The boss at Wraysbury Lake, a UK inland dive site near London, reports that, on hearing that he knows me, many visitors to ask him if I’m gay. It’s something to do with the way I look in pictures in Britain’s Diver Magazine but the numerous women in my life would take issue with that. Richard tells these people that I’m not gay but that I’ve got a sense of humour. Maybe it’s my style. Of course style comes in different types, both good and bad.
The British Sunday Times newspaper devotes a whole supplement to ‘Style’. Many sports and activities can allow you to be seen as stylish. Golf, tennis, skiing, surfing; all these activities attract people who not only want to be good at what they do, they want to look good while they’re doing it too, although, obviously, none of you have seen the way I do these things.
Diving is different. Surfacing with a yard of snot hanging from your mask and your mascara run (OK, not all of us go in for mascara) is not conducive to a stylish look but we could always start as we meant to go on. The problem is that we strap diving equipment to our selves and chuck our bodies into an inhospitable environment. You’ve probably never seen a stylish-looking astronaut in their working clothes either.
On seeing a picture of me in the Fusion drysuit, Bret Gilliam, never short of an opinion, offered that he thought I looked like a cross between Mick Fleetwood and the Terminator. Now that’s a scary thought, but I suppose it’s a style of some kind. It’s not flying though. Like Buzz Lightyear, it’s falling with style.
The question is whether the diving equipment you choose imparts a certain style or if it is something within you that cannot be easily defined. Some people think you can buy style by buying the most expensive things but a Porsche in dusty turquoise is certainly less stylish than a clean and shiny black Golf. A 250lb body in a membrane drysuit will never look good unless you happen to be two metres tall.
I know of a very stylish lady who doesn’t balk at buying her clothes in budget stores while at the same time Knightsbridge and Sloane Square in London are filled with women with access to the most expensive things, but somehow don’t get it right.
This month I reviewed in Diver Magazine two drysuits bearing the same brand but with very different price tags. One was three times as expensive as the other. Does one impart more style to the wearer than the other? I, for one, would contend that there is nothing more stylish than coming back from a dive having had a great experience and in good health. It’s telling that the British Sunday Times newspaper has an entirely separate supplement for ‘Culture’.