Am I the only mom in America who believes that children's clothing is being designed by pedophiles? Have you gone swimsuit shopping with your daughter lately? If not, you're in for a rude awakening this Summer at the pool.
Among the 8 or so girls at our neighborhood pool this weekend, aged 10-15, my daughter was the only one not wearing an extremely small string bikini. This isn't just the mom prude in me talking, these were extremely small bikinis especially for girls who aren't even old enough to have a job and buy the tiny things themselves. That's right, somewhere out there are parents who think their girls look acceptable in hankies held up by dental floss. I'm not sure if the parents are clueless, actually approve of the sexualization of their children, or simply were worn down by the lack of alternatives in girls' swimwear. I'm praying for the latter.
This weekend, it took us close to two hours to find a suit modest enough for my 12 year old to even consent to trying it on. She finally found a very cute one piece with a matching cover-up skirt and was thrilled that it fit. She looks adorable, and comfortable. She was the only girl under the age of 25 this weekend in a one-piece. She was also the only one who didn't spend the entire afternoon pulling, tugging, fidgeting, and crossing her arms over her belly in an unconscious attempt to cover herself. She swam and dove; they bobbed awkwardly and hung on the wall.
Then there was the poor young woman I scarred for life. She wore a tiny striped bikini which was slung low on her hips. Clearly visible from across the pool where I sat with a friend, was an inch of pubic hair rising up over the top of the front and an inch or more of butt crack in the back. If I could see it on the opposite side of an Olympic sized pool, imagine how much better the view for the teenage boys she was standing in front of and with whom she was awkwardly trying to flirt. Her crotch was at their eye level as they sat in the beach chairs. Somehow I don't think they remember much of what she had to say.
As she walked by me to the bathroom, I decided that I had to let her know how exposed she was. I would tell her if she had lipstick on her teeth, and this was a bit more embarrassing. I waved her over as she got near me and whispered, "You might want to tighten your bikini bottom a bit. You've got pubes showing." I've never before actually seen anyone turn that shade of red outside of a cartoon. At least she had the good grace to be embarrassed by her nakedness. All I could think was "where is your mother, and has she seen you in this suit?"
The next time I saw her, I worried that she might lose circulation in her legs from how tightly she was now tied. She blushed every time she saw me, but made no extra effort to cover up other than flipping up the tag in back to cover the top of her crack.
I wish I knew her mother. I'd have a thing or two to say to her. Helpful things like "if your daughter has to use the tag to fully cover herself, perhaps the suit is too small" or "if you're going to let her dress like a slut anyway, you might as well go whole hog and get her a Brazilian wax so that no one else notices how low the front of her bottoms actually are."
As for me, I'm off to hug my own daughters who insist on coverage, modesty, and functionality in a suit, and to thank them for being the lovely girls they are instead of the tramps the world wants them to become.