In Hong Kong, 90% of men wear Speedo style trunks, usually blue, with about 4" sides.
Last year as part of an overall style change, I decided to start wearing less all around. At the very end of the swimming season I bought a very tight black pair of Hom swim trunks, with less than 1" sides. I couldn't wait to try them out, but really didn't have the chance to wear them. I finally tried them in October for a very short trip to the beach.
My God was it comfortable. No longer did I have to worry about air pockets and clinging and my skinny legs poking out of baggy shorts. I had a new confidence, and I just felt like I was made for swimming and sunning at the beach. And I really felt like I looked way better! I felt sexy and confident.
Now I'm a total convert. I will never wear shorts (and especially not baggy board shorts that seem to be getting longer and longer in style in the US -- pretty soon guys will be wearing full length trousers!) to the pool or to the beach again. Even if I return to the US, where some irrational fear of being perceived as gay dictates what men wear, rather than what looks good or functions well.
I know 95% of women and 99% of straight men in the US think wearing Speedos is "disgusting". It's your loss. I used to hate going to the beach and now I can't wait. I like the comfort and I really do look way better. I'm finally confident.
This is just another example of how the US is trailing the rest of the world because of a conservative mindset. The US and the UK are probably the only countries in the world where Speedos are not favored (as well as the homophobic Caribbean).
So what does everyone wear to the beach? Would you ever wear a Speedo? How about swimming laps? Surely guys who swim laps know that wearing shorts would be a ridiculous concept. In school we all have to wear Speedos because they're more functional. So why the change to ugly and inappropriate board shorts as we get older?
(By the way, the above is just half of my swimwear story.)