Thank You Louis Réard

When I go on vacation I enjoy people watching as much as anything else.  Mostly while reading and drinking coffee (or beer depending on the time) by the pool.  You can use your imagination as to which people are most likely to catch my eye.  In my many trips, I have had many memorable experiences that I replay in my mind’s eye from time to time.  I thought I would share this one.

I was enjoying a bottomless cup of coffee, listening to an audio book and waiting for the bikinis to come out.  My shady perch happen to be near the storage area for the toddler lifejackets that the resort supplies.  While this was a complete accident I think I will remember this location for future trips.

There were very few people around; the lifeguards were not on duty yet.   The early morning breakfast rush was gone and most vacationers were out doing the tourist adventure.  However, a young mother with two toddlers and a babe in arms came to struggle with donning the lifejackets.  From the time they walked up to the time they scurried away was about three minutes.  She was wearing an odd swimsuit with a, all be it tiny, shirt-type top with very bikini bottoms.  The suit bottom was not the typical tight form fitting kind, but rather a bit baggy.  This will be important later.

I was certainly the only one to see this event.  They were 20-25 feet from me and she spent most of the time with her back to me.  When she was facing me, she was preoccupied looking down at the toddlers.  Thus, I didn’t bother with serendipitous glances.   I stared, otherwise, I might have missed the big show.

Her task was a difficult one.  While holding the babe in one arm she had to get the life jackets onto the two toddlers one handed.  So, she struggled in various bending over, squatting and other unintentional attention getting poses.  All the while the bikini bottom inched lower, covering less and less, as she was helpless to adjust it.  She was balancing the baby on one hip with its foot dangling behind her.  As the waist band drooped lower the foot began to catch on it and help it even further along.

Early in her efforts, the waist band had dipped and she had stopped to pull it back up.  But, after that first time she ignored it.   She was holding the baby tucked in her right arm and was leaning to the left to balance the baby on her right hip.  Most of the time the baby’s foot dangled right at the bottom of the young woman’s bottom, kicking her in a most interesting spot.  This in itself was worth watching.

In a moment, she was showing 1-2 inches of crack above the waist band, and she was standing straight legged with a slight bend at the waist, reaching down with her left hand to assist one of the toddlers.  The range of the baby’s kicks now reached as high as the waist band and things went from bad to worse for the young woman before she could react.  The baby kicked at the waist band, and now there were 3 inches of crack showing.  In the next instant a toe caught in the drooping waist band and when the baby straighten its leg, down the bikini bottoms went.

The woman tried reaching for the falling bikini bottoms, but her left hand was tangled in the lifejacket straps and could not be freed in time.  She instantly jumped her legs apart and caught them at the calf level, just below the knees.  From my vantage point I could not testify as to her natural hair color, but when she bent over with her legs splayed to grab them with her now free left hand all of her other secrets were revealed.  She pulled up the front and then the back.  Gathered the mass of toddlers, abandoned the lifejackets, and scurried away.  She did not turn back to look at me, though she must have known I was there and presumed that I saw it all.

I said a prayer for the soul of Louis Réard (1897 –1984), inventor of the bikini.

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