised when I came out officially several years later?
At the time, the only place in town I knew sold actual men’s bikinis was Neiman Marcus—they catered to men with more of a “special” fashion sense. I saved up my pennies and steeled my courage to purchase one for myself. When my father and stepmother were away, I’d put it on and lay poolside. I also doused my hair with special Sun-In to bring out the highlights. Oh I was a vision. And felt so sexy and like such a rebel.
My fetish flourished when I took up residence on Alphabet City. There was no shortage of places catering to men wanting to display their package. Over the years, I’ve acquired quite the menagerie of swim attire. Flashy red floral for Puerto Vallarta’s gay beach. Cheeky green plaid for Provincetown. Understated deep purple for more family oriented resorts in the Caribbean.
Last year for my 40th birthday, I even had a “couture” suit designed by swimwear designer Keiko—something to show off my Green Lantern tattoo placed high on my thigh. I needed something with just the right colors, and cut so as not to ride up my butt—I was going to be entertaining friends on a boat in Sydney, after all. A little modesty was required, after all.
As I’ve aged, it’s taken more work to look “presentable” in a bikini. I’ve lost weight, pumped up my legs and trimmed the unruly hair on my thighs. When I started noticing some odd patches of hair growing on my back, I immediately booked my first waxing treatment at men’s spa Nickel.
After disrobing and laying prostate on what looked like a sacrificial alter, Latin American aesthetician Monica gave me a once over.
“Ay papi, it’s not just your back. That hair on your butt needs to go, too.”
“Why? It’s mostly covered up.”
“No, no baby. From looking at your tan line, some of that hair is poking out. Monica gonna take good care of you. Just relax. You want inside as well?”
“Um, I don’t know what that means.”
“Sweetie, you watch porn? How you think those boys have no hair there?”
Holy Christmas! Just the thought of it made me writhe in pain. Turns out, there’s a male equivalent of the female Brazilan wax. I’ve named it after Monica’s home country—Ecuadorian Torture.
“Well, okay, I’ll try anything once.”
Famous last words.
Yesterday, as I dropped my towel in front of my gym locker, I noticed my tan line fading, along with memories of the warmth of Mexico. But the cute guy next to me winked, and told me he liked my tattoo—and my tan line. Nice. Just the reaction, and boost of self-esteem, I’d been looking for.
Time to book my next trip to a sunny locale. But what Speedo will I take?