Does anyone else have horrific memories associated with wearing bathers?
When I was growing up all the girls wore the traditional one piece swimsuit. This item was usually grotesquely unattractive and did nothing to flatter your chest whatsoever, not that I had one anyway. Scarily though, as I got older and started wearing larger versions of the one piece swimsuit, I found that while the article was still conservatively cut everywhere else, it was now unnecessarily high cut around the bikini line. This meant that despite my best adolescent efforts at keeping my bikini line pruned, I was always trying to pull my swimsuit down to cover up wilful straying pubic hairs. For some reason the elastic usually failed in the bikini line area first as well, so my swimsuit could always be relied upon to creep back up again to display more of my short and curlys at the worst possible time.
The traditional one piece swimsuit also of course gave you a nice crotch full of wet beach sand after a quick dip in the ocean. No one likes having a parcel in their pants, but when you are already semi-nude on a crowded beach and as self-conscious as hell anyway, being saddled with a heavy lump of sand in your crotch definitely was the very last thing you wanted. You would of course desperately try to shake the parcel out before you emerged from the surf, but it would cement itself in your cosy swimsuit and would not budge. It remained firmly stuck there, stubbornly travelling with you until you were able to peel the whole hideous article off when you finally got home.
I suppose I should have just been glad that I wasn’t born earlier, and that at least I didn’t have to wear the old style one piece swimsuit that actually extended as far as your knees, or otherwise incorporated a fluffy bum (who wants an even bigger bottom when they are walking around semi-nude in public?). However I would have so loved to have been able to just throw on some board shorts like the boys did (and a t-shirt as well), so I could’ve just enjoyed the beach without the punishing female swimsuit routine of the time.
As I got older the bikini became available. While a bikini top is basically just a bra made out of different material, for some reason these always used to be made so that they provided absolutely no support to your breasts whatsoever. There was also some unwritten law that stated that bikinis had to had to be made out of repulsive eighties fabric that was always a repetition of bold sploshes of clashing colours. They also had to be strapless, with just a single clasp at the centre of your back. This was extraordinary considering that swimming is actually a form of exercise and it does in fact involve movement. Not only did you feel naked diving amongst the waves because your breasts were only covered by an ill-fitting fabric strip, often you were in fact actually naked when the waves finished with you. The only solution seemed to be to spend the whole time trying not to do anything too active whilst continuously hoisting the ill-fitting strip back up over your breasts again to prevent indecently exposing yourself to everyone in the vicinity.
The woman in the above photograph looks absolutely nothing like I do in a bikini.*
When I’m swimming I look a lot more like an older version of the little girl in the above photograph, except minus the frilled bottom.*
Bikini bottoms were also hazardous territory. Sensible bikini bottoms that make you feel less self-conscious in your practically nude bathing state didn’t seem to exist when I was a young woman. You either bought bikini bottoms that were cut on the non-existent side of skimpy and displayed alarming amounts of cellulite, or you bought bikini bottoms that covered a little bit of your bottom cellulite but that were still high cut around the bikini line area (to show off wild straying pubic hairs once again, despite your best efforts to ensure your bikini line was harvested beforehand).
Then new versions of the bikini bottom came in. Bikini bottoms that were actually tight fitting little shorts became available. Personally I have both obvious hips and womanly thighs that like to stay in touch on a regular basis (in actual fact they are always together). My thighs also do not like anything that threatens their close relationship. So if I wear tight fitting shorts of any kind, at any sign of movement they will be quickly dispensed with. My thighs quickly carry them up into my crotch, taking them hostage like soldiers ensnared trying to invade a fort. The aftermath of this terribly one sided battle leaves me to struggle back to my towel with most of the legs of the tight fitting shorts chaffing together at my crotch. I’ve realised that my version of the female body does not suffer any items of clothing that are deemed silly, dysfunctional and in the way well at all.
Thank God for progress.
These days I can purchase loose fitting women’s board shorts of a reasonable length that will not be digested by my thighs as soon as I put them on. I can also buy a supportive bikini top that is equipped with shoulder straps. There are now a diversity of swimsuits on the market, so everyone can usually find something that both suits their style and is comfortable at the same time.
Progress really is a wonderful thing sometimes.
© Annemaree Jensen 2017