Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

No Ifs or Butts; after a Country Health Club Banned a Male Guest for Wearing a Thong, Tom Otley Tried It out at London's Spas and Lidos

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

No Ifs or Butts; after a Country Health Club Banned a Male Guest for Wearing a Thong, Tom Otley Tried It out at London's Spas and Lidos

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM OTLEY

IT was an odd accusation, and it cost a great deal of money. When the management at a smart country-house hotel wrongly accused a member of its health club of parading around the reception area in a thong, he was livid.

"They made it sound as if I was a lap dancer," said Neville Green. "Just by looking at the size of me, anyone could see I couldn't wear anything like that."

Mr Green is clearly a sensible, respectable man who would never dream of wearing such ridiculous underwear. The hotel admitted as much, and has paid him [pound]1,840 for its mistake banning him from the club for two weeks.

I am not quite so sensible or respectable, for, after a lifetime of Bermudas and boxers, I have just been out and about in a thong to see how acceptable they are.

The first task was finding somewhere that would sell me one. Not as easy as you might think. Discreet enquiries at local high-street stores ("Deborah, there's a fella here wants a G-string") drew a blank, and even Harvey Nicks failed to provide pouches. In the end, I had to settle on a black number - a cotton-rayon-elastic mix, [pound]12.95, since you ask - by Hom and hope no one noticed it wasn't strictly for the pool.

As it was, I needn't have worried. Camden Oasis in Holborn seemed the perfect place to parade: two swimming pools, a sundeck and dozens of beautiful men and women working out their bodies and checking out anyone doing the same. I'd been warned by a (female) friend that thongs take a little getting used to. She was right. They are quite disconcerting. There's something going on round the back that probably doesn't bear too much close attention.

I took a deep breath, which seemed to help, and walked out to the pool.

Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the water. As distracted swimmers swerved in their lanes, an attendant moved quickly to head me off. No swimming in thongs, I was told.

Poolside was out of bounds -"there are children here". …

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