How to Prepare for Swimsuit Season

Flabby thighs? Spider veins? How writer Jenny Allen plans to suit up

by Jenny Allen
girls in bathing suits at the beach image
Photograph: Zohar Lazar

I see it’s bathing suit season again. Time for some of us to pose the question “Is it possible to wear a skirted bathing suit ironically when at the same time you really need the skirt?” And, of course, to answer that question: “No.”

Bathing suit season. Oooof. Why don’t I just aim a bow and arrow at my head right now? I’m kidding. I’m not going to aim it at my head. I’m going to aim it at my rear end. There’s no chance I will miss that target—it’s the reason I need a skirted bathing suit to begin with. Bet I won’t even feel it. Then, right before I have the operation to remove the arrow, I can ask the doctor to remove most of my rear end as well. After that I’ll fit into a really great bathing suit.

Nah, I’m not going to injure myself. I’m going to sit here and daydream about the time I went to the beach in Italy. I assumed that the women over 40 would show up in more stylish versions of the boring skirted one-piece suit I was wearing. What I saw were dozens of women, in their fifties and sixties and older, almost all of them wearing . . . bikinis.

Bikinis! I couldn’t believe it. Their breasts drooped, their thighs jiggled, their flesh hung loose and crepey, and yet they sauntered along and lay about at perfect ease, as if they had the bodies of teenage girls.

Of course, if you tried that in our country, people would think you were trying to frighten them to death or that you were a madwoman. That may be very wrong—it definitely is wrong—but that’s the way it is here.

My proposal is that all of us should absolutely keep going to the beach no matter what our bodies look like but that we should walk to the far end, which I find has often been claimed by a gaggle of nudists. Have you noticed how nudists usually have very homely, lumpy bodies? We could just toss off our clothes and revel in our old cesarean and hysterectomy scars, our deeply dimpled heinies,our bellies that sag like bread dough tossed against a wall, and to hell with it. Free at last, in all our fleshy perfection.

Next: Get Positive About Body Image

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First published in the May 2013 issue of More

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Comments

06.20.2013

I know this article is meant to be a bit "tongue in cheek" and I bet this gives voice to some women out there who share this mortification, but I find it sad that women in America feel this way when exposed in a bathing suit - if indeed so many women feel this way. It is true. Europeans, in general are less concerned with the affects of aging than Americans. There is less inclination to feel ashamed for a process that no matter what you do, like death and taxes, is-inevitable. We get old. Here is how i see it. You are a successful journalist and you probably have numerous fantastic qualities and most people are more concerned with themselves to really judge you. Cut yourself some slack, allow yourself some spider veins.

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