Just When You Thought it Was Safe to Go Back in the Water…

July 16, 2008 at 2:39 am (Uncategorized)

I was actually intending to blog about something else today, but my attention was arrested by the disturbing spectacle of beach fashion that awaits just beyond my door. Good grief – what were they thinking?! It’s true that many sartorial laws are suspended in beachside suburbs, but please, people, some decorum! I think I’ve spoken before about the benefits of surf culture: in summer, I basically live in swimmers, sarong, and thong (not of the hungry bum, rather of the flip-flop variety). It’s fantastic, especially knowing the CBD is awash with people sweating in suits. La la la, I can’t hear you, I’m deafened by the noise of all those crashing waves… No, I’m not above feeling terribly smug about my tropical togs.
But let me disabuse you of the notion that there are NO rules by the beach. There is still a certain standard to maintain.

First, underwear is an unacceptable replacement for swimwear. Everyone can see your pubic hair through your saturated cottontails. And that lacy bra? It’s never going to recover from its time between the flags. I’m sorry that you didn’t bring your swimmers, but I’m afraid that’s just too bad. No disrobing for you. Unless you’re wearing swimmers underneath your clothes, you are just stripping in public. Free.

Second, pyjamas are for children, and for children’s bedtime at that. Adults have no place wearing onesies, not now, not ever, and certainly not during a stroll down at the beach. Pyjamas are not clothes. You know how I know? Because they have things like clouds, sheep, and stars with smiley faces on them, and because they’re made of flannel. Teeming pyjamas with a pair of Converse does not make you cool, it makes you homeless.

Third, leggings are not pants. You might think that no one’s noticing that you’re wearing toeless stockings for trousers, but you’re wrong, we’re all noticing. We’re all noticing because we can’t get the sight of your tights  sculpting themselves around your arse cheeks out of our minds. In fact, you’re like the Pied Piper. If you wear leggings instead of pants, you can expect to attract a crowd of loyal followers. We have no choice in the matter: leggings on their own are kind of hypnotic, in the sense that you just HAVE to inch closer to make sure you’re not mistaken, and that the woman in those high-heeled boots really isn’t wearing anything below the waist that could reasonably be considered clothing.

Finally, twins do not need to be dressed identically at any age. Indeed, during an outing to the beach, it is in the best interests of safety that you and the lifeguards are able to differentiate one child from the next. How do you keep an eye on them once they’re in the surf if they look exactly the same? You could easily mistake one child for two in those conditions; children have a tendency to keep on the move. What looks like Lola and Lily could easily just be Lily catching enough waves for two. Where’s Lola? Who knows. Imagine you need to put out an announcement to find Lola. You hold Lily in front of the lifeguard whilst he or she describes in detail over the louspeaker what missing Lola is wearing. You might think that this is where identical dressing comes into its own, but you’d be wrong, because although there’s no confusion about what Lola was last seen wearing, the second you leave the lifesaving tent after the announcement, every single person on the beach is going to rush you and Lily. And you may even be required to prove that Lily is in fact your daughter and you’re not a child killer. In fact, you’re the parent of a still-missing child. Lola. But Lily here, dressed and looking exactly like Lola, has a “boy who cried wolf” affect on the assembled crowd. People are lazy, so because everyone’s seen Lily, no one’s going to recognise Lola. “She’s that other kid,” they’ll say as she’s being bundled into the boot of a stranger’s car. “You know, the twin.” So no. No, no, no. Enough with the identically dressed children. Aside from all the safety features of independent dress, it’s also far creepier than it is cute to kit them out in the same clothes. I’ve seen identical twins dressed identically at I’m guessing sixty, and it is not good. It’s not good at all.

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