The summer switch has finally been flicked in Perth.
It’s been a week of contradictions… I used my electric blanket in the same week I cranked the bejesus out of the aircon and all of a sudden I was forced to rethink my layering. It was bittersweet. I love nothing more than wearing a long-sleeved top underneath a summer top and finishing off with a rolled-sleeve denim jacket and a scarf. Now we suddenly have the weather for wearing not much more than a Pink Floyd singlet, ripped jeans, thongs and a trucker cap (I work in a very casual workplace, obvs).
OK, I don’t wear trucker caps. Not during the week.
Speaking of the aircon, I only realised I had one a couple of days ago.
It was devilishly hot on Wednesday, but as my building hadn’t had time to really marinate in the heat, I only really needed the fan. It wasn’t until Saturday, when things really started to get 37-degrees of uncomfy.
So, I rent my brother’s apartment and, jokes aside, I’m super grateful. However, it was clearly built before electricity was considered, you know, important. The current ratio of electrical appliances to outlets in this place is roughly 183:1. OK, so not quite, but it’s not that far off. There are a total of nine power outlets in the entire flat – none of which are in the bathroom.
I woke up pretty early on Saturday and was quickly sorting some laundry on the floor of my bedroom/living room – yes, it’s a bedsitter, or in real estate agent-speak, a ‘studio’ – when I noticed a cord which hadn’t been plugged into the power board (which powers two other power boards. It’s an OH&S nightmare), so I crawled over to see what it was even attached to.
I lead me up behind a dining room sideboard buffet (yes, in my bedroom) that is currently a glorified undie drawer and up to the window which I usually keep shuttered. I pulled on the cord which whizzed the timber venetians up and I was re-united with this tiny little air conditioner I had completely forgotten about. I immediately plugged it in and the whole flat was satisfactorily Arctic before I knew it.
By this time it was about 8am, still early enough to trot down to the beach before it got too thermonuclear. I went to dig out my bathers.
The usual spot, the not-so-always-worn lingerie drawer, next to the knicker drawer and the tea-towel-and-miscellaneous-wrapping-paper-and-sticky-tape drawer (the buffet has six drawers, the contents of which are almost embarrassingly unrelated), was sans bathers.
I checked every single plastic roller container (there are six) under my bed. No bathers.
I checked my backpack. Nothing (except for an unwrapped Snickers, thank you past me, well played)
I checked a big luggage-y bag which is underneath all the clothes hanging up on the skeleton racks… nothing but over-the-top sequinned party dresses.
There were simply no other places where my bathers could be.
I thought hard about the last time I even went for a swim. It was when I was in my cousin’s jacuzzi in Texas last year. Even then I didn’t have my bathers… I just wore a borrowed pair of her boardies and a singlet.
So I did the only thing I could think of: I rang mum. But not to ask if she had seen them.
‘Mum, would it be acceptable for a 38-year-old woman to swim at the beach in her undies and a singlet?’
She laughed, which suggested to me that was a no. But her alternative was far weirder.
‘It’s still really early, just go down and swim in a party dress,’ she said.
‘What, so it looks like I just came straight from a party and that I have a life?’ I countered.
‘Yes,’ she joked.
She even said I could be better off doing as the bogans do and wear a pair of my black jeans to the beach. Clearly this woman’s savagery knows no bounds.
I corrected her by saying that while, yes, this does occur at the beach, swimming in jeans is more likely at Serpentine Dam.
Also during this time I got a text from a very nice Man-Friend I am not-really-seeing-but-we’re-really-enjoying-each-other’s-company. He was already down at the beach. Like the very beach I was going to go to. Huh. Now I really needed bathers.
But my problem far exceeded my lack of bathers.
This was part of my exchange with Man-Friend…
What I needed was something like a Burkini.
Ladies, imagine this: Some lovely lad invites you down to the beach for a dip and not only can you say ‘hell yeah’, you can actually say ‘see you there in 10 minz’. Further, other than chucking some on your face and neck, you can leave the sunscreen at home.
I mean, a wettie is just as good, but even if they’re 1mm summer suits, they can get a bit hot to just sit on the beach wearing them. Not to mention they can cost a fortune, but in saying that, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has dropped a couple of hundred on a pair of bathers.
And for those who scoff at their sexiness, behold: Valerie Taylor and other random pictures taken from the Pinterest page ‘Wetsuits Should Be Sexy’…
But, this wasn’t helping me. Like bathers, I didn’t have a wetsuit either.
For a second, I looked at my black jeans.
Like I said, it was just a second.
Women’s surf retailer, Surf Gypsy sells some pretty rad surf leggings which look awesome and are described as ‘able to withstand the punchiest of beach, reef or pointbreaks’ are ‘double layered jacquard elastic waistband backed with lycra’ AND handcrafted in Australia. These sell for a pretty reasonable $129. What is disappointing is that they are only sized to a 16 but as one reviewer stated, they looked great on her ‘strong thighs and generous hips’. You could team these with a long or short-sleeved rashie or even just a separate bikini top which you might already have.
All I’m saying is, it’s a pretty good alternative for women who just want to go to the beach and not be dictated by dumb stuff that shouldn’t matter like hair, stretch marks or that tattoo of your ex’s name. More seriously, it’s a good alternative for those who prefer to be a bit more covered-up or need it because of religious or even sun-sensitive skin reasons.
To be honest, the reason why I didn’t go to the beach that day wasn’t because of the bathers situation, it was the sheer effort it was going to take to defuzz myself to an acceptable level. I couldn’t see myself leaving the house in less than an hour. Yes, it was a stupid reason, but it was still a reason. Even Man-Friend said ‘It’s so much easier being a guy’ before he said he was about to leave the beach and go get breakfast.
So did I go anyway? No. But I did go the next day. But I left for reasons other than my undies-and-singlet swimmers. The surf was already blown out, there were rips everywhere and I noticed more than one Boomer-aged man casually filming beachgoers for no good reason, something which felt more icky and uncomfortable than any hairy hamstring would. But that’s a whole other issue.
I think our bogan comrades have been onto something this whole time when they wore the original beach surf legging – black jeans.
For women who just want to jump in the car and go for a damn swim at a moment’s notice and not think twice about how they could be an extra on Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, could take a leaf out of the Book of Bogan and consider a pair of beach leggings, or hell, an actual pair of DILLIGAF black jeans.