One of the benefits of having a beau with a bateau is that you get to frolic in the waves and sunshine when the weather is snowy and freezing back home. So while I spent the morning bundled up in my woolies scraping the latest accumulation of ice and snow off my windshield, my mind was elsewhere…upstairs packing for a trip to the Caribbean early next week. Sunblock, sarongs, flip-flops, bikini…wait…bikini…hmmm…
At what point in our lives do we eschew the bikini for a more “appropriate” swimsuit? I have been thinking about this since my last warm weather junket in November. I had ordered a few new suits, and when trying them on was forced to admit that the bottoms were exceptionally skimpy and daringly low cut. They hadn’t looked that way on the 20-something model on the website! Was it me? I jumped on the scale and confirmed that my weight was where it should be. I spun around a few times in the full-length mirror to make sure that gravity wasn’t playing some nasty trick on me. I flexed, and posed, and hoisted, and for the most part, everything was where it had last been, but for some reason I was feeling particularly risqué and couldn’t help think that my recent crossing into the official land of middle age had something to do with it.
I have always preferred bikinis, probably because they were frowned upon by my puritanical mother. Wearing one was just another way to rebel. After I had my first child I hid the jelly rolls in a one piece until I felt brave enough to wear two. The first day in a bikini post baby was exhausting. The next day my abs were so sore from constantly sucking them in that I thought I had discovered a new form of plyometric exercise. I persevered, had two more children and never looked back.
Until now. And I keep looking at the backside. My backside. It’s not that I’m upset with the image, but I keep hearing a voice (that sounds remarkably like my mother’s) telling me that I’m a grownup now and it’s time to start dressing like one. I’m wondering if I shouldn’t be wearing a black one-piece with strategic ruching, maybe a miracle suit or one of those Herve Lerger type things. The problem is, I like bikinis. They make me feel young and carefree and acutely aware of my abdominals. There is something akin to admitting defeat by going back to the land on the maillot.
I managed to find a few suits that had more coverage and support and didn’t look matronly, and taking a chapter from my teenage daughters, I found that mixing and matching tops and bottoms gets the coverage and support job done in a funky, fashionable way. But it was this picture of Helen Mirren that gave me the confidence to wear what I want. If she can pull off this look at 65 then I see no reason to let the calendar tell me what I can and cannot wear!