This post title is a homage to the track 'Red Bathing Suit' from the soundtrack to Little Children. It's honestly one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces of music ever written and I demand you seek it out. YouTube has failed me.
So, I guess you can guess what this post is going to be about. Yup, it's that time of year, the time when the fashion mags really go on the offensive. Asos is offering 15% off. Basically, it's time to buy your swimsuit.
Most women cry. Many women scream. Many women go on massive binges before saying goodbye to carbs for the next four months. Some women smile smugly at their jibbering wrecks of friends, knowing that all those hours in the gym and those two sprouts and nothing else at Christmas will all have been for something.
Yes ladies, the time has come to let it all hang out. It would be enough to strike fear into the hearts of any woman. As would the sight of the vast majority of the British male bathing population, who seem to think a keg (as opposed to six-pack) and a lobster tan is a sign of true manhood. Ugh, it's enough to put you off the beach all together. Never mind Jaws.
But I have decided that, should I go somewhere beach-related this year, I'm going to be wearing a swimsuit. An all-in-one. The kind of garment usually reserved for the over 50s and for those winning medals. Not the kind of garment for a not-overweight 22-year-old.
But, my friends, I had an epiphany last year. I was staying at the beach (in Britain, tough times) with a friend of mine who is an Ursula Andress to my slightly chubbier Molly Ringwald. She is toned, she is tanned, she has a cascade of luscious blonde hair. I seem to attract blonde-haired slim stunning friends. Walking along the beach, next to her in her itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny polka-dot bikini, I suddenly realised how hard it is to be a pale, not-Size-8 girl in a pale bikini. No-one wants to see that.
And so, this year, neither do I. If I will be taking to the beach I will be doing so with the reddest hair imaginable, the most toned legs, bum and arms I can muster, and the most impeccably cut swimsuit to hide my stomach, enhance my cleavage and basically transform me into something you would be happy enough to see emerging from the water; from Jaws or a Dr Who monster to Jinx or Honey Ryder (ha, like hell). The swimsuit has been for the past few years been mostly associated with the big beefy women winning the Olympics, but with designers opting for cutaway and cutout suits, the swimsuit is having a comeback. If you prefer to get a normal tan, a normal swimsuit will work just fine. It hides all manner of sins and, if you have an hourglass or pear shape, it draws attention to a tiny waist in a way that a bikini doesn't, but hides the fact that it may not be flat as a pancake.
For the bikini may scream 'holiday, celebrate' like no other garment, but even in as few clothes as that it pays to make them work for you, not the other way round. Yes, the bikini is tempting, and for the imaginative of us we can dream that it will turn us into something like these beach goddesses...
Bloody Helen Mirren.
But for now, I'm going to stick with the original and still the best. For great things have happened for women in swimsuits, in particular red ones. The late Farah Fawcett, for example, had this image of her in a red bathing suit become her most lasting and iconic image, as do the Baywatch babes.
But for me, the real appeal of the red bathing suit to real women is best demonstrated in Little Children, the afore-mentioned film which gives the post its title. In it, bored and neglected housewife Sarah (Kate Winslet) sees a red bathing suit in a catalogue and deems it the perfect item in which to seduce hunky neighbour Brad (Patrick Wilson). When she unwraps it, and stares at the thing of wonder in her hands, you see the hope for all womenkind; that this small, stretchy piece of fabric will transform them into something wonderful. And judging by the look on Brad's face as he surveys the sunbathing Sarah in red suit, it does.