When I was a child in the 1950s the bathing suit for the mature figure
was boned, trussed and reinforced, not so much sewn as engineered. They
were built to hold back and uplift and they did a good job.
Today's stretch fabrics are designed for the prepubescent girl with a
figure carved from a potato chip.
The mature woman has a choice-she can either go up front to the
maternity department and try on a floral suit with a skirt, coming away
looking like a hippopotamus who escaped from Disney's Fantasia or she
can wander around every run of the mill department store trying to make
a sensible choice from what amounts to a designer range of florescent
rubber bands. What choice did I have? I wandered around, made my
sensible choice and entered the chamber of horrors known as the fitting
The first thing I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength of the
stretch material. The Lycra used in bathing costumes was developed, I
believe, by NASA to launch small rockets from a slingshot, which give
the added bonus that if you manage to actually lever yourself into one,
you are protected from shark attacks as any shark taking a swipe at your
passing midriff would immediately suffer whiplash. I fought my way into
the bathing suit, but as I twanged the shoulder strap in place, I gasped
in horror - my b00bs had disappeared!
Eventually, I found one b00b cowering under my left armpit. It took a
while to find the other. At last I located it flattened beside my
The problem is that modern bathing suits have no bra cups. The mature
woman is meant to wear her b00bs spread across her chest like a speed
bump. I realigned my speed bump and lurched toward the mirror to take a
full view assessment.
The bathing suit fit all right, but unfortunately, it only fit those
bits of me willing to stay inside it. The rest of me oozed out
rebelliously from top, bottom, and sides. I looked like a lump of play
dough wearing undersized cling wrap.
As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from, the
prepubescent sales girl popped her head through the curtain, "Oh, there
you are," she said, admiring the bathing suit.
I replied that I wasn't so sure and asked what else she had to show me.
I tried on a cream crinkled one that made me look like a lump of masking
tape, and a floral two-piece that gave the appearance of an oversized
napkin in a serving ring.
I struggled into a pair of leopard skin bathers with ragged frills and
came out looking like Tarzan's Jane, pregnant with triplets and having a
I tried on a black number with a midriff and looked like a jellyfish in
I tried on a bright pink pair with such a high cut leg I thought I would
have to wax my eyebrows to wear them.
Finally, I found a suit that fit...a two-piece affair with a shorts
style bottom and a loose blouse-type top.
It was cheap, comfortable, and bulge-friendly, so I bought it. My
ridiculous search had a successful outcome, I figured. When I got home,
I found a label which read -- "Material might become transparent in
So, if you happen to be on the beach or near any other body of water
this year and I'm there too .. I'll be the one in cut off jeans and a