Read any good magazine or newspaper articles lately about getting your body into tip-top bikini shape?
It's a little early here for sarcasm -- I'm only mid-way through my first cup of coffee, after all -- but I couldn't help but notice that just about every publication I've picked up in the last few days seems to contain a piece offering advice on how I can whip myself into shape and finally have the hot beach body I deserve. It's the start of summer, so the deluge of "get yourself ready before you show some skin in public" stories really doesn't surprise me. These are what we in the writing business call "evergreens," those same ideas -- ideally packaged with a "fresh" angle -- that make their way into newsstand magazines each and every month. Summer issues, for most women's magazines, are that special time to zero in on women's body insecurities, offering up tips on not only how to change your body, but how to choose a swimsuit that minimizes your flaws, a cream that banishes your cellulite and, of course -- if all else fails -- a stylish cover-up.
If you read my post from Monday, you know that I've just returned from a week in Florida, where I did, in fact, appear publicly in a swimsuit -- and not even one specially chosen to minimize my "flaws." I spent about an hour in the water with my kids, flipping my son off my outstretched hands and swimming with my daughter on my back. It's one of my favorite memories from the trip.
There was a time, though, when I wouldn't have done that. I'd have sat by the side of the pool, shorts and T-shirt covering my suit, telling my kids that I just didn't feel like getting in the water. And as I looked around at the women sitting poolside, I found I could easily pick out the ones who I suspected loathed their bodies. It was written all over their faces, and in their body language. Those who did get in the pool? I didn't see any supermodels -- just plenty of normal, healthy women, each beautiful in her own way.
That's why this made me smile this morning.
The re-touching issue aside, I think we forget sometimes that the models we see in magazines and on television are doing a job. In their recent Huffington Post piece entitled Find Bikini Bliss, writers Jodi Lipper and Cerina Vincent advised women to "do your job, not a super model's" and reminded readers that it's a model's "full time job to look like that and you can bet that she works at it just as hard as you work at your job." My favorite line from the piece? "Until Heidi Klum is expected to know how to do your job perfectly, stop pressuring yourself to do hers."
Love that thought!
My bit of bikini season advice? Make this the year that you jump in the pool or play in the waves with your kids. Because in the end, I can bet that my kids don't remember -- or even care, really -- what I looked like in my swimsuit during our vacation. They only remember that I was there in the water with them.