This summer while I have been horizontal by the pool occasionally topping up my IV drip full of medium priced rosé, while pausing to rise Lazarus-like from my lounger to bark at my children, I can’t help but think that I might have missed a trick. Truth be told I have probably missed rather a few tricks and conversations and jokes; for there’s nothing like a few sips of pink drink and quite a lot of UV to render oneself utterly gormless, illiterate (I have read 100 pages in two weeks) and nouveau thick. But it’s not my lack of grey cells that’s in question. The actual question is: after two children, rather a lot of crisps and my advancing years: should I ever appear in public in a bikini? I have always been a one-piece kind of girl. Even when I was slim as pin and could confidently sit up on a sun-bed and scoff down a Magnum without the chips of chocolate disappearing between the folds of flesh. Even then, despite my neatness, I was just not confident enough to sport a two-piece on the beach. I didn’t have the washboard stomach that was required. I wasn’t fat but I wasn’t flat and so I thought if I didn’t conform to the full Elle Macpherson experience then perhaps I should keep my curves to myself and, being fully aware of the sensibilities of everyone else on the beach, cover up accordingly. And so for the last twenty years I have always sucked it in and using various amounts of spandex, according to the various amounts of inches I’ve needed to control, I have nearly always lain there in a black (more slimming, or so you think) bandeau shaped one-piece. Then just the other day, actually yesterday, I realised I might have made rather a whooping mistake. I went to a pool party. It was rather a glamorous affair, with mojitos and grilled prawns and dance chunes around a stunning pools with views of over Ibiza. The crowd were all thirties and forties and there was much fun and games with plenty of ice-bucket challenging #hilare. Anyway through the running and the rum and the buckets of water and the people hurling themselves in to the pool, I suddenly realised I was the only one wearing a swimming costume. As I sat, sucking through my straw, watching the jolly japes I suddenly felt a little sad. All these women were the same age as me, all of them had had children and all them had varying body shapes: round, skinny, big boobs, big bums, dimpled thighs – and there they all were running and jumping and laughing in their two pieces. Boobs that popped out were posted back in. Bums that escaped were poked up. Tummies wobbled, thighs wiggled and no one gave a hoot. Least of all the blokes, most of whom where happily sitting at the table, glugging back the vino, their T-shirts off, scratching their hairy chests; all looking like they’d eaten a beach ball. Why had I been so paranoid for so long? Obviously some of the ladies looked better than others in their itsy bitsy, but because they were all confident and having fun and laughing, it didn’t really matter who was svelter than who. In fact, the more fun and the more they were laughing; the sexier they looked. Indeed the woman who’d have four children and whose bikini had seen better days was by far the most attractive of them all. It was like suddenly finding a photo of yourself twenty years ago when you realise you weren’t actually that bad-looking after all. If only you’d known! If only you’d had the confidence! If only I’d never ditched the bikini. What was I thinking? Who cares if I’ve had two children? Who cares if I don’t look like Elle? Who cares about any of it? Next summer I am definitely doing a two piece and I am going to wear it with pride!
Going South: One piece or two?
Imogen Edwards-Jones 29 August 2014