I play indoor beach volleyball, in a four-aside competition…

…and I do it on MY terms! No busting a gut to revive shades of Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer in ‘Top Gun’ down on the beach, (I couldn’t if I wanted to – my body simply isn’t the required shape) just good clean fun in the sand; no pressure – no distractions. Simply an enjoyable couple of nights out – working up a sweat and taking it easy.

That’s if you don’t count that multi-coloured stretch fabric hanky – tailored to ‘look’ like a volleyball top – that rather buxom young lady wears on the opposite team that is. Not to mention the accompanying shorts, of which I’m sure can only be bought in the Barbie aisle in ‘Toys R Us’ or stolen from Sporty Barbie at a recent ‘K Mart’ ‘fashion’ shoot of some sort. There’s simply no ROOM for stray beach sand in those shorts, let alone bloody underwear – ‘spray on’ items of clothing must be damned inconvenient at times, but I’d be willing to bet there’d still room for a compact bloody mobile phone in there somewhere. Like the Tardis – Doctor Who on a whole new level… man, the concept simply frightens me.

And don’t think it’s only the blokes who get their eyeballs assaulted in such a manner. As a mate of mine was prone to comment filling in for another team after our game. The bloke he played against had a body chiselled out of granite – brick shit-houses would have secretly turned green with envy – and the Toyota Hilux advertisements on telly would have an increasingly new bar to aim for. Add to this the whole – got my shirt off and shining with ‘perspiration’ look – and, well… there are some young (and not so young) ladies (and men) out there that’d have a puddle of drool to clean up directly – such was the build of this bloke. It’s meant to be just a game I hear some of you say… Ha! Such is the naivety of the ‘young’ and obviously BLIND people amongst you. It’s a whole new ‘look at me, look at me’ world, and sadly – I have succumbed.

My choice of wear during these games is a rather LOUD, square cut cotton shirt, that looks like a summer kaftan, just much shorter (oh how risque!). It’s not allowed in my cupboard at home unless it has you squinting in the dark, and it can’t be brought before my before my quality control body (the XO) unless it has at least three colours fighting for space on it. They’re cotton, they’re roomy, they blind the opposition (or simply have them gagging at my obvious lack of taste), and – as it’s print design is the same back and front – no-ones really sure which direction I’m facing. My shirt’s are a lethal WEAPON against the Forces of Evil found in the social sports scene. Besides – I bought most of ’em in Thailand for only four or five bucks a go… you just can’t get quality like that here in Australia.

Sure okay… I’ve been accused of having no taste. If fashion had a geographical equivalent, I’d be getting called the Sahara Desert – pure and simple. In fact I’ve been accused of fashion insurgency, whereby my shirts seem to magically appear in bold fashion circles; such as the local bowls club, and the like where fashion stakes are set in – heaven forbid it – Club Policy. Where once my shirts could only be seen in amongst artists and their cohort – it appears now my shirts have the tenacity of single cell organisms – the ultimate fashion amoeba – able to use it’s powers of mitosis with unconscionably, devastating affect. How else can you describe the pattern of Loud Shirts that suddenly seems to materialise in my wake?

It comes of having no physical features I can take advantage of. I’ve been told that I have no arse – just a crack in my lower back (charming eh… my mate who shared this with me one late night – nearly choked on her beer, and I sure wasn’t rushing to rescue her at the time!)… so taking advantage of such clothes that would draw attention to this area, would be an unmitigating offence. Six packs belong in the fridge I feel, so I’ve never really developed a keen sense to rush out and develop one of those, when all you have to do is visit your local bottle shop to achieve that aim. Sort of undoes the whole concept really, and besides – I’m an out and out lazy bugger at the best of times. Shoulders… well – obviously I’ve got those – I’d really struggle with typing if that wasn’t the case as my arms appear to be connected rather firmly to my body, and hell – anything else that could possibly be considered to be in league with Adonis – never REALLY came my way.

All I have are my loud shirts. But don’t discount them. They have been for me the most ultimate form of camouflage I have ever utilised. Believe me, camouflage and it’s principles are something I have some idea about… the Army teaches you some interesting lessons if you’ve a mind, and one of these was the art of camouflage. In my shirts I have managed to survive my gig as a youth worker working with street gangs, and chasing kids all over particular suburbs of Perth. I was never considered a threat dressed this way – never by the kids I worked with, and in fact – it allowed me to get just that one step closer to them, helping me do my job better and offering these fellas a better service. These ‘kids’ – now adults – still stop and say hello, and remind me of my shirts. They smile and laugh, and I’m glad because they’re alive.

Parent’s felt less threatened if a colourful clown turned up at the door to find out if they knew where their kids were. If I’d have dressed in a shirt and tie, or a suit – do you think those parents would have been more inclined to open up their doors to me and invite me into their lives? Bugger off… it was a hell of a lot less confronting telling your story to a man with no clothing taste to speak of, then it was being confronted by a department social worker in WORK clothes. Those parents also stop me today – and remind me of my shirts. It’s amazing what stick with people – in their minds. My shirts have done for me things, that no amount of university training could EVER achieve. They have broken down more barriers then I can count, and done so with not one bruised ego, dented pride or blackened eye. Simple things work the best – and so do my shirts.

Our clothes tell us amazing things about ourselves. I won’t go into it, I don’t believe I need too. I play volleyball twice each week, and watch people go about this business of socialising. I watch them flirt, compete, fend off, put down – you name it, they do it, and all it requires is their clothes. By dressing ourselves up or down, we hide ourselves – amazingly well. Some of us use distraction agents (i.e. Me!), some of us highlight certain points, some of us leave others wondering – it does no good to give EVERYTHING away you know.

Some of us simply keep others laughing, like the young ‘Godlette’ I originally started describing, outdoing brick shit-houses at their own game… he unfortunately had a huge fall in my minds eye. My mate made one simple comment: “He had that much sand sticking to his body, he looked like a crumbed chicken drumstick, all set to be deep fried!” When I saw him playing Volleyball the other week, he did too. I laughed… all I could see was this ‘chooks leg’ bolting, spiking and diving around the volleyball court. With that one image, my mate had killed the vision for me – I nearly sniggered – missed the serve that came blasting my way, and cost our team the point. I shrugged it off in my loud shirt and got back into it – you see, I had a more important game to play.


About Belongum

People bring 'things' to me. Not necessarily PHYSICAL things as such - mostly just the loose bits and pieces floating around in their 'brain-box'. Sometimes, they also bring themselves - and THAT isn't anywhere near as simple as it sounds. I come here to pass some of this 'brain-box business' on to the ether world, and to empty my head. Besides folks - I love a good yarn - so come and join me!
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3 Responses to I play indoor beach volleyball, in a four-aside competition…

  1. Callisto says:

    ’bout time, er, what I meant was, how nice to read a post by you B. This is brilliant, I love the phrase “the ultimate fashion amoeba”. You are the antithesis of my ‘Bird of Paradise’ brother, which is great, just look how happy he is at the moment!


  2. Kim says:

    That’s such a crackup! No pun intended! Sometimes you have young men walking around the streets of Sydney with their shirts off – like they’re God’s gift – and I just think:

    “Put the damn shirt back on!”

    I don’t care if you’re playing sport or too hot. It’s just bad manners to be showing that much flesh. And I don’t like the massively pumped body either. Fit is nice, stallion is not!

    And I think many women think along the same lines. It’s almost too vain of a man to be that into himself.

    At the hens night I went to, the strippers looked like spay-tanned, oiled drumsticks. Yetch!


  3. Ian says:

    I’m with you on the shirts – louder = better. Bit sad tho’, ya can’t get those great Mambo loud shirts anymore; apparently there was too many blokes like you and me wearin’ ’em so they just weren’t “kewl” with the target market anymore :-)) If ya win the lottery, they make them in the US now, but they’ve haven’t got those iconic Aussie images anymore – they’re sorta loud – but in a McStandardized sorta way 😦 See ya.


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