So what has happened to all the topless sunbathing on Mediterranean beaches?
I was recently speaking to a friend about our mutual joy of sunbathing topless and how last time I was in Greece - over 20 years ago, I had fondest memories of topless freedom. So back in the day, if you were respectful and on the 'right' beach your holidays would always, if you were so inclined, come to a glorious brown boobed end... and no white triangles disturbing the brown peace on my upper body.
So being here once again and really no one, not one female is feeling the need to remove her bikini top and the freedom that perhaps was once had is so really now gone.
I find myself reverting to defiant child mode and sneakily bagging the lilo, taking it a full 50m out to sea to remove my bikini top and exposing my boobs to a little sunnage .... whilst saving my children from the angst, embarrassment and possible humiliation of any judgement associated with "mi mam's boobs are out"! And so since putting fingers to keyboard for this blog I have been joined by three more females, all topless on their lilos ... I love this!
So when did this all boob browningness grind to a halt? Having lived in countries where it really is not 'de rigeur' to be obvious about one's body and showing of flesh I full understand the offence it causes in some cultures - I really get it and have been aghast at the lack of respect afforded by some nationalities when holidaying in said countries.
So why is is it just not like that anymore in the Westernized world? Has sunbathing topless become, like so much in the world fraught with a paranoid no's, social media angst or judgement. Much of it being the worse kind JUDGEMENT and that is of self?
Why do so many of us walk onto the beach, nervous at the prospect of being seen devoid of wardrobe body armour? We buy beautiful swimwear in anticipation of stepping onto the beach and then when we finally do feel the sand between our toes, there is this maybe shyness of being on show. Our wonderful bodies exposed in all their glorious individual format, with scars, dimpling, stretch marks and all the extraordinary shapes and of all sizes.
The most embarrassed I used to get was picking up my photos. If you didn't do Trueprint (you know the little crunchy envelopes in airport stands waiting to welcome you home with a cheap offer, if you could wait, of posted developed photos). Your holiday snaps would be handed to you with a cheeky knowing grin by the young guy serving you behind the photo shop counter, with full knowledge that you were one of those risque girls brave enough to go 'sans' a bikini top when on holiday.
So for me a trip to a beach in the height of summer is an encouraging, helpful and confidence saving experience ... us amazing women are all out there in all our beautiful forms of amazing bodily wonderment. Tight, wobbling, firm, less firm, glistening, brown, white, freckled, pink, tall, short, large, small, the whole gamut of human beings. So what has increased our self-judgement, our shame and awareness....? What is it that has changed so much?
Social media my friends, the fear attached now to the devices that accompany us everywhere is what is sending us all into a paranoid state of being in such a gorgeous natural environment such as a beach... the permanent awareness that affects so many on a negative level when a phone is bandied about. A 'happy holiday' scenic panorama photo of the beach can send us hiding our Factor 50 faces into our brightly coloured rafia beach bags, or affecting a 'look' with hastily put on sunnies or a quick ab crunch while said shot is taken..... ahhhhhhh!
And the thing is I really do not care, I am here to relax, to enjoy my children's company and to come back home feeling a little healthier, browner and relaxed. However there are new words in the English language and etiquette rules and it would seem as I was joyously loving the waves that presented themselves to us all on a Cretian beach yesterday... my bikini was not the best. I admit, for body surfing it wasn't great; bottoms a little large - hey hey and top a little revealing for delighting in the ocean surge....
*"Nip Slip Mum" came the charged call ...."Mum!" a whole load more loudly fired so soon after .... oh blimey, I thought, stop laughing and pay attention .... it was a brilliant proud Nip Slip I have to say and I was instantly transported back to a Greek beach in my early 20s. However my sweet memory was short lived as I tugged the offending bikini triangle back
into place... my joy in the waves slightly more measured by said bikini dysfunction as I tumbled, swam and smiled for the next hour still mindful of the term "Nip Slip" in this social media governed world ...
With love x