Monday, May 25, 2009

Thonging V Social Hypocrisy... Once again

On this blog, I have oftentimes written in defense of thonging for both men and women and have been quite outspoken in saying that yes, I do like to see a confident, good-looking man in a thong. I have also said (and, at the very least, tried to back up my words) that I don't think thonging can be justifiably associated with promiscuity or homosexuality.

Here in Greece, I have a friend nicknamed "The Heretic". He's the one who told me, years ago, that I should actually gather the nerve to wear a thong on the beach. He's actually the one who got me my first thong; it was a white Alphamoda "Sifnos" with black tie-side straps and a "triangle" back, accompanied by a matching Alphamoda "Naxos" top. I still have that set, nearly 7 years later, and am planning to take it out on the beach once again this summer. So yes, I owe my thonging to him and I'm glad I have a friend intelligent, mature and secure enough to encourage me to wear thongs and help me find the confidence I needed to get others to accept and respect my choice.

I did notice that, this April, he had also written an article on thonging and human hypocrisy and insecurity. For those of you who can read and understand Greek (and, even better, are familiar with modern Greek history and Greek pop culture references), here it is. He made a few very valid points and there are many similarities in our views. Then, I decided to take the stand and talk about the hypocritical "thongs are gay" and "thongs are for sluts" attitude. I'm going to revisit this one; this time, though, I'm going to talk about how things are here in Greece. In various internet forums and online communities, Greece is presented as a thonger's paradise. Indeed, we don't have any specific legislation against thonging. There is, sadly, an outdated law that prohibits girls older than 9 years of age to go topless, but no one bothers to enforce it, because Greece lives from tourism and common sense prevails when it comes to such matters. Actually, the only beach where toplessness is explicitly prohibited is the one of the village Loutro in the Cretan south.

So, is Greece the place for someone to go topless or in a thong or in a microkini? Yes and no. First of all, if you're a foreigner visiting Greece, no one will tell you a thing here, regardless of what you wear on the beach, although I'm not sure wearing a "straps only" microkini like "The String" from Double Take or the similar designs from Dubio Bikinis, Wicked Temptations, Alphamoda, The-Bikini and others. Likewise, for the men, I highly doubt anyone will appreciate an overt display of someone's erection in some of the most extreme suits from Dubio, Tendenze or Koala. But ordinary thongs and g-strings usually don't even cause any eyebrows to be raised, unless the wearer is VERY good-looking or VERY ugly.

This, however, begs the question:

Since Greece is, obviously, a thonger's paradise, why is it that Greeks don't thong on the beach?

The answer is twofold and it has much to do with my previous article:

  • There's an awful lot of hypocrisy, prejudice and gossip going on in Greece ("thonging is gay"/"thonging is the sign of the slut")
  • People are scared to death of others' gossip
Sure enough, a few days after I posted my previous article, I received two comments from a Greek user for moderation. This Greek user is part of the writing team of a ridiculous blog that only posts spiteful comments full of expletives. That moron went as far as to call me a fascist. Unfortunately, the Greek society is terribly immature and full of petty gossip-mongers who won't hesitate to start talking trash behind your back if you don't fit what they want you to fit. It has everything to do with the "morals" taught to us ever since we were kids. We've been taught all those ridiculous notions of "morality" about how showing our body is a sin, how our body IS sinful, dirty, horrible, disgusting etc. These things have been ingrained in people's minds - men's minds and women's minds.

I know many women who look fantastic, yet they don't show any "pink", because they are ashamed. They are not ashamed of their appearance, but their very feminine nature - and, when talking to them, the conclusion we all reached was that a bashful upbringing (combined with the poison named religion) played an incredibly large part in all this.

And even worse, we have the gossip-mongers. Gossip here, gossip there, gossip left, right and center. "Oh, did you see Mary? What a slut! She wore a thong on the beach yesterday! The whore's trying to steal our men!". And as for men... The poor chaps don't stand a chance. The very moment they'll show up on the beach in a thong, they'll be labeled as "fruitcakes", "pansies", "doorknob-polishers", "fags" etc.

So, even if there's no law here that prohibits thonging, there's all this pressure from a crowd plagued with the diseases of ignorance, hate, jealousy and hypocrisy - Does this sound enough to deter most people from going to the beach in a thong? So, you won't easily see Greeks wearing thongs to their nearby beaches, with the following two exceptions:
  • Those living in Athens or Thessaloniki. These cities are large enough to ensure that you won't easily run into someone you know on a nearby beach.
  • When someone goes on vacation on an island away from his usual social circle.
To show just how powerful this complex of gossip and hypocrisy is, I'll have to tell you that almost none of my friends go topless on the beach. They're too scared of what other people will say - their neighbors, their neighbors' neighbors, their neighbors' neighbors' friends, etc. Add to this some ridiculous comments I've read in fashion magazines about how thongs are "slutty" and a "must avoid" kind of swimwear...

Then again, maybe some companies actually exploit the negative connotations and promote them in order to appeal to a niche clientele? I've looked at Koala Swimwear's website (for example) in the past and the way it conducts its marketing does absolutely nothing to dissolve the anti-thong myths; what's really appalling is the fact that, although everyone knows it, no one seems to be willing to step up to the plate and say that this kind of marketing (i.e. promoting a range of swimwear strictly as clothing for homosexual play) doesn't help make thongs more socially acceptable. And I've been told by "oldtimers" in the related forums that there was a time when you couldn't even voice such a concern without risking being flamed even by forum moderators and administrators.

It seems to me that we have our work cut out for us, if we're going to try and make thongs appeal to a wider audience... At least, the owner of the Thong Wearers Message Board does his best. Some others... Not.

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