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Sunday Reads: The Last Wet T-Shirt Contest, a History of the Swim-up Bar and MEL’s Gigantic Summer Package

I think my boo and I travel pretty well together: He understands that I’m going to require a nap and a beer at some point on our journey, and I understand that he is going to eat three breakfasts each day and roll a joint before we leave the hotel. Our different needs, styles, and interests end up meshing together quite nicely. Unfortunately, our travel-habit cohesiveness is not universal. Even though a person’s relationship may be all hunky-dory back home, a journey to a foreign land often reveals that some folks just aren’t made for each other. Travel incompatibilities don’t always have to mark the end of a relationship, though, and Isabelle Kohn’s piece on managing different travel styles is certainly something to keep in mind if you and your new hottie are going to be skipping town this Fourth of July. 

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Dispatches From One Of The Last Wet T-Shirt Contests In America
You wouldn’t think it would be so difficult to find a wet T-shirt contest in June, but the ever-intrepid C. Brian Smith could only find one, located at a no-frills, small-town tavern in rural Oregon. Though the classic softcore competition is dwindling in numbers in the #MeToo era, the ones that are still around continue to provide a fascinating look into a bygone culture. READ MORE

More From the Week In Features

Napa For Weed

California is a hotspot for both wine and weed: Both are legal and both are produced with a discerning connoisseur in mind. But while you can happily take a tour of a vineyard and drink to your heart’s content, you can’t yet visit a cannabis operation and smoke the various varietals of bud growing all around you, thanks to the lack of state laws sanctioning the practice. Nevertheless, Tierney Finster went up to the Emerald Triangle to explore what canna-tourism currently looks like, and what the people in the industry hope for it to be. 

The Swim-Up Bar: A Good, Bad Idea

In theory, the swim-up bar is an incredible concept. Drunk in a pool? Sign me up! But when you think about it a bit longer, the logic goes down the drain — quite literally. After all, alcohol is a diuretic, and thus, makes you pee. And since it’s pretty easy to get away with peeing in a pool, it stands to reason that the area around a swim-up bar is probably a toilet. So how did swim-up bars become practically a required resort feature? Blame 9/11.

An Oral History of the Super Soaker

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Super Soaker, the ubiquitous squirt gun that continues to be one of the best summertime toys on the market. Its creation was a fluke — the accidental byproduct of an attempt by NASA scientist Lonnie Johnson to create a new refrigeration cooling system. But besides being a badass toy, the legacy of Lonnie Johnson and the Super Soaker live on in all sorts of surprising ways, from at-home tinkerers to neighborhood gun control movements.

The Bro-iest Sunglasses Of All Time

Back in the 1980s, Oakley Sunglasses were designed for extreme sports athletes. It wasn’t long, though, before the famed paint-splash wraparounds grew too big for their niche roots and became “it” accessories that every Tom, Dick and Harry had to have. That evolution was the result of some careful marketing campaigns, but in the end, the brand fell back to earth almost as quickly as it had become a phenomenon. Andrew Fiouzi spoke to those intimately involved in the brand’s meteoric rise, and its eventual decline into douche-dom.

The Aftermath of the ‘Endgame’ Marathon

When Avengers: Endgame first came out, AMC Theaters offered a chance for fans to enjoy something really cool: A 59-hour Marvel Cinematic Universe marathon, culminating in the final chapter of Avengers. Of course, we sent Brian VanHooker, and he documented what an exhausting, gross experience the whole ordeal was. In honor of the re-release of Endgame this week, VanHooker took us back to the fateful hours after his movie-marathon ordeal, when the real WTF stuff happened.

Devon Sawa’s Peen Scene

If you were a teen girl in the 90s, there’s a solid chance that your first peak at a peen was all thanks to the 1995 coming-of-age classic Now and Then. In a brief, blink-or-you’ll-miss-it moment, when Tiger Beat cover-boy and Now and Then co-star Devon Sawa is running with nothing but a towel, legend has it that if you pause the VHS at just the right time, you just might see his package. That scene turned into a formative moment for many millennial women in a film that helped define their youth.

All Our Best Travel Advice In Exactly 100 Words

If you’re angling for upgrades this summer, bad news: Dressing up to fly won’t help. Once you’re at your destination, designate at least one day to not do anything at all, really. Remember, all-inclusives are only worth it if you’re gonna booze, and if you’re there to relax, leave your phone in the hotel room. To fend off hangovers, go to bed before midnight. When you get home, pick up these ingredients to get rid of the inevitable tan lines you’ll develop. Above all, avoid the post-vacation blues by actually decompressing — and, by having your next trip already planned. 

Summer Beach Reads

  • Wild and Crazy Guys: Patrick J. Sauer spoke to author Nick de Semlyen about the tragedy of John Candy, the future of funny movies and more from de Semlyen’s book about the biggest comedy stars from the 1980s.
  • The Last Job: In 2015, a group of British pensioners nearly pulled off the heist of the century. Tim Grierson talked to author Tim Bilefsky about how these grandpas almost got away with it.
  • Three Women: Over the last decade, Lisa Taddeo has been immersing herself in women’s sex lives, covering their affairs, their private kinks, and their experiences with abuse. Joanna Scutts interviewed Taddeo about the book’s intense methodology.
  • Dr. Seuss has been an early figure in the lives of millions of children. But who was Theodor Seuss Geidel? Brian Jay Jones explores the enduring legacy of the nearly-mythological man, and how this legacy reads in the contemporary era.

But Don’t Just Take Our Word For It