I have been swimming since before I could walk. I first entered the pool as an infant, when my mum saw something in one of her medical texts referring to a baby’s natural instinct to hold its breath. With that first splashdown, a love affair was born. I took lessons and was swimming with a local club before the age of six.
I spent my entire youth by the side of a pool. Because of this, there aren’t a whole load of poolside/locker room activities that surprise me or take me aback. That is until recently.
While they aren’t typically commonplace, unisex changing rooms do crop up now and then depending on the type of facility you’re using. At the very least, some pools will have a communal showering area and sexed locker rooms for changing.
But in all my days- in 16 years of competitive swimming -I had never witnessed the following act:
The Vigorous Soapy Pube Scrub. (VSPS)
This activity is performed in the communal shower area after exiting the pool wherein one holds their swimming suit open and with soap in hand (or just squirted straight onto the offending area) and then scrubs/shucks with wicked enthusiasm. Multiple openings of the top of the swim suit to be sure all soap is washed away seems to be absolutely necessary.
VSPS… capitalised for a reason. And from what I’ve seen it’s not merely the idiosyncratic behaviour of just one overzealous man. Yes, I said man. The VSPS seems to be the sole property of those of us in possession of a Y chromosome. While I could be wrong, I don’t see a whole load of women yanking the front of their swimming costumes to the side and lathering up their lady bits with shameless fervour. Though, to be fair, a lady would have to be a proper contortionist to get the job done without exposing herself.
There could be a very good reason for this, but I honestly don’t see it. I question- how dirty can your tanglewood be after exiting a swimming pool? Why is it so important that you scrub it in such a gleefully robust manner? Is there a magical place you go when your waistband springs back whilst making that wet THWACK-ing noise against your wet belly?
I understand that most people aren’t particularly fond of the smell of chlorine lingering on their skin after having a swim. But show me a guy that can bend over and smell his own pubes and I’ll show you someone who probably isn’t coming to the swimming pool all that often.
I’m genuinely not saying I find this habit particularly offensive- whatever blows your hair back and all that- but I really don’t think it’s all that essential. I mean, if your skin is so prone to drying out after a few laps round the old swimmin’ hole I don’t think scouring your nethers with soap is going to help all that much. You could try a nice soothing cocoa butter lotion, or a light dusting of aloe-vera talc with the caveat that you apply it IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR OWN CHANGING CUBILCLE!
I think I might even have a coupon for that lotion.