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Bikini dread. The very prospect of donning an itsy bitsy this summer has me resorting to increasingly desperate measures: renouncing sugar, rehydrating with water (not wine) and reacquainting myself with Ben Dunne. Carb-fed and cosseted for nine months, my body looks less of a temple; more of a garden shed. Not exactly the euphemism that should accompany a polka-dotted two-piece.
I don’t know who to blame - Coco Chanel for popularising the tan; or the Gallic duo who invented the two-piece in 1946. Noticeably absent from the blame equation, I see myself more as a victim than a perpetrator; notwithstanding winter’s ritual decimation of Jaffa Cakes. But I digress.
Although the bikini was said to embody the spirit of the modern woman: sexy, strong and emancipated; its scanty nature has since spawned a now near obsessive body-con culture. With only four weeks to go to my own Andalusian unveiling, the pressure is on and that size 10 just isn’t fitting.
I consulted my fellow villa goers for a plan B. “If in the unlikely event of a bikini togs being depressurised by your posterior, an oxygen mask will appear overhead,” joked one. “Seriously,” I begged; keen for a more helpful answer. “Just remember to secure your own mask first before attending to children. They’re the last ones to notice saddle bags anyhow.” Cue: smug peals of laughter.
Things were not looking good. Part of me longed to risk exposure for a deep Spanish tan; the other wanted to make like Nigella and wear a burkini. Those cut-out cardboard bodies they use at fun fairs also seemed appealing but my guess is they wouldn’t fare well in water.
“Why can’t you just find a happy medium and wear a one-piece?” enquired the third. “It’s the fantasy; the aspiration,” I replied. “Think of Bridget Bardot in And God Created Woman; or Ursula Andress as a Bond girl in Dr. No. You just don’t get that with an all-in-one.”
“If denial were an Amazonian sun resort, I’m sure they’d all be wearing two pieces,” quipped one of the crew, “the rest of us wear sarongs.” Perhaps I had been the more deceived by the ‘if it’s not Ben Dunne, it can’t be done’ slogan; or maybe I just needed to get real. Then again, I could just take the plunge and leave my neuroses poolside. Pah! Did someone mention a sarong?