by Carol Dunn
LA VETA- The summer clothing catalogs have been rolling in for months, actually since about January, and now we have the swimsuit issues. Honestly, swimsuit catalogs are useful for only one purpose – to make the average American woman feel particularly flabby after a long, chilly winter. Well, maybe there is a second purpose, to remind her that she’s getting older and gravity is a law. Can I get a witness?
Well, it’s time for a reality check. Swimsuit manufacturers cannot possibly expect anyone over the age of thirty to buy one of their suits. They prove this by hiring models who are between the ages of fifteen and twenty-one. Please, I do not want to know how a swimsuit looks on a sixteen-year-old model. I want to see how it looks on a fifty-year-old mother of three, without makeup.
Nowadays there are firming suits and flattering suits and “thinning” suits. The thinning suits are displayed on models who are not yet old enough to have developed any significant fat cells. Quite possibly they have never even heard of cellulite. What do they know about needing to look thin? Most of them don’t weigh more than 100 pounds. One ad promises “you’ll look a size smaller – instantly.” What size is smaller than one? Zero?
Swimsuit manufacturers need to face the fact that the average American woman is a size 14. (And if you happen to be smaller than that, I don’t want to hear about it.) Over 30 million of us are baby boomers, meaning a vast majority of us do not wear bikinis, and several million more shouldn’t. Besides, we’re the ones with the money to buy their swimsuits, and the more expensive the suit, the less fabric is used to construct it. How many catalogs have you seen recently with size 14 women modeling the suits? Well, to be fair, one of the reasons is that most swimsuits over size nine look like a paint factory exploded on them. Frankly, I’m not wearing one of those things in public.
Are we going to see more socially responsible swimsuit catalogs in the future? Nah, probably not. Will we forever be fated to seeing an eighty-year-old man in a Speedo once in a while? Yeah, probably. Just give me a t-shirt, a pair of baggy shorts and a lawnmower. That’s all the sun I need.