Laguna’s summer is finally here. Labor Day’s pancakes signal the end of our visitor-clogged visitor season. The scent of oil of tourista no longer wafts in the breeze. The beach population is back to its core of regulars and locals. If you are a smart traveler, this is the start of the best season to visit Laguna.
Every summer’s onslaught seems a little bit worse, with each off-season’s respite somewhat shorter and a little less quiet. Some locals have resorted to unique methods to insure their personal space during the tourist invasion of Laguna’s beaches.
There’s the tried but true circle of severed doll heads on wooden stakes around your chair and umbrella. Affected sinister muttering enhances the effect of this. The keening of small children, lamenting the departed, can be a distraction.
But the very best personal space preserver in use on Laguna’s shores is the wearing of rokushaku fundoshi. This traditional loincloth is still worn at aquatic celebrations and cultural events in Japan. It serves as both underwear and swimwear.
Rokushaku fundoshi consists of a thin cotton voile cloth about 6 inches wide and 6 feet long which is folded into shape and twisted closed at the back. This hand twisted garment leaves the wearers buns exposed. Like a male thong. It requires great care in wearing. There are specific techniques on how to wear it properly. Things can go wrong, or at least look like they may.
Imagine a fat old white guy, on the beach below the Montage, dressed up as a sumo wrestler, and you’ve got the picture. This is an absolute brilliant solution to Laguna’s crowded sands problem. Who wants to sit close to somebody dressed in a sumo wrestler’s loincloth? No one with children, that’s for sure.
The wearing of this garment in Laguna was some time in the making. Earlier efforts have included the Bun Hugger and Banana Hammock. While they were a step in the right direction, they lacked the organic authenticity of fundoshi. It’s time to take the loincloth movement to the next level.
Imagine the impact on our visitor hoards that a “Rokushaku Fundoshi Day” would have. It could feature a crowd of loincloth wearers at main beach. There could be a contest with prizes in for biggest package, tightest wrap and best buns. There would be aquatic events that place the garment in its traditional context.
There is an opportunity on almost all of our beaches for adventurous folks, such as yourself, to become fundoshi ambassadors. The author might even be wearing one in his byline photo.
J.J. Gasparotti moved to Laguna Beach with his family when he was 11 years old. He has loved it ever since.