One midlife crisis and a speedo, by Darrel Bristow-Bovey
'One midlife crisis and a speedo' is a real funny memoir about getting older and the strange things we do while it happens to us. For his midlife crisis, Darrel Bristow-Bovey decides that he has to accomplish something that is difficult, but as he says, 'There's no point setting out to seduce Sophia Loren or read the collected works of Nadine Gordimer. It must be something humanly possible.' His inner journey as he tries to make this happen is witty and well-observed.
[...] Because actually that ankle-deep cold salty water isn't a metaphor - my feet are cold and wet and above them are my horrible bare hairy legs. I used to quite like my legs. Forty years ago on TV there was a pantyhose advert featuring a pair of legs walking down a street in high heels while someone sang "Ain't she sweet?" My father told me, "You know, they always use men's legs in pantyhose adverts." I'm not sure he intended it to be aspirational, but ever since then I've had in the back of my mind that if things don't work out I could take a job as a pantyhose leg model. Hemlines may come and go but sheer hosiery will always be with us, and with gams like these I'll never starve. But now I realise I've been kidding myself. In fact they're less like legs, more like a pair of weird pale carrots, the knobbly, skinny kind whose parents are ashamed of them so they're kept in a dark cupboard and beaten if they make a noise when the neighbours come to visit. How can they be so scrawny when the rest of me is so not scrawny? Is ... is that daylight I see? My god, is that a thigh gap? But the legs aren't even the worst part. Above the legs ... above the legs I'm wearing a Speedo. What kind of man wears a Speedo? Unmarried uncles, that's who, and Europeans, and scoutmasters on holiday. David Hasselhoff. And now me. I dislike everything about a Speedo. I recoil from its look the way I'd recoil from a sweaty stranger emerging from the woods holding something wrapped in a handkerchief, saying, "Do you want to see what I have in here?" But even more I dislike what they say. Look at me, they say, I am so small yet see how easily I hold all your manhood. And yet here I am, in public, all Speedoed up. On my head is a rubber cap like my Aunty Rose wears in the shower, and goggles that make me look like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly, or Jeff Goldblum even when he isn't in The Fly, and I'm standing on the edge of Europe and a long way away is Asia. And the idea is that I'll dive into this water, where it's cold and there are probably eels that feel like seaweed so when they brush against my ankles I won't kick them off until it's too late, and I'm supposed to swim and swim and try not be pulled downstream by a current moving as fast as the traffic in a Cape Town slow lane, or twice as fast as the traffic in a Cape Town fast lane, and swim and swim till I get to the other side. And this is the truth: I can't do it. For twenty years my swimming technique was like my sexual technique: three or four frenzied strokes then a lot of gasping and sleeping. One year ago I couldn't swim more than three laps without stopping and crying and clinging to the wall like a Humpty Dumpty who has just skipped ahead and read the second line of the poem. [...]
This is an excerpt from the book 'One midlife crisis and a speedo', by Darrel Bristow-Bovey.
Title: One midlife crisis and a speedo
Author: Darrel Bristow-Bovey
Genre: Cricket history
Publisher: Penguin Random House South Africa
Imprint: Zebra Press
Cape Town, South Africa, 2014
ISBN 9781770227460 / ISBN 978-1-77022-746-0
Softcover, 14 x 21 cm, 176 pages
Bristow-Bovey, Darrel im Namibiana-Buchangebot
'One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo' is a humorous journey into the terrors, absurdities and compensations of middle age.