What Explains Indian Men’s Lasting Love Affair with Underwear at the Beach?

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What Explains Indian Men’s Lasting Love Affair with Underwear at the Beach?

Illustration: Akshita Monga

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here are three things you are guaranteed to see at every Indian beach: beautiful, swaying palm trees, a distressing amount of bottles and assorted litter, and troops of (usually drunk) men clad in their tightest chaddis. The Indian male overwhelmingly prefers underwear over swimwear at the beach, as any internet listicle of annoying things Indians do in Goa can confirm.

Lest this be dismissed as shallow fashion policing of simple sons of the soil, a likely first reaction in a society where the humble background card rationalises everything from etiquette breaches to hate crimes, let us remind ourselves that the culprits have enough in their wallets to vacation (and imbibe, another top Goa annoyance), and decent swimwear isn’t unreasonably priced. Sports goods retailer Decathlon offers men’s swimwear for as low as 299, a fraction of the average per capita domestic tourist expenditure in Goa ( 31,500). With the modern Indian male in even Tier II and III towns displaying a sizeable appetite for apparel and grooming products, fashion literacy may not be the issue either.     

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