Dear Auntie Seraphic,
Thank you very much for your blog! As an average single trying to make sense of life, I really enjoy the light-hearted humour of your reflections.
I was wondering if you could write sometime about the modesty of swimwear. As summer approaches, I find myself again asking myself whether or not bikinis are modest.
I want to wear one because (1) it might give me motivation to lose those few extra pounds and (2) I want to be as attractive as the other women at the beach or the lakeside Catholic BBQ.
Usually I find myself wearing a tank-top-and-shorts combo, which I suppose one could say is super modest but I still feel (perhaps erroneously) it is trendier than the one-piece bathing suit.
But what if I wore a bikini? Would men think, "Wow, she's gorgeous!", or would I be making it difficult for them to maintain purity of heart? Modesty is in part determined by social conventions, so perhaps men are just used to seeing women in bikinis and it's not immodest to wear them. I don't know how men think. I know I feel like I'm still a kid wearing my ultra-modest swimwear.
Dear Bikini Atoll,
Congratulations on being (almost) slim enough for a bikini. I was, too, betweeen 1997 and 2005. (Sigh.) I remember trying on a bikini for the first time at Bikini Village, looking in the mirror, and saying, "Nope. Can't do it. Can't show that much flesh to complete strangers."
Listen up, chickadee! There is nothing as attractive to devout Catholic men, the kind that you want to attract, as feminine modesty.
We wouldn't wander out in public in just our bra and panties, which is basically what a bikini is. A bikini is a lycra bra and lycra panties. It leaves very little to the imagination. And it usually demands shaving or waxing in uncomfortable places---and for what? Were he not possessed of the Beatific Vision, St. Augustine would be turning in his grave at the very thought.
Your tank-top-and-shorts combo, however, sounds very nice. I have one myself, in leopard print (probably because I have leopard-coloured hair). And I am most definitely not a kid.
I'll tell you what, though. If you feel that your tank-top-and-shorts combo is boring, why not look for a one-piece in a vintage 1940s or 1950s style? You'd probably find something you think feminine and fun and will stand out from the crowd. It is better to make people smile with interest in your fun bathing suit than to make their eyes fall out at the sight of your hot bod.
Men have such a hard time nowadays with custody of the eyes. Taking special care to be modest is a woman's gift to Nice Catholic Boys (and other Nice Boys of Good Will) everywhere.
Me, I never swim any more, and if I did, I would be sorely tempted to get a burkini, despite their ridiculousness, because I am so scared of the sun.
Incidentally, if you are seriously thinking bikini, you probably don't need to lose those extra pounds.
Grace and peace,
Update: Sunblock, people! Sunblock, hat, sunglasses, cute beach cover-up!!!