What I Thought About Swimsuits in 1993

I’m a magnet for clutter. Paperwork seeks me out like a missile locating its target. On any given day, I feel that I must apologize for the state of my desk. And let’s not even discuss how badly I need to go through my files.

But as I was (finally) attacking some of the clutter, I came upon a couple of notebook pages of a journal-like entry dated May 1993. I was shocked to find I’d written almost 300 words about body image, modesty, and swimsuits. I decided to share it [with minor editing] here.

What I Thought About Swimsuits in 1993

I struggle with the fashion industry’s view of what clothes are to do. I thought clothes were to cover and enhance. Try shopping for a swimsuit with that in mind. Most swimsuits either look like they should be worn by your grandmother or a Sports Illustrated model.

So forget the grandma thing.

Everything else unveils rather than covers. I’d be afraid to jump into the water for fear that I’ll lose my modesty to the nearest wave.

Modesty is not big in the fashion industry. Suppose I wear an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny bikini. Does this actually enhance? I will now have to shave my “bikini area,” which always brings on a painful red rash hanging past my immodest bikini bottoms for all to see. I guess I could opt for electrolysis…yeah, right! Who said beauty was worth that kind of pain?! Who said a naked bikini area equals beauty?

Let’s go back to the modesty thing. Even if I solve the bikini area dilemma, I’m stuck with the constant game of tug and pull. I take a couple of laps in the pool, and as I’m leaving I’m pulling down the back of those bottoms, the bottom of my top, and up on the top of my bottoms. Makes you not even want to enter the pool.

If some other woman wishes to inflict self-torture, fine. But I quarrel with the fashion industry for not offering options.

I want swim shorts, like men. Speedos have been on the market for years, but most men opt for trunks. They won’t fall for that skimpy look thing. They demand comfort. Women demand tug and pull.

Well, they have swim shorts now. And swim skirts. Maybe someone in the fashion industry actually paid attention to what some of us wanted.

However, I still see the majority of women’s swimsuit departments inundated with swimsuits that neither cover nor enhance. Thankfully, I’ve learned a thing or two about shopping for swimsuits. Since it’s mid-June — and absolutely beach weather where I live — I wanted to once again share what I’ve written about modesty and swimsuit shopping:

What Does Modesty Look Like?

6 Questions to Ask about Your Swimsuit

Swimsuit Shopping (without Weeping and Wailing)

What about you? How do you approach modesty and swimsuits? Have you found a good solution? And has your opinion changed since 1993?

38 thoughts on “What I Thought About Swimsuits in 1993

  1. B

    Great post, J! I’ve never ever ever had a bikini body, so I’ve never really struggled with this issue. Even when I was on the diving team and life guarding in the summertime I didn’t have the hot summer body that most other women have. So yeah, I get the mom suit with the little skirt and the tummy coverage. My husband says that’s his favorite type of suit “it looks so cute” he says – yeah right. Don’t think I haven’t noticed him notice a bikini clad woman or two or three.
    I need to get over my envy. I live near a shore, so there are just thousands of beautiful, perfect, confident women strutting their stuff, and I struggle not to have it make me feel worthless. If I had just a shred of their confidence… Who knows.
    Honestly, I wish everyone would be a little more modest, I think it would help us all with our thought lives, no matter which issue you struggle with – male or female.
    What’s really sad is we don’t do much water related as a family anymore, because my husband says he hates how sad I get. I don’t say anything, so I’m not sure how he knows, but why wouldn’t I be sad? It’s like a constant parade of women taunting me saying “you’ll never be good enough!” as they parade around in all their perfectness.
    I miss the old days. Before I knew any better. 🙂 I used to be crazy good at water sports, beach volleyball, and I had so much fun. My husband claims I can hold my own with any woman out there, but let’s be real. Of course he’s gonna say that, men always say what they think you want to hear. Who wants to look all dumpy and frumpy, while you know your husband has to try insanely hard not to take in all the eye candy and wish he could dump you for someone younger and firmer. Talk about depressing! Then go home and try to be intimate without focusing on how he’s most likely imagining what he saw at the water park that day. It is just WAY. TOO. HARD.
    Ugh. Summer.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I hate that you’re keeping yourself from doing things you enjoy, because of body image. I say get out there and do the water stuff! It will feel good, keep you in shape, and give you and your husband a way to connect.

      Will he notice the beach bodies around? Maybe. But if he starts to look, remind him to keep his eyes on you and remind yourself he’s going home with you. (By the way, I’m pretty sure my hubby sees the shapely women in bikinis — he ain’t blind — but I know that he loves my body because that’s the one he chose, admires, and makes love to.)

      Finally, I agree with you that it would help a lot if everyone would aim for greater modesty and tuck more away. There are even guys whom I think should show less, thank you very much.

      Reply
    2. Jennifer

      B,
      I think you’re being way hard on yourself, us women tend to do that. We’re a lot more judgemental of ourselves than we are of others. No one has a perfect body and those women you are comparing yourself to have the same thoughts run through their minds. They compare themselves to the other bikini clad girls. Your husband chose you and it sounds like he wants you to enjoy your time with him at the beach. He just wants you to be happy. He probably loves the way you look and hates the fact that you don’t believe him. I have a hard time accepting compliments as well and my husband says it’s like a slap in the face when I don’t accept his compliments as truth. Will they notice others? Probably but if we’re being honest we probably do to, we’re only human, but just because we notice someone else for a split second doesn’t mean we want to trade our spouse in, I wouldn’t trade mine for the world.

      Reply
    3. Lindsay Harold

      I think it’s easy to assume when men look at scantily clad women on the beach that they’re lusting and we’re not good enough. However, for many men, that simply isn’t the case. They look because it’s hard to look away from a spectacle. Even I notice that I tend to stare at women with perfect bodies in skimpy bathing suits. And I’m not lusting. It’s like being unable to look away from a toddler throwing a tantrum or a car wreck in progress or something like that. Wearing that kind of clothing (or lack of clothing) is attention-grabbing by nature. It’s hard for any of us to look away. And men are even more programmed to look at a woman’s body than women are, so it’s doubly hard for them.

      So don’t assume when your husband looks at the scandalously unclothed women on the beach that he’s thinking about bedding them or that he likes what he sees there more than your body. It’s just a natural human response to look at something like that which is designed to grab our attention and is flaunting itself in his face. It doesn’t mean he’s lusting or comparing those women to you. In the end, he tells you he loves your body and he goes home with you. He chose you. Be happy about that.

      Oh, and it sure would be great if women would stop flaunting and seeking the attention of other women’s husbands and instead cover their bodies.

      Reply
      1. J Post author

        All true. Hey, I notice the guys in Speedos, because…yikes. But I don’t want them, believe me. 😉

        Reply
    4. Mark

      Wow. I don’t even know where to start here. Are you always this negative? Were you this negative when he chose YOU and married YOU? I can almost guarantee these “perfect” women have insecurites as well. How about we all stop comparing who is better looking, fitter, blah blah and live our OWN lives?

      As for modesty, I greatly appreciate women who choose this, even though it’s apparently very difficult to find modest suits. I applaud you. Thank you.

      As for him “wishing he could dump you” where is that coming from? Has he actually said it, or is there something on your part that believes that? I could type for days but I’ll stop for now.

      Just remember….”when the issue isn’t the issue….”

      And no, not all men “say what you want to hear”. Boys, sure. Men, eh, no.

      But I don’t know anything. I am just a single, never married, 38 year old.

      Reply
      1. B

        Hey Mark,

        Thank you for taking the time to reply. Do I feel negative? Yes, often. Do I talk about it a lot? Here, yes – in everyday life not so much. I try to hold everything inside.
        Did I used to be negative? Not so much. Not until I started reading about marriage and realized mine wasn’t typical. That I’m not as attractive to my husband as most wives are to theirs. This is evidenced by the fact that my “drive” is higher. Once I realized things wre backwards I stopped initiating, backed off, and I think he’s happier although he says otherwise to try to pacify me.

        I think you’d be able to understand the bikini body thing better if you were a woman. Try being compared day after day after day to perfection. It’s everywhere, all around you, at all times. You can’t fight it. You get older each day. Babies reshape your body. Perfect women got it, flaunt it, and laugh as you feel more and more inferior. Their confidence abounds as yours shrinks.

        Try being a teenager who has a great day with super high dive scores, to be told by your sisters “well you would’ve done better if you weren’t so fat.” Should I be over that by now? Probably. Am I trying to find my worth in Christ and not people? Desperately. Is it easy when you are reminded every holiday, summer, party, etc. what a “big girl” you are? Not so much.
        At 5’9″ and a size 8, a runner with long legs who makes a mean green smoothie, Im not actually all that fat. But compared to the women on both sides of the family who are 5’2, 5’4 – petite perfection at maybe 130 pounds – I will never be like them. I can’t shrink. It is what it is.
        You put on a bathing suit and have someone tell you “gee, that’s pretty, at least you don’t look as big as you normally do.” And see what that does for your self esteem.
        Couple that with a husband who says he loves you but falls asleep almost every night and seems perfectly content with a lack of intimacy, while everything you read says it should be otherwise, and then see if you feel confident and happy.
        Are my feelings wrong? Perhaps. But I need to work through them, and sometimes talking about it anonymously where I can just spill my guts without being judged too harshly is helpful to me.

        Reply
        1. J Post author

          I always find that height comment fascinating, because I’m not quite 5’4″ and I would love to be taller. I think the problem is often that we think the grass is indeed greener over there.

          Reply
    5. e2

      B,

      Insecurity is nothing but fear and fear makes us believe lies. We believe things that aren’t true and refuse to believe things that are true.

      You refuse to believe the truth of your beauty regardless of who tells you that you’re beautiful. If your husband says it, “he’s just saying what you want to hear.” When his co-worker said it, instead of believing the co-worker, you focused negatively on your husband’s lack of response. (And even though the co-worker noticed your beauty, you refuse to believe the truth that other men notice you; I guarantee they do.) When your husband sees another woman, you assume and believe the worst possible things; that he prefers short brunettes to tall blonds, that he wants to dump you, that he wants to marry someone else, that you’re no good. None of this is true, but your insecurity manufactures the worst case scenario and you run with it and cling to it.

      You believe those bikini-ed beauties are “confident.” Not true. They hate their bodies every bit as much as you hate yours. I’m in my seventh decade of life and I’ve *never* known a woman who liked her body, no matter how beautiful she was. You believe they are are “taunting [you] saying ‘you’ll never be good enough.'” I guarantee many of them are looking at you and envying your height or your blondness or your size 8ness.

      Your husband met you, fell in love with you, chose you, married you, and comes home to you. **He prefers you** but your insecurity won’t allow you to believe this truth. He tells you you’re beautiful and that he loves you, but your insecurity tells you that he’s just telling you what you want to hear. If he didn’t say those things, your insecurity would tell you he doesn’t feel them. He can’t win.

      Recently, you told us your husband enthusiastically encouraged you to wear heels to a social outing. That tells me he *loves* your height. I, too, think that there are few things sexier than a tall woman confidently wearing heels.

      The biggest lie insecurity tells us is that, if only our circumstances changed, we would no longer be insecure. If only young beauties covered up. If only your husband didn’t see what’s right in front of him. If only he didn’t say “I love you” so much that you’ve stopped believing. If only…

      The only way we win over insecurities is to refuse to believe their lies. When your husband says, “I love you,” choose to believe him instead of your insecurity. When he says you’re beautiful, choose to believe him. When he sees another woman, refuse to believe the lie that he no longer loves you and prefers whatever happens to be in front of him at the time. When you’re making love and his eyes are closed, refuse to believe the lie that he’s thinking about someone else. He’s not. He’s focusing on the pleasure he’s feeling with you, right now, at that moment. (I know this because I do the same with my wife.)

      Refuse to believe the lie that, if only your husband would change, you would no longer be insecure. It sounds from your many posts as if your insecurities pre-dated your marriage. I doubt that any change on his part would have any effect.

      I’ve shared before that I see a lot of myself in you, being insecure about my wife’s love because of her low sexual desire for me. I have learned to refuse the lies my insecurities tell me. I now choose to believe she loves me even though her hormonal libido is weak. I no longer associate her low desire with a lack of love. But, I also see a lot of myself in your husband. I, too, see other women, but I *never* lust after them; I *never* prefer them to my wife; and I *never* wish I could dump my wife for a younger firmer model. I’m confident that your husband feels the same.

      Choose to believe him. Stop believing your insecurities. It’s your choice, and you have to make it moment by moment.

      Still praying for you both.

      Reply
  2. Jennifer

    I have the swim shorts and a tankini top. My tops design is pretty outdated so I will probably have to get anorher one but I’m holding on to my shorts for dear life ! Lol! The ones I have aren’t skin tight, and super comfortable. I found it at a store a couple years ago and that store has since went out of business so I will keep them as long as they are still in good condition (luckily we don’t go to the beach all the time as we have to drive about an hour to the nearest lake and we don’t care for public pools). It’s hard to find the suit that makes you feel comfortable, secure, and also a little fashionable but when you do, cling to it 😂!

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Indeed! Though I’ve, unfortunately, changed sizes in the last couple of years, so I had to buy a new suit. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Eric

    J & the other ladies wondering how to find a decent swimsuit: For about a week I’ve been plagued with an ad for Walmart’s “Suddenly Slim” Catalina Retro bathing suits. Don’t know why Walmart is pestering me with this, though it began right after I tried to find a much different Walmart product. Here’s the addy [link redacted]. Hope it solves someone’s problem.

    I do have an observation re what men (this man, at least) notices on a beach. We do live near Lake Michigan, with miles of some of the best beaches in the world–uncrowded and uncluttered, though there are usually a few dozen college girls and teens in bikinis floating around. They’re ALL forgettable. Ho, hum. Yawn. Change the channel. Old cars at a show are more interesting than most young women on a beach. The only girly beach scene I remember was a tussle between a young mother and her daughter of about two who wished to be naked, since a boy of about three was naked in the lake. The toddler won the tussle, after about three times shedding her diaper, sodden with lake water (YUCK), and the cute couple paddled nude in the edge of the lake under the watchful eye of their parents.

    But I’ll admit, I do notice them. Men were made by the Lord to notice female bodies. Lusting is another matter. Mathew 5:27-28, what Jesus said about lusting, is so often quoted out of context (Jesus was speaking of divorce–read the verses that follow) that it would seem that we all should become monks or hermits. I much prefer my wife , nearly 80, naked in bed with me, than any girl I’ve ever seen anywhere. Nowadays, though, girls’ tattoos can be interesting. No need to visit an art gallery.
    Eric

    Reply
  4. A

    So … what do you do when it’s your Christian husband pestering you to wear the bikini? This is my 15-year struggle around modesty in general.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Um, say no. Wear a bikini in the back yard with him only and nice lingerie at home, but explain that you want to keep that view for him and him alone.

      Reply
      1. Eric

        I agree with J. But couldn’t you find a creative way to entice your hubs into not fussing when you are in public and wear a suit that covers you up? If you have a big back yard, and no serious mosquito problem, you could buy a big wading pool (Walmart?), and invite him to join you skinny dipping after dark when the kids are asleep. If this isn’t feasible, I’m sure you can think of something.

        I do like to show my wife off–but I do it by encouraging her to dress UP–not DOWN!

        Eric

        Reply
  5. libl

    I have a different body image issue. I can, shape-wise, wear a tug and pull bikini, but I have a skin condition that has left my back quite scarred and still flares up. No typical bathing suits for me.

    It used to bother me greatly, but thanks to advances in swimwear, I have a solution. Surfing shirt and swim skirt!! I get so many compliments, hubby thinks I look cute, and I can run after my kids all day with no wardrobe malfunctions.

    Sure, hubby would love to see me flaunting my figure in an itty bitty bikini. He also thinks it would be a turn on for me to flash my breasts at mardi gras and earn beads. Neither are going to happen, but he gets ample opportunity to indulge in my body at home.

    A friend posted a picture of her overflowing her bikini top on Facebook recently and it did hurt to see it, but I yam what I yam.

    I would rather be remembered for something other than how my boobs didn’t quite fit in my bikini top, and I certainly don’t want my friends’ husbands being distracted by me.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I’ve seen those swim shirts and think a lot of them are cute! Given how easily my shoulders burn, maybe I should check that out.

      Reply
  6. A

    I think if you make wearing a bikini/seeing women in bikinis a big deal, it is. If you don’t, it’s not. Not all cultures make it an issue of modesty, for many people it’s completely normal (even for women who don’t have a typical bikini figure).

    The modesty discussion rarely touches on the fact that men are shirtless at the beach (in general – this is a blog geared towards women so I wasn’t expecting you to talk about it). I notice and enjoy looking at an attractive man and I’m sure other women do too. But I don’t think that’s evil or the same as lusting. So why do we think if men do that, they’re lusting?

    My point is, I think in the modesty discussion there’s a double standard for men and women’s attire, and also some incorrect ideas about what modesty/lust are.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I do understand that culture determines modesty somewhat. I certainly remember going to church camp as a teenager, where we had strict rules about what we wore down to the river to swim and about keeping boys’ and girls’ swim times separate. Which made sense to some folks, I suppose, but coming from a beach town? Our youth group thought that was weird. We might well have been in swimsuits at the beach together one week before, then we couldn’t even flash a knee at church camp.

      Reply
  7. Fleur

    I wore a school uniform for 12 years that was intended to be modest. I’m not sure that simply dressing modestly keeps others from having lustful thoughts. I also have loved being by the water and was a competitive swimmer for a few years. I received more inappropriate remarks in my uniform than I ever did in my swimsuit.
    I generally prefer one pieces. I’m on the busty side…there is only so much one can do in a swimsuit to cover that up. Swimsuits just like clothes can present a different look depending on the body that is wearing them.
    I’m married and have two teens, one boy and one girl. If my husband and son are at the pool I honestly really don’t think much about what other women are wearing, or if my husband or son are noticing them. My daughter also generally wears one pieces. It honestly sort of offends me to imagine that people could possibly thinking about my daughter not being modest enough for their taste, or that she might be “flaunting” or attention seeking.
    I sort of agree with A’s comments, especially the double standards.

    Reply
  8. muna

    What a hilarious post! I have given up on finding a swim suit that covers because I don’t think the goal is to cover at all. And speedos on guys! Ugh! The standard is definitely different for men and women, men can look comfortable but women are expected to look beautiful even at the expense of our comfort. I believe that things that should be covered up should stay covered, this is not even for the sake of those looking at us but to honor the One who we serve. I don’t care what the world’s standards are, we are not to conform to them anyway.

    Reply
    1. e2

      muna,

      You wrote, “men can look comfortable but women are expected to look beautiful even at the expense of our comfort.”

      Who says? Who expects that of you, and do you care what they expect?

      Fashion designers? Why let them dictate your appearance and comfort?

      Other women? Why let them judge you?

      Your husband? Does he tell you how to dress at the beach? I learned a long time ago there is nothing to be gained by telling a woman how to dress.

      I know it’s easy for you ladies to feel as if you are “expected” to dress a certain way, but ask yourself. Who is really expecting this of me, and do I care what they think? You might find that the expectation isn’t as real as you may think.

      The best thing I ever saw in terms of feminine swimwear (in both appearance and comfort) was about 40 years ago when my college friends (male and female) all went swimming in tank tops and cutoff jeans. It was comfortable and nobody was tugging at wedgies. And, nobody cared who was looking at them or what they might have been thinking. It was liberating.

      Reply
  9. Anonymous

    @ B,

    If it helps (and I hope somehow it does?), different men find different proportions of the female form appealing. This was highlighted in a British documentary called “Secrets of the Sexes, Brain Sex” (part 2) I saw recently, where a number of men each modified a 3D female computer model to illustrate what their personal ‘ideal’ mix of proportions/features looked like. Guess what? Every one of the men ‘created’ different body shapes. The fact that there was such a wide variety of “ideals” among men proves that the media is lying when they (for the most part) claim a singular type of body shape as the definition of beauty. It doesn’t mean that a healthy female weight is never noticed by men or important–it is–but it helps explain why husbands are often telling the truth about how beautiful they find their wives to be.

    As far as intimacy goes, suffice it to say that some men’s libido simply drops as they get older–testosterone typically drops 1% per year after the age of 30; so it might not have as much to do with you as your husband’s natural aging process. There may also be other factors affecting your husband’s libido–even untreated sleep apnea can affect it.

    If it’s any consolation, guys also struggle with body image, and other issues. I certainly do. I feel awkward and conspicuous with my lanky, disproportional height (almost 6 ft. 5 in.–people often find it intimidating), dislike my “tree trunk” neck, saggy shoulders, asymmetrical face, and bulgy ‘love handles’ even though I’m not overweight. I have social anxiety disorder, and a ‘baby face’ which I’ve been told is not attractive to most women. To top it off, I struggle with gender dysphoria (in part, because I keep seeing evidence that there are many things about men women simply find undesirable). Needless to say, I’m hardly a magnet for women or marriage one day. Not very encouraging to an over-the-hill single guy.

    @ Fleur,

    Also wore a uniform in two British-based high schools overseas for six years. I can tell you that the girls (whose uniforms were also very modest–long-sleeve shirts, long skirts, ties, and blazers) were still every bit as desirable and potentially ‘lustable’ (for lack of a better term) to us similarly-dressed guys. Guys can lust over a gal in overalls–to my shame, I’ve done it. My point is that lust is a heart issue NOT directly linked to bikinis or other dress. Perhaps I’m a messed up guy, but I honestly struggle more with lustful temptation over very modestly dressed Amish gals than I do with girls who are trying to ‘flaunt their stuff’. Why? Because that flaunting attitude is a big turn off to me. Women I admire most are those who are sincere, modest, respectful; who know their own inner and outer worth but don’t flaunt it. Their beauty speaks for itself, and believe me–it speaks loudly.

    @ A,

    On double standards regarding men’s and women’s attire–good luck sorting this one out, since while most men share similar enough temptation(s) on the basic female form, that is NOT the case with women in regards to men and their physicality. There is a significant disparity among women in what they find appealing about men (if anything). Read enough comments from women themselves on this issue, and you’ll find that it’s true. Some women are indeed highly visual regarding men, but most have zero desire to see a man in anything other than perhaps a full head-to-toe military uniform–if he’s lucky.

    Reply
    1. e2

      One problem with studies like that in the British documentary is that it leaves the impressions that (a) a man’s taste in women is static and (b) his sexual and romantic attraction is driven largely by her appearance. I have found neither to be true.

      I married relatively late in life, near 30, and had had several girlfriends before meeting my wife. I dated (and fell in love with) girls tall and short, red-headed, blond and brunette, large and small breasted, long and short legged. None of it mattered. None of them were more or less my “type.” I loved them for reasons other than their physical appearance and, being in love, I found them all beautiful.

      I feel for B because her fears tell her that her husband likes a specific type and that she’s not it. I won’t try to speak for all men, but for me, it just never worked that way. Based on what B’s husband has told her, I suspect it doesn’t work that way with him either, but he just can’t convince her of it.

      Reply
      1. B

        @e2,

        Thank you for your replies. You are correct, my husband cannot convince me he finds me attractive, nor should he have to try. I feel badly that he feels a need to try to convince me of things that are not true. It’s hurtful to have a husband that prefers another “type” – to know that I will never be what he longs for – but it is what it is and I am learning to be happy anyway. You see, actions speak much louder to me than words.
        When my husband had a very hard time checking out other women in front of me, they never looked like me. He is a good man who now tries not to overly-admire other women in front of me. However when it did and does happen, they are always perfect, petite, tiny brunettes. I am tall, athletic, and blonde. So I do not fit his ideal of beauty, nor will I ever. If he had participated in that British study referenced above, he would not have picked me as his “ideal” in 100 tries!
        I more resemble a Kate Upton in size, shape and coloring (I’m nowhere near as beautiful as she is, but I am big like her). My husband very much prefers the Kate Middleton type. Tiny, brunette, beautiful and perfect. I am not that and I never will be. My poor husband got stuck with the wrong “Kate”. Oh well. I am learning to accept that he loves me, and if I never know what it’s like to be beautiful to my husband, well, that’s just how it is I guess. I don’t really know what else to say. We are happy for the most part.

        Reply
          1. B

            Ironically (because of the topic of this post) my husband and I met on the beach. I was working, he was vacationing.
            However, according to my bro-in-law, my husband went down to the beach to ask out another girl. When he couldn’t find her, he asked me out instead. Did I mention she was brunette, tiny, and perfect? She was another resort guest (who strutted her perfect body around in her tiny bikini. No wonder my husband was actually looking for her. I was just the frumpy lifeguard in the one piece suit). I didn’t know (at the time) that I was a consolation prize, and so I agreed to go out with him. I was very interested in him and could not believe he wanted to take me out. It wasn’t until a couple years into our relationship that my bro-in-law revealed the truth. My husband disputes all of this, in an attempt to spare my feelings, but why would my bro-in-law lie? He doesn’t care about my feelings, so he just tells it like it is.
            We had a lot of fun together when we went out. I was a LOT more laid back then, when I was still naive and gullible. I guess my husband was interested in the fun we had together. My theory is, it wasn’t until after we were married that he realized he’d be stuck with his athletic blonde wife forever, thus having to forsake all petite, perfect brunettes, forever. Now the poor fellow is stuck. We still have fun, and we do love each other. It’s just a shame that he will never know the thrill of being attracted to his wife, and I will never have the joy of being pursued and desired and found beautiful by my husband.
            But as I said, it is what it is, and I am learning to accept it. If you’ve read my comments from the past, you’ll see that I was bitter. I am much happier now that I’ve decided to try my hardest to make peace with this fact, and to look for my worth in Christ, and not in man.

          2. J Post author

            If your brother-in-law is anything like mine, he might say something like this just to get a rise out of you. Just sayin’.

          3. e2

            B,

            Please indulge me with one final comment, and I promise I’ll leave you alone.

            As I have read your posts over these many months, my heart weeps for you. Yes, it’s good to accept the things you cannot change, but I sincerely believe in the depth of my heart that you are accepting a lie.

            If your husband went to the beach looking for a petite brunette, there is no way on this earth he would have approached you, dated you, become engaged to you and married you. No way, no how. He would have just moved on to another petite brunette; there are plenty of them out there. Do you honestly believe the pool of attractive women is so shallow that he would settle for someone he believed was so totally opposite of what he really wanted?

            I’m with J on your brother-in-law. It seems there are people in your extended family who, for reasons known only to them, enjoy making you even more self-conscious about your body shape and type, telling you you’re too tall or fat. Like a shark smelling blood, they seem to smell your insecurity and enjoy feeding it.

            The truly sad thing is that you believe everything they tell you because it matches your self-image narrative. But you disbelieve everything your husband says because he’s “trying to spare your feelings.”

            Yes, I agree that actions speak louder than words, but I have learned first hand that actions are sooooo easy to misinterpret, especially when I interpret them through the filter of my own love language.

            My love language is physical affection; my wife’s is acts of service. When she can go weeks without kissing me, and *never* seeking a kiss from me, I misinterpret that inaction as a lack of love. But, she loves me deeply as she shows through other actions consistent with her love language (which don’t speak love to me no matter how much she does them). And, like your husband, she tells me with words that she loves me. Like you, my knee jerk reaction is to disbelieve her words and look to actions that don’t speak love to me, even though they scream love to her.

            I honestly believe you are misinterpreting your husband’s actions and his repeated pleas for you to believe his words are falling on your deaf ears. So, you end up believing misinterpreted actions and not believing his clear words. This can only have a negative effect on his libido. I would have a real hard time wanting to make love to a woman who didn’t believe me when I told her she was beautiful. To not believe a man is one of the more painful things you can do to him.

            Please let me say with all the Christian love I can muster that Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:7 that love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” To love someone means to believe what they say, *even if it turns out later that they were lying.* To love someone means to believe the very best of them.

            I have had to learn to trust my wife when she says she loves me even though her sexual behavior tells me that that she does not. In love for her, I am choosing to believe her words even though my emotions don’t want to. I am choosing to believe her because that’s what love does. It “believes all things.”

            I would prefer to believe her and be wrong than not believe her even though I might be right. It’s better for *me* to trust in love rather than doubt in an effort of self-protection. When you say you are accepting things as they are, I believe you are simply trying to protect yourself from emotional pain rather than running the risk of being vulnerable and believing what your husband tells you.

            No, his libido isn’t where you would like it; neither is my wife’s. But, there are a zillion explanations for this other than your physical attractiveness, things like work stress (you say he works long hours), fatigue, possible depression, and the miscommunication that comes from both of you wanting sex but neither of you mentioning it to the other. If only you would give yourself and your husband the grace to consider these other possible reasons for your sexual issues rather than believing the lie that your husband finds you unattractive.

            I pray you will take a chance and believe him. Yes, he may break your heart, but that’s the chance love takes. It’s better to love him by trusting him than to protect yourself from pain by not loving him through trust.

            Okay, I’ll leave you alone, now. I pray you and your husband find more than acceptance of being stuck with each other. I pray you both love each other enough to trust each other and surrender your hearts to one another.

            God bless you both

  10. R

    I don’t have anything against bikinis or people who wear them. However if its the smallest scrap of cloth held together with dental floss, then its a problem. A lot of young girls mistakenly believe that the more skin you show the more beautiful you are, and as they grow older their thinking doesnt always change, hence their choice in swimwear. For me, comfort is key. I have worn a few bikinis in my life, quite modest as far as bikinis go, but being a bit taller than most women, swimsuit shopping is a nightmare and i’m not a big fan of shopping to begin with. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what it looks like, so long as i am comfortable in it and it properly covers what it needs to, i’m okay.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Yeah, just saying “bikini” doesn’t necessarily tell you enough. I’ve seen one-piece swimwear that’s far more revealing than some bikinis. I certainly know that two pieces are helpful when you are two different sizes up and down.

      Reply
  11. Eric

    I recommend, especially to those of you who (like me) are relatively new to J’s blogs, to click on What Does Modesty Look Like? , a blog of several years ago, which she has highlighted in her blog, above. Read it, along with all the comments. It answers most of the issues raised here re bikinis, etc. and much more thoroughly. Most of the comments were well thought out, to the point, and they do apply to bathing suits.

    My wife and I went through the “short skirt” thing a couple of months before we married. She’s been bigger than average in the rear (I love it!) since she was a teen, and she had a wardrobe of nice skirts, several of which slid up above her knees if she sat on a couch, that let her down a bit too much–with a view-line nearly to her crotch (she wore “granny pants”). I objected, and she’d have broken our engagement if her father, older and wiser, hadn’t had a talk with her. The skirts went, and we were both happier–for 53 years and counting.

    But re bathing suits: dress to please your husband UNLESS it violates your conscience to do so. As a teen who grew up on a farm, we guys went au naturel in the creek (no girls allowed); some of the girls did this too (no boys allowed). Privacy was respected all around. This is a different world, of course. But I do recommend skinny dipping for couples who have a private place to do it. The notion that naked is naughty except in the bedroom is baloney. It’s fun–unless of course you’re still not comfortable with DH seeing you nude, and you need to make love with the lights off.
    Eric

    Reply
  12. Lynn

    I bought a Miraclesuit one-piece for my first vacation with my husband, didn’t wear it again until our first anniversary when we went to a hotel with a pool. Pretty expensive for wearing it 3x, but worth every penny for my memories of the look on his face. And I am 5’4, weighing 170. (Yes, he’d like me to lose a little, and I’d like to lose a little, but in the meantime, we enjoy what we have.) Today, coincidentally, is our 22nd MONTHiversary. Second anniversary coming up in August! I’ll bring the suit out again!

    Reply
  13. nylse

    All I know is that with hot flashes, the older I get, a bikini is seeming more fitting. I’m confident with my body, love the way it looks and carry myself that way…but I’ve never worn a bikini; I have worn a tankini.
    I’m from an island; when one goes to the beach it’s too get cool. No one’s really thinking about modesty.

    Reply
  14. B

    @e2, this is in reply to your last comment to me. First of all, thank you for taking the time to write it! It was very thoughtful. It’s given me some stuff to think about.
    Perhaps I have a warped way of thinking. In my experience, people only say kind things and flattering things when they want something. People are much more real when the things they say are negative, or even cold. After all, the truth hurts, right? Maybe it’s the people I’ve known, maybe it’s the area of the country where I live. But that’s always been my experience.
    Words are not my love language. In fact, they bug me and kind words make me very suspicious. Maybe you’re right, maybe it’s a self preservation thing. Or, maybe I’d rather deal with reality than get lost in the delusional world of flattery.
    I do love my husband and I think I have been very blessed that God brought us together. I do have a hard time believing that he could love someone like me. I’ll admit that could very well be a huge flaw on my part. It’s so much to think about. Thank you for the reply.

    Reply
    1. e2

      B,

      You wrote, “In my experience, people only say kind things and flattering things when they want something.”

      Okay, let’s go with that. What does your husband want when he says “I love you,” or “you’re beautiful,” or when he says he’s attracted to you or loves seeing you in high heels? Is it possible that you may want the same thing?

      Reply
  15. Mychele

    I have swim shorts and a high neck tank from Lands’ End, which I love. I have a hard time understanding why a woman would wear a bra and panties (aka bikini) in public. Thankfully, my husband isn’t much I to the beach, so we are rarely around that environment.

    My father in law is the most conservative person I know. My rule of thumb is that if I’d feel weird wearing a shirt, dress, swimsuit, etc around him (or it would make him uncomfortable), then it’s probably not appropriate in public.

    Reply

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