Withering Glance: Swimming costumes we have known and loathed

  • Article by: RICK NELSON and CLAUDE PECK , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 20, 2014 - 2:00 PM

Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

 

CP: They say women fret endlessly about the swimsuit, agonizing over whether there is a design that will turn them from Melissa McCarthy into Bo Derek. It’s time for the menfolk to cop to the same level of pre-beach anxiety.

 

RN: Thank you for ruining what was turning out to be an otherwise lovely, stress-free morning. I suppose your next suggestion is going to involve overhead fluorescent lights, a three-sided mirror and a pair of jammers. Thanks, but no thanks.

 

CP: I was maybe 8 years old the last time I had a swimsuit I loved. I recently came across a photo of me in it. I can only describe the style as a slightly baggy squarecut, a sort of textured white man-made material, with a red-and-blue striped waistband. Mildly patriotic and altogether winning.

 

RN: I may have had the same one.

 

CP: I wore it with pride on family outings to Tower Road beach on Lake Michigan. It’s been downhill ever since.

 

RN: The swimsuit of my youth only revives feelings of humiliation. It was my junior-high AAU swim team’s Speedo, and I’m ashamed to say that the pattern was called “Purple Island Bug.” I only remember the name, these 40 years later, because it was so traumatizing.

 

CP: Permanently scarred, I tell you. That’s what I was when, along with scores of other grade-schoolers, I was issued a black “tank suit” for wintertime swim lessons at the high school’s indoor pool. In that belittling outfit, I mainly recall shivering at water’s edge.

 

RN: You were a poolside foot-soaker? Yikes. We’re talking the subterranean depths of the chlorine club’s social hierarchy.

 

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