For the past few years, every time I put on a bathing suit I have had to give myself the pep talk where I tell myself it’s not underwear and nobody cares. By the end, I convince myself that by European standards my swim attire is prudish at best, and that I am the Martha Graham of swimwear.
Whatever the case, I seem to blend in pretty easily at most swimming functions – so I guess the pep talk works. The thing is, I’m not over it by a long shot. Modesty issues aside, the casual use of bathing suits in social situations brings up the question of sanitation. One would not allow people to casually attend a dinner party in their unmentionables; the close proximity of under bits to food is just too icky. But it is absolutely ok to invite multiple people to stand around a barbeque in bathing suits –suits that are presumably soaked in urine (very likely if more than 5 people are swimming, and a mathematical certainty if children are swimming).
Conversely, I wonder why it is not socially acceptable to wear swimwear as underwear. I got to test this out once while on a beach vacation where I got violently ill to my stomach (Wait- How is that different from other vacations? – Nick). Long story short, I had to throw my underwear away and purchase bathing suit bottoms to wear under my dress for the shameful walk back to hotel. Maybe because I was still weak and dehydrated or maybe because I was still unsure of my bowels, but I recall actually enjoying the snug sense of security offered by the Nylon/Spandex refuge.
I guess what I’m trying to say is if we are going to make swim wear that looks like underwear, we should be allowed to wear it as underwear. Then we can be like super heroes all the time, ready for underwater adventures at a moment’s notice! Awesome, as long as people keep their underpants the hell away from my food.