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Sharkproof Swimwear | Manolo for the Big Girl

Sharkproof Swimwear

This post is in memory of my favorite pair of black underwear, tragically lost at sea August 16, 2012

I am almost certain no one has ever been eaten by a shark while wearing an evening gown.

Maybe on the Titanic, but they probably drowned or froze first, so hey, my totally made-up not-even-remotely-scientifically-supported point still stands.

Uh, Plummy? What point would that be?

There’s nothing saying you have to wear a swimsuit to the beach.

Up with this sort of thing!

I mean sure you probably have to wear some sort of covering, because most beaches are Not That Kind of Beach, but if you don’t feel comfortable in a bathing suit, wear something else.

Honestly, it’s not a big deal.

Of course most of you are much smarter than I am –not that that sets the bar prohibitively high– so you probably figured this out already, but if you have body shame or a weird rash or are cursed with a long torso that forces you to choose between exposing your nooks or your crannies to the public eye, you can just choose your own adventure and be a beach bunny on your own terms.

Here is a brief sampling of outfits I’ve deemed fit for the briny blue at one time or another:

  • a traditional bathing suit
  • a gold-embroidered lavender silk sari
  • underwear and holiday colored Saran Wrap
  • an evening gown
  • various dresses of various lengths

True, some were bigger successes than others. Swimming in the sari, while not especially practical, was about the most glamorous thing I’ve ever done. I felt just exactly like that goldfish from Fantasia, and who doesn’t want to feel like that goldfish from Fantasia at least once before they shuffle loose this mortal coil?

Others just seemed like a good idea at the time.

I’m looking at –and slightly through– you, Saran Wrap bathing bodice, although in my defense it was nowhere near the most questionable outfit at that particular pre-discobrunch after-afterparty. Come to think of it, it didn’t even seem like a good idea then, but when you’re a straight-laced twenty year-old and a flock of gay men hopped up on ketamine and body glitter come at you with festive green plastic wrap and a meaningful glint in their eyes, you just do what you need to do. God I miss the 90’s.

–insert record scratch jerking us mercilessly back into cruel, cruel reality–

Recently, I’ve taken to wearing cotton dresses for my sunset dips.

Actually, I’ve taken to “reading Melville” which is the phrase I’ve come up with to describe swimming in the buff, since “skinny dipping” isn’t exactly accurate and “chunky dunking” lacks a certain charm. That being said, I live on an essentially deserted six-mile stretch of beach and what’s the damn point of living on an essentially deserted six-mile stretch of beach if you can’t strip off and traumatize some pelicans?

Even if you can’t blind your own seabirds, why not try donning something non-traditional for your next aquatic adventure? It’s better than sitting at home because you’re afraid of being The Fat Girl at the Beach. Just be careful if you’re in a swimming pool: chlorine is hell on a silk sari.

11 Responses to “Sharkproof Swimwear”

  1. MissPrism August 20, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    Oo! Oo!

    That picture is of the Loony Dook! You drink whisky and jump in the Firth of Forth on the morning of New Year’s Day (when the average water temperature is AIEEEEEEE degrees Celsius). I did it in 2006 and wasn’t well again for months.

    I was dressed as a walrus and my friend as a rockhopper penguin.

  2. Carrie August 20, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    I’ve had such a great swimming summer at the splash park, beach, pool, water park. Usually I hate everything to do with swimming in public, except the actual swimming (which I don’t get to do anymore since I have young children). This summer has been magical! I bought myself a rashguard shirt and have been wearing the heck out of it. It was expensive, but it gives me a lot more confidence to go out and play in the water. Bonus: no sunburn.

  3. ChaChaHeels August 20, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    I live on an essentially deserted six-mile stretch of beach and what’s the damn point of living on an essentially deserted six-mile stretch of beach if you can’t strip off and traumatize some pelicans?

    Amen.

  4. Rebekka August 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    I seriously snorted out loud at your second-to-last paragraph. Cheers to blinding your seabirds.

    That is all.

  5. Patience August 20, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    I love the Father Ted references. And “reading Melville.”

  6. lali August 21, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    This summer my swimming opportunities were limited to a small inflatable pool in the garden. Thus it seemed so not worth it to shave or wax the nether regions — but I knew I would still have to lumber out of the pool and answer the doorbell (plus we had workmen over to paint the roof for a couple of days). So I opted for a pair of men’s swim trunks. You know the type — baggy, long drawstring shorts made of a quick-drying material, in a particularly loud Hawaiian print, that were cheap as heck. Paired with the top of a tankini, it was actually comfortable and did not look as bad as I initially thought it would Next summer, assuming I have the chance to go to an actual pool or beach, I may look for a nicer pair of trunks.

  7. Thea August 22, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I just wear a bathing suit, swim and give big conspiratorial grins to the 75-year-old women and other big girls who dare to swim.

  8. raincoaster August 23, 2012 at 5:39 am #

    Your timing is amazing! I spent nearly three hours today on an inflatable raft floating down a canal. I started out wearing a baggy cotton tee and grey nylon-spandex capris, but soon loosed up and by the time I reached the end I was wearing the rainbow-coloured bikini that had been hidden underneath my outerwear. I’m not exactly svelte, but nobody gave a rat’s ass, because nobody was there to look at me…or anyone. We all just had fun.

  9. Violet August 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    While swimming in a lavender sari is a worthy endeavor by itself, it is simply sacrilegious to do it in gold-embroidered silk sari. They are equivalent to a good pair of custom-made cowboy shoes. One won’t do anything that ruins them forever when they are potential family heirlooms. Sorry, but even the thought of a ruined Kanjeevaram is highly traumatic for me.

    My swimwear is biking tights with men’s surf shirts. I love to swim, and don’t really care about anything else.

  10. Stormy August 23, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    When swimming in public, I’ll second the tankini top with men’s swimtrunks option…

    But whenever possible skin-swimming is my choice. Although being the fantasia goldfish in nothing but skin and flowing hair does lead to some rather painful comb sessions.

  11. Astra August 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    We ended up at That Kind of Beach in Kauai this summer. No one said anything to me but one guy actually chastised my husband for being clothed. It was pretty funny.