Ode to Skimpy Summer Clothes

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There are so many things to like about summer—the great weather, all that fresh fruit, home-grown tomatoes (they actually taste like tomatoes), Sunday night baseball on ESPN, the twilight that seems to go on forever…

And the skimpy clothes.

Revealing, unintentionally daring, did-you-look-in-the-mirror-
before-you-left-the-house clothes.

Speedos so tight you can tell if the guy is circumcised. Bikinis that cover the front of the breast or the side, but not both. Baggy shorts that let a ball or two lazily poke out when a guy sits down. Thin white cotton skirts that need a slip to be proper—worn without a slip.

Attractive people who show off their bodies enrich the visual landscape as surely as beautiful trees, classic cars, and a full moon.

The rest of us, not blessed with perfect bodies, do our part, too, in even more important ways. We validate each others’ right to have the imperfect bodies we do. We confirm the crucial idea that imperfect bodies are sexual and sexy—even if only to their owners and their partners.

So here’s to beer bellies, hairy backs, blindingly white legs, and stretch marks, butt cracks, and breasts that relaxed from their original position years ago. Summer’s the time they’re on display, and they’re all glorious.

And here’s to 40-year-olds who look like 40-year-olds, and 60-year-olds who look like 60-year-olds. They let us know what we can expect, that aging doesn’t mean that life (or sex) is over, and that people can retain their sense of personal style and entitlement no matter how old.

When you catch a glimpse of 60-year-old boob, ball, or butt and it’s, hey, not bad looking at all, be grateful. Keep looking. Look at every body that interests you—summer is one long passagiatta, a three-month festival of voyeurism and exhibitionism.

Do it politely, of course. Everyone knows how to do that. When you make someone uncomfortable with your stare or glare, you ruin it for the rest of us. So do it gratefully, not greedily.

Summer is when we remind each other that we all have bodies. We all have gender. We’re all just animals with credit cards.

It’s good to be reminded. And it’s good to look, to enjoy looking, and to enjoy being looked at. No matter what you look like.

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