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Dear Frank: Gone fur the summer

Frank Strack
12 Sep 2016

Passport? Check. Wookiee shorts? No! If you’re off on your hols, first let Frank Strack frisk you on your way through grooming control.

Dear Frank 

I’m off on summer holiday with the family, where I intend to spend the week on a beach in a pair of Speedos. What grooming tips do you suggest for ensuring an acceptable balance of hairy and smooth skin?

Dan, by email

First of all, I’m very glad to hear you are Rule #33 compliant (Shave your guns). I’m also glad you’re concerned about these sorts of matters – important stuff. But I have to say I’m somewhat concerned to hear you use the word “Speedos” to describe your beachwear. 

This Continental fascination with tiny male swimsuits is quite the contrast to beach attire in America, which appears to have transferred directly from basketball court to ocean, where high-top sneakers are swapped for flip-flops. I actually don’t know anything about beaches or basketball, but I’ve never let not knowing anything about something stop me from assuming I’m an authority on the matter.

Most of what I know about beach attire I learned from James Bond. To wit, in Goldfinger he wears a terrycloth, crotch-grabbing, man-cameltoe-inducing onesie. This is an obvious must-have accessory for any gentleman with an eye for style. You sound like a classy cat, so I assume you already have one. In Casino Royale, he wears a very short pair of short-shorts which is clearly the only option for every man contemplating a dip in the water.

I forgot to point out: none of this works if you have more than 2% body fat. If you fall outside this range, you will have no alternative but to retire to the privacy of your bathroom where you are permitted to wear whatever you wish, so long as no photos are leaked onto Instagram.

Assuming you pass the body-fat test (you are a Cyclist, after all), I believe you will face a compound problem upon arrival at the beach: firstly how to manage your exposed hairline transitions, and secondly how to manage your tan lines, which will also be in jeopardy.

Manscaping is a reality. It’s a thing. Women have been doing it for ages, although they didn’t feel the need to invent a word to make it sound less embarrassing. I think Dr Evil started it for men, when he talked about how breathtaking a shorn scrotum is. And as Cyclists, we already shave our legs, so all we’re doing is wondering how high up to stop. But unless your name is Chris Cornell, you should probably stop shy of your chest, which means you have some kind of transition zone to contend with between hairy and non-hairy body parts. 

The most common and shocking choice most men make is to stop shaving immediately above the short line. This is a condition we refer to as ‘Wookiee Shorts’. Very bad. My recommendation is that you shave to the top of your legs, at least, where the hair should be thinner unless you’re one chromosome closer to our banana-peeling brethren than the rest of us. At this point you have a choice: use this natural transition to blend the hairy and non-hairy bits of your body, or just grab the razor and commit. Don’t stop until you hit your eyebrows. But stop there. No eyebrows is very weird. 

The second issue, the one pertaining to your tan lines, is one managed through the application of what I call the Exposure Offset Principle. This principle says that every hour spent with skin outside the typical Cyclist Tan Line Zones exposed needs to be offset by an equal amount of time spent on the bike in similarly sunny conditions, offsetting the tan in order to maintain the same relative tan contrast between torso and appendage. Bon voyage.

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