Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Once upon a time when I was very nearly a teenager, a friend and I would regularly go swimming about once a week during the school holidays.
We varied where we went to, but our favourite pool was where a gang of boys also went to.
We didn't know who they were, but they were about three or four years older than ourselves, making them proper teenagers, and also 'boys we wanted to make an impression on'.
To this day I still don't know why, but every time we went to those pools, we would wear our best swimsuits, and make an effort with our clothes to wear to and from the place. We also tried wearing make-up and after the disaster when we ended up looking like half-drowned clowns, we would wear waterproof make-up and give the food colouring in the hair a miss too.
For a while we thought our efforts were in vain but after about a month we noticed a couple of the boys watching us. Of course, we pretended we hadn't noticed and nonchalantly walked past where they were sitting so that we could jump off the high diving board.
Our prowess at managing to jump fearlessly off the high board obviously impressed them, as when we went to the opposite side of the pool to where they were sitting they looked over at us again and smiled.
We gave little smiles in return then went back to being nonchalant once more.
This was the cue for the boys to take a turn impressing us, so up the ladders they climbed to the top of the high board.
The first boy flexed his pecs and tried to look macho before landing in the deep end with a perfect dive-bomb which caused a small tidal wave that made it almost to the shallow end.
The second boy didn't flex anything. In fact he looked rather green from where we were splashing about.
His friend waved at him to get a move on, but the poor boy just stood there looking more nervous by the second.
After a while his friend climbed up the ladder to him to see what was happening and the two of them stood near the edge of the board trying to look full of bravado, while we pretended we weren't watching, but of course we were.
They'd both been up there for about five minutes when another group of boys began to climb the ladder.
This time the second boy had no choice; he had to jump, or else the other boys would push him in, so after his friend dive-bombed us again, he took a deep breath and stepped off the board.
I think I should now mention that the boy was wearing a pair of those incredibly over sized, loose, baggy shorts over a pair of speedos.
We found this out because when he stepped of the board, he didn't step very far and somehow he managed to snag the speedos which were only just uncovered by the shorts.
There was a moment of silence and the poor thing hung in mid-air for a second or so suspended only by the elasticity of the banana-hammock. Anybody that hadn't noticed look round as the elastic reached it's end at which point he screamed.
For what seemed like ages he hung there before elasticity took over from gravity, and up he went for a short while, and turned almost upside down before gravity took over once again.
This time he didn't get suspended or slightly bounced, oh no.
This time he plunged head first towards the water leaving his speedos and loose, baggy shorts hanging from the snag at the edge of the board.
We really did try not to laugh, honestly, but seeing as everybody else started laughing as well we couldn't help ourselves.
We couldn't stop laughing as we ran to the changing rooms, and we still could not stop on the train on the way home.
We fell about giggling when we talked on the phone later that evening, and we cracked up again the next time we met up.
But sadly we never saw those boys at that pool again.
I would just like to say that if for some miraculous chance that poor, gangly teenager that exposed his all to us one summer is reading this, I'm sorry, but I still fall about laughing when I remember.