If you are like me – born under a sign in which water is your element – you probably can’t get enough of the beach, or the lake, or your backyard pool, if you happen to be so fortunate. One of my favorite things to do is sit at the edge of the ocean, with my little beach chair half-submerged in the water, my toes just below the surface of the sand, a cold beer in my built-in cup holder, and sunshine warming me to the core. Ahh… I can feel the calm washing over me as the waves lap at my ankles. I can smell the salty, suntan-lotiony air as peace and harmony envelope me, and all the chaos disappears from My High-Maintenance Life, if only for a few short hours.
Can you imagine it with me? Do you see the boat out on the horizon? Maybe a lazy seagull circling overhead, or even a stingray silently gliding through the crystal-clear water just a few feet away? And then, like a needle scratching across the record, she appears from out of nowhere to interrupt this serene vision. She is a woman that is just a bit too large for her tiny little string bikini. This all too common sighting begs the question: When is a woman too big, too old, or too out of shape to wear a bikini?
Every time I am at the beach, the lake, or my neighborhood pool, I see it. The first thing that crosses my mind, to quote my mother, “Maybe she doesn’t own a full-length mirror.” But, the next thought I have is, “Wow. I should have worn MY string bikini that I bought 10 years ago before I was ever pregnant and thought I was too out of shape to wear today.”
Allow me clarify here, lest you think I am being overly critical. There are three different categories Women in Tiny Bikinis fall into.
First, is the Too Big for My Suit category. And, by “too big” for their suits, I don’t necessarily mean “too fat.” In fact, in most cases, women in this category aren’t overweight at all, in any place other than their chest. But, for some reason, women who are naturally or surgically (“after market parts” as my friend likes to call it) well endowed, like to wear bikinis that are just one or two sizes too small. When I see a woman whose bikini top is filled to capacity (think over-filled water balloons in which the latex is stretched so thin it appears transparent), running the risk of a wardrobe malfunction if she inhales too deeply, I think to myself, “If I tried that on in the dressing room and saw every single fiber in my top fighting to stay together, I’d ask for a bigger size.
Next is the I Might Be a Grandma But I’m Wearing a Bikini category. These are the “older” women who have clearly given birth to more than one nine-pound baby in their lifetimes, but they’re not letting that stop them from feeling sexy! These women make me wonder, “Are we ever too old to wear a bikini?” As one of my guy friends offers, “Maybe she was really hot before she had kids so she still feels really good about her body.” Well, that would make sense, wouldn’t it? I’d LOVE to have that kind of confidence!
Although I am NOT EVEN CLOSE to the age of becoming a grandma, I still think I might be too old to wear any kind of suit that exposes my less-than-svelte tummy. I’m not 23 anymore and I did give birth to one six-pound child in my lifetime. Maybe that means I’m past my peak bikini-wearing season.
Finally, there is the Pleasantly Plump Bikini Wearing Girlfriend category. She is young, she is jiggly and she wants to get a good tan. She has never carried a baby in her belly, she has always been a little overweight, but all her skinny friends are wearing bikinis, so she is, too. And I say, “You go, girl!” Again, to have that kind of confidence – in a world where we are force-fed the ridiculous notion that we must look like the anorexic, chain-smoking supermodels we see in magazines – is to be commended.
So, my dear friends, when are we too big, too old, or too out of shape to wear a bikini? Next time you get ready to head out to the beach, look into your full-length mirror and say, “You know what? After having (insert number) kids, and for being (insert real age) years old, I don’t look half bad.” Go forth in confidence in your two-piece, armed with the knowledge that another woman you’ll see today looks way worse than you do. That’s what I tell myself, anyway.