Wearing a bikini turns me into a woman I don’t want to be: neurotic, angsty and hyper-pervy of every female in sight.

Bet the photographer was glad he got this assignment instead of a political presser. Pic: Dan Himbrechts.

I’m a shocker at ‘compare and despair’, so all those holidays when I should be enjoying a good book or contemplating a surf are, instead, spent in a ridiculous silent dialogue with myself:

“Are they looking at my thighs? She’s game to go the white; What’s that Miranda Kerr lookalike doing in Bermagui? Sod off back to Mauritius! Who’d have thought four triangles of Lycra could turn me into such a cow?”

If thongs are fashion’s greatest leveller, the bikini is its magnifier of the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. It strips you bare, delivering a flesh fest of bum, belly and boobs, which is peachy if you’re Elle or Gisele, but not so great for the rest of us.

It’s silly, really. Because despite being tastelessly named after an atomic testing site, everything the bikini is designed for is fab. Beaches, hammocks, resort pools, palm-fringed islands, Miss Universe pageants (OK, maybe not there), water parks (er, or there). Places where the raison d’être is to enjoy.

So why don’t we? Why should women shy away from swimming when a dip in the sea is the most delicious thing you can do?

I blame ‘the rules’ – the nonsensical swimsuit buying tips trotted out every year and delivered with such authority, they send all but the most style-sure diving for a sarong. So, drawing on experience (a back-to-front bottoms disaster circa 1993) and an internship at Vogue (OK, that’s a lie), here’s my reworking of the rules when shopping for swimwear.

Rule 1: Apply fake tan and wear your smallest knickers.
It’s bad enough thinking you look awful – no point smelling grim, too. Instead, take rapid-action anti-depressants and laugh uproariously at the Brazilian-brief-over-nanna-undies combo.

Rule 2: Look for flattering lighting and shop before lunch.
Get real. Even on drugs, Bondi and Byron aren’t blessed with soft-focus. Likewise, down a mojito, salt-and-pepper squid and a triple-choc Magnum before shopping because that’s the joy – and truth – of holidays.

Rule 3: Detract from problem areas with frills, patterns and ruching.
Would you draw with red Texta around a pimple? Thought not. Approach swimwear as you would any other item of clothing. Wear classics? Go for a well-structured piece in elegant navy or brown. Adventurous? Try the new Monroe-style bottoms. Bikinis still work for Helen Mirren because she opts for what suits her, rather than fashion.

Rule 4: Cover a big bum with a boy-leg cut.
Androgenous only works on waifs. Go for what Liz Hurley calls an “American brief” – basically, a bigger bottom for bigger bums.

Rule 5: Diamantes, beading and novelty clasps add interest.
And guarantee you’ll emerge from the sea looking less Ursula Andress and more seaweed-strewn barnacle. Snagging yourself on a rock isn’t a good look.

Rule 6: SMS options to your friends when you’re in the changing room.
No mate is going to reply with: “You look like cottage cheese being squeezed out of a condom.” Man-up and make the decision yourself.

Rule 7: Find something you like? Buy two.
Or three. Or 10 even. Save yourself the whole charade for another decade.

Rule 8: St Tropez is the ideal destination to show off your new swimwear.
Life is too lovely to spend it among French women in bikinis.

Most commented

24 comments

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    • NESLIHAN KUROSAWA says:

      06:44am | 06/11/11

      Hi Angela,

      St Tropez sounds like a nice destination for the ones who can afford to get there for a holiday to begin with!!  I have always thought that we would normally go to the beach for the sun, surf, fun,  water & sand!!  Does it really matter if we happen to wear a bikini & even actually look good wearing one just to make the right statement to the out side world??

      I guess we all have to reconsider our summer wardrobes once again!!  What is the big deal about the fact that if we are not able to look any good with a bikini on??  Would that actually be the end of the world??  It seems a little superficial & dumb, that is all! 

      Are we all going to ban all those without the right looks wearing that special bikini from going to the beach altogether??  It does not say or do much for all those with low self esteem about their figures!!  Best regards to your editors.

    • acotrel says:

      07:03am | 06/11/11

      Angela, I’ll let you into a secret.  When we guys are looking into your eyes and talking to you with kissing in mind, the size of your thighs is irrelevant !

    • Tombowler says:

      01:03pm | 06/11/11

      I think you’ve just become the creepiest dude on the internet…

      And I’ve been on 4chan….

    • OchreBunyip says:

      02:34pm | 06/11/11

      Yeah, because a man being attracted to a women is creepy and unnatural.

    • stephen says:

      10:05am | 06/11/11

      On telly they got new bras for 89 bucks that do everything for a women’s figure, ie.gets rid of pot-holes, parapets and unfortunately, new shoes, cause for 89 bucks i can get a week in Bali and get 3 hea…3 head…
      3 helicopter rides and a front seat ticket to a Cold Chisel concert, (I like it how Jimmy is much cheaper over in the boondocks)and come home with a shangri-la girlfriend, (she can catch it as well as cook it.)

      For 89 bucks you’d hafta give the bras a miss, let the things hang and they’d take another angle toward the floor ... and stand back to open the door.

    • Max, of Rocky says:

      11:15am | 06/11/11

      So if it’s OK for bikini’s

      what’s the big deal with budgee smugglers?

      goose and gander come to mind.

      grin

    • Daniel D says:

      11:13am | 07/11/11

      Too Right. It really is quite sexist to say that speedos are unattractive on men but bikinis are acceptable on women. Do we really want to see all that you got?

      Actually yes.

      Unfortunately for my point, you care more about the negative points about your bodies than we do. In most cases we are happy to accept your body just the way it is. But that’s not the issue is it? It’s more about comparing yourself and competing with other women.

    • Paul M says:

      12:04pm | 06/11/11

      I would LOL at this piece, but after a few years you see enough self-obsessed neuroticism from the weaker sex that it only rates a quiet smile. Jesus said it best: “Judge not, lest ye yourselves be judged.” People who, when they were young and hot, were less bitchy towards others probably have it easier when they pack on a few years. And Ks. Less Melrose, more simply enjoying the outdoors is what it takes to be a better person.

    • Chris L says:

      12:08pm | 06/11/11

      Angela, this article has made me feel really good… about being a man. Being a skinny character with a receding hairline and a burgeoning beer belly means I’m not getting the good kind of attention from the opposite sex, but being a man means that I don’t care grin

      Thanks.

    • Thank You Very Much says:

      12:14pm | 06/11/11

      Since World War Two, men have greatly admired the perfection of ladies due to the female excellence in beauty,female excellence in personality,and female excellence in intelligence.
      Female Hypnotists have skilfully used the role of the bikini girls in due to its effects on men as an object of hypnotism

    • thank you very much says:

      12:16pm | 06/11/11

      Angela Mollard’s ten commandments should be handed down by Moses to the common people!

    • scumbag says:

      12:55pm | 06/11/11

      No use trying to hide everything, so go nude, don’t worry about the thighs, or anything else. Reveal the biscuits, after a 750 bottle of gin.

    • Utopia Boy says:

      03:06pm | 06/11/11

      We are currently in Cyprus, and prior to our next visit here we will need the following:
      Six weeks double boot camp sessions every day,
      Some “label” clothing,
      A pre holiday tanning program,
      A laser hair removal,
      Face / tummy lift.

      Thank the sky fairy it’s off season!

    • xar says:

      03:30pm | 06/11/11

      ...or you could just realise that you don’t owe it to anyone to fit a rather rigid definition of “acceptable” or “beautiful” and wear whatever the hell you like and to hell with any idiot who tells you you don’t have a “bikini body” because they have their heads up their bums.

    • Alf says:

      03:40pm | 06/11/11

      My memory of St Tropez is the (lots of) girls with half a bikini on.

    • Hermano says:

      07:32am | 07/11/11

      Which half?

    • PW says:

      07:29pm | 06/11/11

      Note bugged out eyes and pained expression of black bikini girl and white bikini girl from sucking tummy in for the pic. The third girl (by far the prettiest and it would appear smartest of the trio) didn’t have to worry about this, wearing a one piece and not facing the camera.

    • Trevor says:

      11:38am | 07/11/11

      You must be a woman PW. It’s attitudes like this that women are so scared to get into their bikinis in the first place!

      Conspiracy?

    • PatC says:

      06:34am | 07/11/11

      I read somewhere once that women should only undress in from of men. The logic was that other women are soooo judgemental but men - we’re just grateful!!!

    • Joan Bennett says:

      07:11am | 07/11/11

      Just wear something like the muslim ladies wear.

    • Warwick says:

      09:42am | 07/11/11

      Oh Angela, do you really have to be so caught up in the fashion frenzy? I have a thirteen year old niece who’s besotted by the Kardashian woman, and you forgive that because she’s only thirteen, but you are an adult.

      Every time you carry on like you have in this piece you just re-enforce the fear of fashion. Just drop it.  Banish the vocabulary of body fashion. Accept that you aren’t big-time beautiful. Anyway, you aren’t a model or an actress, you’re a writer. Aren’t you? Aren’t you interested in matters of the mind and the heart?

      If you were a prostitute then you would possibly have reason to worry about whether or not you possess an alluring-to-strange-men kind of appearance; although I’ve known a few prostitutes quite well and and a degree of amiability seemed to be more of an asset than a cover girl appearance.

      You can’t overcome this fashion enslavement bit-by-bit; you have to do it all-at-once. Try going to the beach with family, your mum and dad.

    • Liz says:

      10:30am | 07/11/11

      I go for longish boardies and a tankini top. A rash shirt too if it’s really sunny. Avoiding sunburn, reducing the area that needs sticky suncream and reducing waxing/shaving area - all good outcomes. Be relaxed and enjoy the beach - who cares what the poseurs think?

    • Paul M says:

      10:36pm | 07/11/11

      “If you were a prostitute then you would possibly have reason to worry about whether or not you possess an alluring-to-strange-men kind of appearance”

      Speak to a working girl sometime. She’ll tell you that all you need is to be averagely ok looking. Beyond that, it’s 100% *attitude*.

    • survivalgear says:

      08:57pm | 26/02/13

      What Survival Kits do not, for a main course, I finally got around to protect the blade causing the fragments to wreak the currently non-lethal havoc. Geodesic dome tents are freestanding.  camping gear Look for any hike.

 

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