TITLE: Clothes Encounters - Here
ends yet another summer with no
love for the Wetlook at public
Author: Joe Miller
Article Published Aug 31, 2000
Other URLS reffered to in article:
http://communities.msn.com/DressyDippingDressingUpToGoSwimming (currenly defunct)
When Doug was a teenager in the 1960s, he spotted a TV commercial that
would have a lasting effect on him. It was a car ad, and in it a
young, fully clothed woman
toppled from a raft into a lake. She popped to the surface --
hair slicked back, wet
clothes clinging to her body -- and squealed: "It's a Dodge
revolution!" At 48, Doug looks back
on the ad and
thinks, "Hey! She could have just as easily said, 'It's a Wetlook
Now Doug wants to start a Wetlook revolution in Kansas City. Wetlook is
as simple as it sounds: Get dressed up and dive in, preferably in
public. It's fun,
it's liberating, and the sloppy wet clothes feels groovy against your
skin, says Doug (who
wouldn't let PitchWeekly print his last name because he fears that his
might think badly of him). Innocent as it sounds, Doug faces
challenges. There isn't a
single public pool in the Kansas City area that allows Wetlook. And
it's hard to find others who
share his passion.
After the Dodge campaign came the carefree days of the '70s and all
those Nestea ads: dressed-up models taking a sip and falling
spread-eagle into a pool. By the time the '80s rolled around, Doug was
ready to join the fun. He started slowly, venturing into the backyard
pool fully clothed. Then, on a trip to Oregon, he took his own
big plunge. He waltzed into the ocean wearing a shirt and
trousers from a three-piece suit. Since then, Wetlook has been
his ongoing avocation. Almost every summer weekend he ventures
into a public lake, fountain, or park, such as Oceans of Fun, wearing
one of three secondhand outfits: a three-piece plaid number ("Not a
loud plaid -- sort of greenish-brown, subtle plaid"); a two-piece
seersucker; and a custom job with a sailor-style collar and stripes
("When I wore that at Oceans of Fun, some women started singing the
Popeye song"). Now he can't walk past a tuxedo shop without
thinking, "Hey, look at all the swimwear!"
Doug thought he was unique until he hopped on the Internet one day and
found dozens of sites devoted to Wetlook. "I found out I wasn't
alone," he says. "I figured if I put up my own site, where only people
interested in Wetlook will go, it would be cool because there would be
a connection where people in Kansas City who like Wetlook can get
together." The results are at communities.msn.com/Dressy
DippingDressingUpToGoSwimming. There, visitors find photos of
Doug on his various ventures, a message board, and a little song Doug
composed, sung to "Winter Wonderland":
enjoy the feeling of wet clothing!
Feel your wet clothes clinging to
In the water, clothes give me a
It makes me fall dancing and singing!
So far, only one person has posted a response, an older guy with the
e-moniker BillH who posted a detailed description of his clothed
showers. "I step into the shower and direct the spray
downward," BillH writes, "so only my shoes and pants cuffs get
wet. I like to prolong the wetting of the shirt for last. I
slowly move forward and can feel the water soaking through my pants
until I am wet up to my waist. I extend my arms, getting the sleeves
and cuffs wet. I enjoy seeing the water dripping from the stiffly
starched cuffs. Then I get just the bottom portion of the shirt wet, up
to about my chest. I like to look in the mirror, where I can observe
the wet, transparent portion of the shirt plastered against my body,
and the upper portion is still neat, dry, smooth, and stiff with
starch. I love to see the contrast between wet and dry." As proof,
BillH included a picture of himself post-dousing, sporting a slick blue
tie and his nipples shining through his wet, white shirt.
Doug insists his site isn't pornographic, nor is it a haven for gay
fetishes: "All this is about is getting wet with clothes on. Period. "
It's just good, clean fun, he says, and he ought to be able to do it
anywhere he wants to. He's definitely tried. Doug has shown up in
a suit at just about every municipal pool in Johnson County and even a
few on the Missouri
side. But everywhere he's gone he's been shunned.
Area parks officials say it's a hygiene issue. "It's hard enough
keeping the pools' chemical and filtration systems clean," says Bill
Nicks, director of parks and recreation for Lenexa. "You just don't
need to cause yourself more hair loss worrying about problems caused by
clothes that you don't know where they've been."
Doug scoffs at this. "If I managed a pool, I wouldn't want somebody in
greasy coveralls in the water," he says. "However, the cleanliness of
the clothing should, it seems to me, be very apparent." But there's not
much he can do. He once sent an e-mail to officials in Olathe who were
drafting plans for a revamped water park -- "If you make improvements to
the pool, then let people have some fun and swim in something other
than bathing suits" -- but got no response.
So Doug must haunt such places as the fountain at Crown Center, where
he appeared on a recent 100-degree Saturday in sandals and his
seersucker suit. He strolled proudly through the mist and columns of
dancing water and spread his arms as if in resurrection.
"What's up with that guy?" asked a woman standing nearby.
He likes to get wet with his clothes on.
"Oh," she said. "Doesn't everybody?"