Sicilians in Speedos

August 6, 2010

Sicilian in Speedo on Beach in Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

I got a little pile of emails and comments about proper beach attire for men a few blogs ago, so I decided to pursue  the topic.

“It seems weird,” said my Italian friend Roberta as we sipped iced tea with a scoop of lemon granita floating on top, “to see a guy on the beach not wearing a Speedo. What’s he trying to hide?”

Sicilian men of all shapes and ages seem perfectly at home in skimpy little Speedos, as opposed to their American counterparts, who turn up at the beach swathed in baggy shorts down to the kneecap, complete with inner lining. Why is this? If you have any insights into this cross-cultural diff, fammi sapere, lemme know!

Sicilians in Speedos 2, Copyright Jann HuizengaSicilians in Speedos 3, Copyright Jann Huizenga

Sicilian in Speedo on Sicilian Beach, copyright Jann HuizengaSicilian in Speedo on Sicilian Beach, copyright Jann Huizenga

A recent article in the Huffington Post called “Speedos are Back” shows lots of great styles on the Milan runways!

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21 comments to Sicilians in Speedos

  • Ken

    I am an American and I view a men’s speedo the same as a typical women’s swimming suit (one or two piece) — both are next to the skin. I wish/hope Americans can become more accepting of speedos on men; while people may not like seeing men in speedos they should not judge or make fun of those that wear them.

    • Jann

      Yes, I guess it’s human nature to judge what’s “unfamiliar” to us, but we should be more accepting of different ways of doing things. An aside: a friend was swimming in a Paris pool recently and she saw a sign saying American-style baggy men’s swimsuits were forbidden (as unhygienic, I think).

  • it’s all about the tan line – or at least that’s what my italian husband says.

  • mike

    We are sexist here in the states about
    men wearing Speedos..all you hear is how
    offended people are about seeing too much of a
    man..a bunch of prudes..plain and simple.

  • Hey Jann!

    Thanks for posting yet another speedo post!

    Obviously the guy in photo #1 has nothing to hide. It’s not really that seeing a guy in a speedo weirds me out, or a woman in a skimpy bikini. It’s just that some people don’t look good in it. It’s like everyday clothing – some people can wear a certain piece, and for others it’s just… not appealing. Like saggy bottoms in #4. :) Harsh perhaps, but it’s my honest opinion.

  • Emalene Renna

    Love the pics but do you have a lense for close-ups or did you get up close to shoot???????????????????? Memon beach in NY all have suits knee length

    • Jann

      Hi Emalene–I do not have a strong telephoto lens (too expensive, too heavy to lug around), so I have to get close to people when I shoot. Sicilians love to be in pictures. The last guy in the purple suit, for instance, I just asked him to turn around and pose, which he happily did and I shot him from a few feet away.

  • amy

    I’m an American living in Sicily for a few years. At first I was SHOCKED at the speedo style but now I’m used to it. I love how the Sicilians are so comfortable with their bodies and (men & women) will wear tiny suits and show off all that skin. The women, no matter their size, wear bikinis. Not like the women in the states trying to wear one pieces to cover up their tummies. They let it all hang out! They seem to want as much tan flesh as possible! My husband now wears the tiny trunks that look like boxer briefs and they look great on him!

    • Jann

      Hi Amy–mille grazie for this insightful comment. I think you’ve perfectly answered Aysha’s question about women’s wear, too.

  • Sam

    I saw a Letterman program several years ago where they polled women in the audience about “Men in Speedos”, and the consensus was that these American women did not want to see their guys in Speedos. Guest Sandra Bullock said: “Let’s leave SOMETHING to the imagination”.

  • I recall being camped on a beach in Baja when a VW van pulled in and out bounded two German octogenarians, a man and woman, who no doubt subscribed to the Sicilian tradition – he in his Speedo and she in a skimpy bikini, flesh a-dangling. While the sight was disconcerting, their exuberance and lack of self-consciousness was refreshing. So my question is, is standard bathing suit wear for Sicilian women as unabashed as that for men?

    • Jann

      Ciao Aysha…looooove that image! Well, to answer your question, my attention has been focused elsewhere, but now I will start paying attention to women’s wear and surely post something soon! Stay tuned. Grazie!

  • catherine Billups

    This is just one example of the difference in Americans and Sicilians. Italians are not uptight about sex and the most famous graffiti which goes back to the time of Pompeii is still drawn on walls everywhere. The famous erect penis and balls. When they see something which would bring bad luck they grab them to ward off the evil spirits (seeing two nuns, seeing an empty hearse, etc., etc.)
    It is all very Italian and Sicilians are just more than Italian.

  • wayne

    as a friend of Roberta who will be coming to visit from NYC in a months time, you will not see me in a Speedo. But now that I am going to be judged, I better find something better to hide my pasty white legs than the year old shorts I had planned to wear…..

    • Jann

      Ha ha, Wayne–let’s wait and see… I’m sure you will be converted to the Speedo religion before you leave Sicily. Looking forward to meeting you!

  • Cathy

    Norah, LOL You aren’t alone! Jann, this may be one of your most popular postings :)

  • NorahS

    It’s embarrassing how fast I clicked over to read THIS post!

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