Each day, weather permitting, which is about nine days out of ten, my wife and I stroll the beach for about four and a half kilometres in each direction before heading into the sea to cool off. Of course, I have to wear a swimsuit such as this one on the left. I have four such swimsuits which are what I could best describe as just covering the essentials. In spite of being “well dressed” for the beach, I do get my fair share of shocked looks which are often followed by grinning and blushing, usually by the younger set wearing knee long board shorts with designer underwear peaking out to be suitably in style.
Once the walk is done, then it’s into the sea where the suit becomes an arm band much like the tattoos of barbed wire that many younger people now wear. Of course, I keep some distance from other swimmers so that there isn’t an indignant response in spite of the fact that all is out of sight beneath the waves. Seeing the bathing suit on my arm is a declaration of freedom, even if that freedom is carefully disguised by the sea. It’s the principle that counts.
I get confused, to say the least, by the responses to my near nudity on the beach as we pass resorts filled with “cool” and “privileged” guests. I wonder why they cover up so much, even to the point of wearing a cover-up while moving from gardens to seaside, sometimes even struggling the wrap when taking their places on the lounge chairs lined up beneath palapas. I also wonder why so many women wear full bathing suits rather than take a minimalist approach. On the average, about six out of ten women we pass avoid bikinis, even the more discrete versions. Even then, there is a tendency to wear some sort of wrap that hides nothing, as though they are protecting their modesty.
As for the guys, they strut with arms held slightly apart from their bodies as if they have just finished lifting weights while dressed in board shorts that do anything but flatter their attempts at being macho. It’s hard to be a hunk when the gut bulges out like a woman preparing to deliver twins. In their attempts to look cool, the can of beer in the hand with a ball cap worn backwards thus not offering the eyes any protection from the sun, completes the fashion.
When will people stop being afraid of human bodies? When will they stop being the slaves of a fashion industry that works overtime to tell them that they are imperfect unless they get the latest styles, a look that is passé the moment they become available at the local shops in their cities. It is always a merciless race to be worthy in the eye of the critical public. No wonder they are aghast seeing my wife and I, two seniors in their sixties, not give a shit about fashion, just simply wearing as little as possible and feeling free in the process. It’s good to like who you are and the body you come wrapped up in.