I noticed something interesting around the beach and pool on our family vacation last week. There were quite a few men’s swim shirts being worn on the beach. Although I really like the idea, I’m a bit torn on the issue.
Swim shirts, or rash guards are tops designed originally for surfers to protect them from abrasions caused by their wetsuits. Now they are becoming more popular among the non-surfing public as an alternative to sunscreen in protecting the skin from the sun’s UV radiation. But for the middle-aged rounder set, it seems like the swim shirt serves another purpose. You see, body image is just as much a concern for older men as it is for older women, and removing your shirt at the beach can be embarrassing or uncomfortable for my big-boned brothers. I understand this completely, as I’m much rounder in the areas that were flat as a board years ago. So instead of covering up the beer belly with a t-shirt that billows and puffs up when you go into the water, a swim shirt fits snug, dries quickly, blocks the sun and looks cool. You never have to take off your shirt on the beach again. Perfect right?
So what’s my problem then?
I’m not sure. You should wear what makes you feel comfortable. But shouldn’t you be comfortable in your own skin? Is it just a cop-out on the hard work that goes into changing your body and getting fit?
I like the idea and I think I’ll try it out. I do think though that I will initially feel a little self-conscious about wearing it.
What are your thoughts on swim shirts for men? I’d be interested in hearing from both men and women on this issue.