It has come to my attention that some people think that people my age shouldn't wear bikinis at the beach. As MadMad says, if you're over 35 and in a bikini, you're either showing off, or you don't look as good as you think you do. I regularly wear bikinis to the beach, and I plead guilty to all three charges: I am forty, I've had two kids and I'm not a triathlete, so I don't look as good as I did when I was 16, but I look pretty good (you know, for an old lady) and in my weaker moments, I have been proud of that fact.
I want to take back the bikinis from the 16-year-olds. MadMad says those of us on the shadier side of 35 should just accept reality and wear skirted tankinis. I don't wanna. I have a position, based on my decades of experience with bathing suits.
My position is this: bikinis are comfortable. They are more comfy than anything else I've ever worn to the beach. It is my belief that if everyone were blindfolded at the beach, and if therefore the way we looked didn't matter, then everyone--fat and thin, young and old--would be wearing bikinis. In other words, womens' reluctance to wear bikinis stems from a discomfort with how they are seen, rather than an internal experience of how they feel.
Bikinis are totally adjustable. If you're feeling a little bloated, you just tie it to fit. If you want to swim, you tie it a little tighter. On a hot day, they're the best: no extra fabric around your middle making you sweat. They don't ride up in the seat, because the top isn't attached so it can't pull it up. Brilliant.
At the end of the day, though, that's when a bikini really shines. Don't you hate that feeling of walking off the beach (and then going about whatever it is you have to do next) with your bathing suit under your clothes? With a bikini, you don't have to. Put your clothes on, untie the straps, and slip the bikini off. Easy, discreet, and done.
So why should the sweet young things with perfect bodies be the only ones who can wear bikinis at the beach? Why do any of us have to even aspire to that level of perfection to be, hello, comfortable?
I have to admit that I didn't always feel this way. It was a trip to Hawaii that really opened my eyes. My brother and his family live on the Big Island, and everyone, I mean everyone, wears bikinis there. If you see someone in a one-piece, you know she's a tourist. Doesn't matter if you're not feeling fit and pretty, it's just what is most comfortable. Even the old ladies. Even the extra large old ladies. I'm not kidding.
And if they can do it, so can I.