So said my husband as I tried on a multitude of options for our impending holiday and asked his opinion a couple of weeks ago. Not in a rude way (at least I hope it wasn’t!) More in an incredulous way. As though women of 40 don’t wear bikinis.
(Sidenote – the postman could have also chipped in to this conversation, because I was in the lounge modelling my new bikini. And the postman has to walk past both of our lounge windows to get to the front door. The husband told me to hide behind the sofa. Maybe he did mean his comment in a rude way after all.)
Here’s the thing – I don’t like swimsuits. I find them claustrophobic. They cling a lot. They don’t dry quickly enough when you’ve been in the pool or the sea. They make your skin feel clammy while they’re still damp. They’re a pain in the ass to pull up and down to go to the loo. They generally have too many straps and are too high at the front and back leaving tan marks where you don’t want them.
I like a tan on my stomach and my lower back. It freaks me out a little bit if my middle bit is completely white and my arm/face/shoulders/legs are brown (I don’t mind white bum and boobs, that’s the norm, unless you’re a nudist). And I like the feeling of the breeze on my stomach at the beach, or the cold sea as I ease myself in, or the first freezing hit of the pool when I jump in. And yes there’s a bit more of my stomach to experience those feelings than there used to be. And no I’m not as young and lithe as I once was (although nothing seems to be drooping so far!) But I still prefer a bikini.
Why is it that we’re so keen to put women in boxes when they reach a certain age? Shouldn’t wear short skirts, shouldn’t have long hair, should dress in classic neutral colours. I’ve been guilty of it myself in the past. I probably didn’t think I’d be wearing a bikini at 40, because that’s not what 40 year old women do, is it?
Well fucksticks to that. Neither my age or my “less slim” stomach is going to shame me into wearing something just because other people think I should. Whether that be the husband, the postman or the media.
This is not (misplaced) body confidence, by the way. I know I don’t look as good as I’d like to. But I refuse to be uncomfortable just to suit society.
Last time we were in Greece there were two Greek women on the beach. Both large ladies, both probably in their 60s, and both wearing a bikini. Not a skimpy tie sided, triangle top affair, admittedly. There was a decent amount of fabric and underwiring going on. But they were there and they were chilling and they were talking and sunbathing and swimming. I assume they were comfortable. I do notice a lot less body consciousness in non commercial Europe (hence the male budgie smuggler not being extinct!)
I’ve blogged about this subject before, 2 years ago, post holiday. I talked about the difference between my early 20s self in a bikini and my then late 30s one in one. And I stand by what I said then:
“My body looks how it does because of the life I lead. I enjoy life. I enjoy food. I enjoy drinking. I don’t enjoy exercise!”
Anyway, here are my two new bikinis, both from George at Asda. And I will be coming home from our late summer holiday with a tanned tum, so there!
What’s your approach to swimwear? Are you a cover up or stuff it kind of person?
Thanks, as always, for reading! x