By Danielle Shaw  <Inad@aol.com>

It's summer. Our thoughts drift to visions of lazing on the beach, the warmth of the sun, the crashing ocean, the hot sand beneath our feet, the smell of suntan lotion--and the hairy-backed man wearing Speedos!

My first experience with Speedos may have scarred me for life. When I was growing up, our swim coach was a Speedos wearer. He shouldn't have been. He was pale, hairy, and had a pot belly. I saw him in that green and black striped Speedos bathing suit every summer for about 10 years. He never varied it. He had found his style, and he was sticking with it.

In theory, Speedos aren't a bad idea. You take a guy, you stick him in this tight-fitting thing, you see parts of his anatomy that you don't even see in R-rated movies, and you throw him onto a beach, surf, sand, refreshing cold drinks all around him. What could be so bad about that? In fact, why wouldn't it be every woman's favorite part of a venture to the beach?

But it doesn't work out that way. It never works out that way. You never see a man in Speedos who you would like to see in Speedos. The only men who wear them are the exact ones who should not. They are the types who should really be sitting inside in front of the TV all summer eating cheese curls. Speedos wearers are fat with pot bellies and hair on their backs.

Speedos should be outlawed. They're too tight. They're too small. They're too show-off-ishy. They're like the skin on the bologna!

Okay, Olympic swimmers should be allowed to wear Speedos. They need them for their sport. But the average man should not be wearing them. Men who aren't football players don't wear black paint under their eyes. Men who aren't jockeys don't wear little checkered silk outfits in contrasting colors. Men who aren't figure skaters don't wear pretty sequined tights. Similarly, men who aren't swimmers should not wear Speedos. Let us all fight against these men trying to ruin our summer experience!

But one good thing about Speedos: they can teach us a subtle lesson about the differences between men and women. Even though many women would like Speedos outlawed, you would never hear a man saying that he wants tiny, skin-tight bikinis outlawed.

For something so small, Speedos sure give us a lot to think about.

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