Right. Consider this a fair warning: what follows is not likely to be edifying. If I tell you that I'm about to start this post proper with the phrase "I'm not a dirty old man, but.....", then you've probably got an idea of where I'm going. If you read this, I fear that there is a very real chance that you are going to come out of this not only thinking slightly less of me, but that you might also feel a little bit soiled yourself. I respect you, dear reader, and I very much value your good opinion. If you're of a slightly delicate disposition, then I beg you - I beg you - to please look away now.
Still here? Well, you've only got yourself to blame.
I'm not a dirty old man, but this evening at the pool my better nature was sorely tested. There I was, minding my own business as I slogged my way though my usual 50 lengths. I went on some hill interval training with running club last night, and made a last minute decision to do a fourth lap after all, taking my total run up to something upwards of five-and-a-half miles... a decision that my aching muscles have been ruing more or less ever since.
About half way through, I swapped lanes as the pool got quieter and I had an opportunity of a lane to myself. As I swam my first length in my new lane, I noticed the girl swimming in the lane that was now next to me. It wasn't particularly that she was a girl of the female persuasion that caught my eye, especially. Swimming is a form of exercise with few distractions, after all, so my mind tends to wander and take in all kinds of things around me. Of either gender. Anyway. As she swam past me, I couldn't help but notice two things: firstly that this girl was fairly skinny, with the kind of belly that curved inwards as she pulled her way through the water and secondly that she was wearing bikini bottoms that were slightly too loose.
.... can you see where I'm going with this yet?
I tried not to look, I swear. I really did. But every time we passed each other in the pool, my eyes were drawn across under the water, as if by magic. It was mesmerising. I didn't actually see anything, but that isn't really the point. I like to think I'm not a letch, but it's a little bit like when ladies wear a pendant on a long chain on their chest, and it's like a bloody fascinator, catching the eye and drawing it inexorably towards the cleavage. Give us a bloody chance, for goodness sake! It's like dangling a piece of string in front of a kitten: what do you think is going to happen?
To be perfectly honest, I wasn't particularly distressed by this swimmer. After all, there are worse things to occupy the mind when you're swimming, and it definitely wasn't as bad as the time I was swimming behind a middle-aged lady in a slightly-too-tight and definitely-too-transparent turquoise swimming costume. She was doing the breaststroke too.
This evening's spell was slightly broken when a tubby, bald middle-aged man got into the same lane as this girl and my attention wandered somewhat as I sought not to glance too closely as he swam by. At that point too, I realised that I too have a stomach that curves inwards and a pair of swimming trunks that are probably slightly too loose.
....maybe I was displaying a little fascinator all of my own?
The mind boggles. I got out of the pool soon afterwards, leaving the other swimmers to get their cheap thrills elsewhere.
Still here? Slightly uncomfortable mental image lingering? Well, I did warn you that this wasn't going to be edifying.