Tuesday, July 06, 2010


The temperature here in Northern Virginia topped out yesterday near 100 degrees, with the humidity up near the triple digits as well. When it's that hot and muggy, there's only one thing you can do - think about ladies in bikinis.

Well, if you're a guy, of course.

I don't know how I possibly missed it, but yesterday was the anniversary of the day in 1946 on which French designer Louis Reard unveiled his shocking new two-piece swimsuit at a popular swimming pool in Paris. The two-piece bathing suit, which displayed far more flesh than any previous suit, was so daring and so scandalous for that still-conservative time that Mr Reyard couldn't find a professional fashion model willing to pose in it ... he hired a Parisian showgirl and "exotic dancer" named Micheline Bernardini, who had no qualms about appearing nearly nude in public. Reard called his new bathing suit the "bikini," after a U.S. atomic test that had been conducted at a Pacific atoll called Bikini earlier that week. This is Ms Bernardini modeling the first bikini:

And this is the effect that the suit had on the minds of many men:

Looking back from the perspective of the year 2010, when many bathing suits appear to consist mainly of string and bits of cloth left over from the construction of other garments, it's hard to believe that the original bikini was considered "scandalous." A thong bikini in 1946 Paris may have caused widespread fears of the impending end of the world.

The bikini has had all sorts of unintended consequences, including:

The growth of new industries like popular gyms;

The annual spring and summer spike in the sale of razors and depilatories; and,

The dreaded "Brazilian wax."

Anecdotal information blames the bikini for the summer spike in minor auto accidents caused by distracted drivers, and it is more than likely a contributing factor in the development of my chronic stiff neck. And many wives have glared - or worse - at many husbands over the years as a result of the overly-overt eyeballing of young ladies displaying acres of tanned, toned flesh barely covered by a bikini that would make the original Reard creation look like a burqa.

Bikinis. Just another reason to love summer. If you're a guy. Ladies, don't think we don't appreciate the show, and all the agony that goes into it.

Have a good day. Raise a glass to Louis Reard.

More thoughts tomorrow.



The Mistress of the Dark said...

Just an FYI bikinis are the reason most "real" women...you know the ones that don't weigh 105 lbs hate summer...well besides the 100 degrees.

someone remind me why I hated Snowmageddon?

Gotfam said...

On behalf of all women - i would like to have a word with the person that invented speedo thongs for men. Why is it that super hot women wear tiny bikinis...but hairy, large, sweaty men wear speedo thongs?
So unfair...

John said...

Another date that you missed from yesterday was shared by a FB friend..."On July 5, 1985 Dr. Emmett Brown set the flux capacitor 25 years into the future. Today is that day..."

Mike said...

God bless Louis Reard.

Bilbo said...

Andrea - I hear you.

Crissy - I'm with you. Years ago, when I was far more svelte than I am today, I had a skimpy, European-style bathing suit. Nowadays, I go for the max coverage...even I don't like how I look in skimpies.

John - I didn't realize...

Mike - I'm in the canonization voting line, and I'll save you a place.

Hanna said...

geee, i've never thot that the term "bikini" comes from an atomic explosion test.. history flashback! o_O
hmmm, i think the original brazilian bikini back in those days and todays microtini can be classified as the start of a new bikini sensation. they start off as scandalous then later on accepted as the new hip couture. just saying :D