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Bikinis, Monokinis and Burkinis

The bathing suits have sat in the drawer doing nothing for 360 days a year for most of the years living in Paris, waiting anxiously for the annual summer beach vacation when they can come out of their plastic bags in the back of the drawer and on to a pasty white and mushy body. This year is different because with the decreased tourism and rental cancellations, I chose to take a few extra weeks and enjoy the sun and surf of the French Riviera.

The collection of all black one-piece suits, tight enough to act like girdles and hide the aging flesh, are impossible to wear-out with such limited use, so it’s not like I NEEDED a new suit, but I was bored with them and WANTED one. There started the quest for a new “maillot de bain.” If Nice isn’t the perfect place to find one, then where is?

Did I look at the bikinis on the rack? No.

No matter how much larger all the other women are on the beach than me in their itty bitty teeny weeny bikinis (yellow polka dot or otherwise), or monokinis (yes, there are still some clueless topless women on the beach in spite of the fact that it’s totally “passé”), and regardless that it just ‘ain’t’ so pretty, I dare not expose the extra flesh that has settled on these 63 year-old hips. On top of that, now that I’m a one-piece kind o’ gal, the middle section hasn’t gotten any sun and is just as white and pasty as if it were January and I was living on the North Pole. It may never see the sun again.

Nope, I went for another black one-piece bathing suit to add to the already barely-worn collection…but this time I went for something ‘sexy,’ even if it was to behave more like a girdle than a swimming costume. And I can tell you that this animal virtually doesn’t exist. Designers of beachwear must have discovered that the only women wearing one-piece suits on the “plage” are “alta cockers” (old farts) like me and since they must be hiding something anyway don’t pay much attention to design — just to what covers up the most. It’s pathetic and makes the quest even tougher. I must have looked at hundreds.

The funny part is that covering up is now what’s UNACCEPTABLE on the beach. A brawl started this past week in Corsica on the beach after a few snotty young locals started taking photos of women wearing “burkinis.” It was the third incident in France to cite clashes between the locals…not for women being OVER-exposed, but UNDER-exposed! Villeneuve-Loubet, Cannes, Leucate, towns west of Nice, and a few others, have banned the full-body cover-ups, because as one mayor told the press, “In France, one does not come to the beach dressed to display one’s religious convictions, especially as they are false convictions that the religion does not demand.”

Ooh la la, what a provocative statement that is! (Has he been taking lessons from Donald Trump on how to insult an entire faction?) And the Mayor of Cannes noted that the swimwear designed to CONceal rather than REveal “manifests religious affiliation in an ostentatious way, while France and its religious sites are currently the target of terrorist attacks, could create risks of trouble to public order.”

Regardless of the reasons, I personally don’t think this will change anything to prevent racist-born violence, but incite it. Just Google the number of articles on this subject and the spread of violence on beaches as a result of too much covered up, rather than exposed. And meanwhile, there are an awful lot of women topless, who in my personal opinion, shouldn’t be. Do I really want to be subjected to viewing their sagging breasts? Oh how I wish they were in their burkinis instead! Or is this my own kind of prejudice?

The men don’t have this issue, now do they? Of course, the only reason the women are having this issue at all is because of what the men want. Isn’t it always about them? Isn’t that why women go topless or women like me are trying to be sexy while sucking it up in a girdle-like suit?

I’d never even heard of a burkini before this. I’ve been so busy just covering up my own sagging belly that it never dawned on me I could cover all of it up, nor had I paid too much attention to anyone on the beach in such attire. My interests were more focused on the buff young men in their Speedos®! They are a much prettier sight. Women, don’t you agree!?

Eventually I did find the perfect one-piece black sexy maillot de bain, but it cost a small fortune and I had to hold my breath while the sales clerk processed my credit card. The good news is I’ll likely have it for another hundred years and over time will get my money’s worth…as long as I don’t grow out of it. (Tee hee.)

A la prochaine,

Adrian Leeds

Editor of Parler Nice
Adrian Leeds Group


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P.S. Après Midi returns in less than a month! Don’t miss author Jeffrey Greene September 13: “In Pursuit of Wild Edibles: A Forager’s Tour and Hybrid Writing about France.” Details on our Après Midi page. Make your plans to attend now!


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