My basic problem with swimsuits is that they manipulate the human shape in a way that just isn’t normal, and the result it unflattering, if not horrific. Depending on the design, a swimsuit can shove parts of your flesh into shapes and places they weren’t intended to be shoved into. It's an awkward manipulation of form. This can result in a very peculiar look. I am OK with my body reflecting my age, the number of kids I’ve had and the battle scars I’ve picked up along the way. However, I don’t want it reflecting how many ice cream cones or tortilla chips I’ve had in any given month. When I put on a swimsuit, it seems the latter always happens. Of course, some suits are designed to reduce this problem by covering up some of the trouble spots. Who can forget the “Grecian” look-suits with the little skirt attached-that was so popular in the seventies? Yet, that little skirt came with its own set of problems, mainly, aging the wearer by several years. In recent years, some forward-thinking companies have designed suits that supposedly have a slimming effect on the body. The problem that I’ve had with said swimsuits is that they’re always very lacy-saccharine lacy. I don’t do that. Some might argue that the Speedo is a harmless enough option for men. How much damage can be done with such a little, tiny piece of cloth? Trust me, unless he’s Michael Phelps, less is probably way too much.
From my observation, swimsuits, throughout the history of time, have caused much stress and anxiety for people. Think about the last time you went shopping for a swimsuit. Close your eyes and reflect back on that moment. Think of browsing through the racks, hopeful to find something in your size that didn’t have a large print of a begonia on it or something else that was equally as garish. Picture the dressing room with the in-your-face, three-way mirror and the cruel fluorescent lighting. This is a lot of stress and worry for one article of clothing, yes?
Of course, there is a simple solution: skinny-dipping.
We came into this life barenaked and it makes all the sense in the world to me that we should swim barenaked. In their natural state, our bodies are wonderful and beautiful things. Free of the constrains of Lycra and design, our bodies can shine in their own majestic brilliance; they can hang, stand, bend, wiggle, quiver or shake however is most natural for them. Skinny- dipping is not just for the skinny and is perhaps one of the most joyful and liberating pleasures in life. Nothing beats cool, fresh water against happy skin. It is refreshing and exhilarating, almost to the point of delirium. It is the ultimate flying commando experience. It appeals to our most visceral and animal selves, something most of us aren’t in touch with very often. We can splash away on a summer evening in the neighbor’s pool or swim alongside dolphins in the ocean. We can get wet and be free. And we don’t need a stinkin’ swimsuit to do it.
Of course, there are practical considerations. One is sunburn, and it is best that any would-be skinny-dipper slather up with sunscreen. Let’s face it; some body parts don’t see the light of day very often and would be quite vulnerable under the ugly gaze of the midday sun. Also, in many places (OK, most places) skinny-dipping is illegal, or at least public nudity is. If you’re going to swim without a suit, it is important to be selective as to where you jump in and, perhaps, what time. Failure to do so could result in a ticket from local law enforcement. On a slow night, a bored cop will think nothing of spoiling your fun and making you get out of the water and put a robe on. I imagine in some states, you could even get arrested. In those places, a private nude beach might be the best option. Figuring out the perfect place to take that jolly plunge can be part of the fun of the whole adventure.
Perhaps someday, we will look back on the era of the swimsuit and see it for the oppressive and spirit-killing time that it was. Our great grandchildren will look at photo albums and ask, “Why does grandpa have that weird little thing on?” and “Why is Aunt Ruthie wearing a skirt in the pool?” I predict that in a few decades, skinny-dipping will be the norm, and swimsuits will be a thing of museums and memories. We’re not there yet, but we shouldn’t let that stop us. Our country was built by rebel spirits. If our founding fathers could flip the bird to England, certainly we can celebrate our bold, beautiful bodies and liberate ourselves from the tyranny of the swimsuit. Go forth-the lake is waiting.