A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
This could be one of those TMI columns (‘too much information’ for you puzzled geezers out there) which spring occasionally from the empty corridors of a confused mind. A bit of information just sits there doing not much of anything then suddenly it blossoms into an earth-shaking revelation that simply has to be told to an eagerly-awaiting public. Oh, don’t get your hopes up; this isn’t one of them.
On December 13, 2019 I learned in a desk calendar that ever since 1999 one of the world’s top professionals, Andre Agassi, has been playing tennis without any underpants under his shorts. Apparently he forgot to wear them one day and had to go commando. (Commandos don’t wear underpants apparently. I did not know that, but then I don’t know any commandos.) His coach offered him the pair he was wearing but Andre declined his generous offer which I thought was a bit rude. After all, the man was just trying to help out. Not only did Andre win the match but went on to win the French Open. After that it was a case of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ and that’s the way he has played ever since.
I am not a tennis player and because of a particular blessing wouldn’t be able to play sans-drawers, but Andre’s situation started me thinking about sports clothing and tennis clothes in particular. What professional athletes wear, both male and female, is evolving.
You young folks (anyone under 80) won’t have any idea who I am writing about, but many of us old crocks remember Gussie Moran. Gussie shocked the tennis world at Wimbledon in 1949 by wearing a short skirt, which when she pranced about showed the pair of frilly lace knickers she had on underneath. Ms. Moran, forever after known as Gorgeous Gussie, had asked permission from the federation to wear a colourful outfit designed for her debut into the world of international tennis, but the snotty All England Club refused to bend their all-white clothing rules. They were sort of asking for it when you think about it. (Now they have a Prime Minister whose haircut makes him look like a circus clown – go figure. It must be the overabundance of Newcastle Brown Ale English people drink from infancy.)
The Brits were horrified when they saw her bottom even though it was covered and accused her of bringing vulgarity and sin into the sacred game of tennis. This disgusting display of her niceties (although clad) was even discussed in parliament and no doubt in every pub in England. We forget Britain at the time was barely out of the Dark Ages and at the moment shows no sign of leaving.
I suspect the powers that be would have preferred floor-length skirts, bustles and knee-high boots. She lost by the way, but no one even noticed until someone checked the records twelve years later.
Fast-forward to 2020 and picture what women tennis players wear on the court today, or for that matter, what women wear period in the wide world of sport. It is now mandatory at all international events to have a bowl of tranquilizers on hand for any geezers who might wander in to the stadium, or onto the golf course, or sit ringside at the WWW during Ladies Night.
Warning – If a gentleman should feel the need to pinch the posterior of a young lady make sure she isn’t a lady wrestler. A body slam may sound romantic but not when you are slammed on an arena cement floor.
I was watching the Olympic ladies free-style swimming finals one afternoon and Mary had to bathe my head with a cool damp cloth – as I did for her during the men’s event. I suspect today there are no bathing suits involved at all in international swim meets anymore, just body paint and nose plugs. Most competitive swimmers shave their body hair before they compete. I did not know that and tried it last summer. I found for me it made little difference, but then dog-paddling in a wading pool rarely produces world records.
It’s a strange world we live in when you think about it. In some cultures all we see of the ladies is two eyeballs and in others even their appendix scars are on display. Where will it all end, you may ask. I don’t know but I suspect the up and coming Gussies won’t be spending much on frilly lace knickers.