I am in such a debacle of desperation to find a bathing suit that I am left with just one thing to say,
Swimsuits are the spawn of Satan.
There. I said it.
I know. I know. I am late to the whole swimsuit shopping process. It is mid-June in North Carolina and I should have already secured a suit by now.
And, sure. I have suits from last year, but things have a tendency to change in a year. Don’t they?
Especially when you are approaching mid-forty. I heard the warnings of those who marched through their forties before me. I did not listen that well.
Now I know. They are right.
You cannot eat like you used to. You cannot drink like you used to. I am still eating like I used too. I am still drinking like I used to.
My burritos clad in guacamole and sour cream paired perfectly with a margarita on the rocks are sticking to my bones a little more than they did last year.
And now the monokini is back?! Lawd!
Unless you have the confidence of a Mylie Cyrus, or you are a professional swim suit model, a teenager, a man, or a little girl clad in a bathing suit complete with a unicorn sliding down a rainbow – swimsuits are the spawn of Satan.
There is little joy and much suffering in the shopping process to procure a suit that is the right fit.
I have tried on 497 swim suits this season, so I am fully qualified to make this proclamation. Plus, I am certain I lost a cup size pulling on and off bikinis, tankinis, bandeaus and whatever else. I think I lamented here about joining a nudist colony just so I wouldn’t have to do laundry. Forget about the laundry!
Swimsuits are the only reason I need!
You know what they should have in the swim suit section? A margarita machine. And Neosporin and Band-Aids for the abrasions from the lycra and underwire.
I was at the pool the other day and a dad sauntered in. He removed his shirt and stood there confident and unaware, as if he was just cast for the roll of David Hasselhoff in the new Baywatch.
The dad bod. Proud. Unaware. Uncaring.
Meanwhile, I’m over there on a pool lounger in my swim cover beaming with pride over my skinny ankles and wondering if the roll above the top of my bikini bottom is visible through my swim cover. Swim cover-ups. God bless them.
In the midst trying on those 497 swimsuits, my brother happened to text me. I thought it only fitting that I should tell him, since he is family after all, that I was falling into a dark depression at the hand of poorly patterned lycra. I believe this was right after I reattached a breast that was ripped off by a tankini top.
My brother is 50. He scoffed, that is if one can scoff over text, that I should just buy the one I like.
Bah! Easy for him to say.
Although, this was one of my finalists:
But then I remembered I wasn’t going to be laying around in any mosquito-infested mud puddles on a grassy bank anytime soon, so I put it back on the rack. 😉
Why in the world is it so difficult to find a bathing suit and who exactly am I donning the suit for? Oh. That’s right.
The other women!
I know I am not alone in this. One, because two friends and I discussed our similar sentiment and two, this article references a real study proving women often dress to impress other women.
So, there you have it. It must be true. 😉
Despite all of this swim suit pain and suffering at the hand of Satan, might I add: I should really feel encouraged. Because I actually don’t really care what my swimsuit peers look like. So surely most of them feel the same way as well?
Let me be clear though. I do not care, but I am curious. Look. I am only being honest. I’m kind of curious.
If you see me at the pool this summer, I promise I won’t stare at you ;-). Of course……you will never know for sure because you won’t be able to see me for the hat, sunglasses, swim cover-up, towel and umbrella.
You will just have to look for my ankles. 😉
All joking aside. I feel pretty fortunate to have the opportunity to choose whether I wish to expose my mid-section, my arms, my neck, my legs, my skin… as there are many places on our beautiful planet where women do not have that choice. And not that long ago, the United States was one of those places.
The History of the Bikini
The bikini has not been met with acceptance for very long.
In 1907, a woman was arrested on a Boston beach for wearing a form-fitting, sleeveless one-piece swim suit that covered her from neck to toe. That was just 110 years ago.
Inspired by the introduction of female swimming into the 1917 Summer Olympics, designer Carl Jantzen, made the first functional two-piece swimwear that had shorts on the bottom and short sleeves on the top.
By the 1930s sleeves disappeared and sides were cut away and tightened. As advances in materials were made, especially with the advent of latex and nylon, swimsuits gradually began hugging the body with increasing degrees of midriff exposure in the 1940s.
In 1942 the War Production Board issued a regulation to cut the use of natural fibers in clothing. To comply with the regulations, swimsuit manufacturers produced two piece suits with bare midriffs. Magazines and Hollywood stars helped further the popularity. The most controversial suit produced was the Moonlight Buoy, which had a cork buckle attached to the bottoms. One could tie the top to the bottoms and the suit would stay afloat while one swam au naturel.
In 1946, designer Jacques Heim, introduced a two piece suit called the “Atome” after the smallest known particle of matter. The bottom of the suit was just large enough to cover the navel.
Europeans led the way in the 50’s to advance the bikini, as the United States resisted. In 1965 one could get a citation for wearing a bikini in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. But, the onscreen popularity in Hollywood helped continue to grow the acceptance in the late 60’s and into the 70’s.
In 1988 bikini sales made up 20% of swimsuit sales in the U.S.
In 1997, 51 years after the bikini’s debut, and 77 years after the Miss America Pageant was founded, contestants were allowed to wear two-piece swimsuits. Miss Hawaii, who wore the most skimpy of the 17 two-piece suits represented, won the swimsuit segment.
By the end of the 20th century, the bikini became the most popular beachwear around the globe. And, by the early 2000s, bikinis had become an $811 million business annually in the US.
A lot can change in 110 years. Let’s just hope for all of us that in another century bikinis don’t become more scant!
Journey on and make sure you apply sunscreen!
XO, Melissa a.k.a. the mamabrain at mamabrains