“So,” you may be wondering. “So, what about swimming and boys?” Twenty-four boys in Speedos, every afternoon at practice – for a boy who likes boys, it sounds like heaven. But, like everything in life, it’s not quite the way you would imagine.
As I’ve said elsewhere, I was a competitor. Particularly at dual meets, sexual matters were far from my mind. I wanted to win – myself, and our team – and the other boys were there to stop us, and we had to stay focused. I didn’t think of my teammates as anything except teammates in those moments, and I didn’t think of the other team’s swimmers as anything but obstacles. That wasn’t universally true – I can recall clear instances, especially when I was in 7th-8th grade and my hormones were at redline, when seeing some cute boy’s butt in a Speedo, or noticing his genitals outlined in clingy, slick wet fabric, became more than a little distracting. That happened more often at practice, where the pressure was less, and where I knew the kids and had already fooled around with some of them. But it wasn’t the norm. I was too focused on the competition itself, in practice and particularly in competition. I’m sure some of those kids on opposing teams were cute, but it just didn’t register. I recall seeing one boy at a tourney in 10th grade who was unusually well-endowed – and my immediate thought was: “Good! Hope it slows him down!!!” 🙂
There’s another aspect to my inattention. Like anything, you get desensitized to seeing boys wearing nothing but skimpy, contour-revealing nylon. When it’s every day, and when it’s your friends, people you know, and where you’re there for a specific set of reasons – you basically quit noticing what they’re wearing or what they look like, after a while. It’s just the old cliché about familiarity breeding… well, not contempt, but inattention. Even after I’d experimented with a boy, seeing him in his Speedo wouldn’t bring anything sexual to mind, unless I consciously thought about it – and usually I didn’t. Even in the locker room, or in the shower. (Okay, maybe I never quite got that desensitized… but it still wasn’t as erotic as you might think.)
A side-note about boy-butts in Speedos, since I mentioned it: Flip turns were a great way to see my friends’ butts in their Speedos, on the occasions when I wasn’t too single-minded about winning.
I sometimes followed Scott in the 200 medley relay that year (he was breaststroke, I was freestyle), and I have this vivid memory of being up on the block, seeing his Speedo-clad butt heading
away, down to the far end, flip-turning, then headed back towards me, and knowing I should concentrate on the practice but getting a little distracted… It was over in a few seconds – before he tagged me, I was back on focus – but it was there.
I showed off my butt in my Speedo, too. 🙂 That was the year I was with Kenny, and it was for his sake. Kenny came to swim practice a number of times to hang out and wait for me to finish, usually on Saturday mornings when we were going to sleep over that night. After one such practice, he said, “Danny, your butt looks good in your Speedo.” I said, trying to be funny, “Your face and my butt, what a pair.” (That was a typical comment for boys back then. Usually it was in the context of a dialog between two cigarette smokers: “You got a match?” “Yeah. Your face and my butt.” Maybe you had to be there… :))
But I could tell Kenny was serious, even though he was laughing. I told him his butt looked great in his wrestling outfit, too.
(This conversation sounds completely sappy in written form – can’t you almost hear the violins in the background, as I turn to gaze into his eyes? – but it wasn’t. We were laughing like we were totally joking and being sarcastic; but we both knew that underneath, we were both serious. Our emotions weren’t jokes, although we would’ve chomped down on broken glass before admitting it to each other, or ourselves.)
At any rate, whenever Kenny was at practice from that point on, I made a point to go up to him and stick my butt in his face. I was always tempted to pull my Speedo down and moon him, from about three feet away, but I never did, for three reasons: a) by age 15, I had developed a degree of awareness that stuff like that wasn’t always especially appropriate; b) Coach Livingston would’ve had my bare butt on a platter before I knew what was happening, if he’d spotted me; and c) Kenny would’ve promptly goosed me with his foot, and I knew it. 🙂