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Bikini babe at 80

by Marlies Dekkers

Bikinis should only be worn by skinny young women, right? Wrong! My own mother proved that you’re never too old to overcome your bikini-fear.

“Marlies, thank you so much for the package, but you accidentaly sent me a bikini!” my mom sounded slightly panicked on the phone. Every summer, I like to spoil my mother and send her a box with my latest swimwear. Usually a bathingsuit, with a matching pareo, hat and bag. She loves the head-to-toe beach look and always looks like such a lady! But this year, I had decided to try something new and had included a bikini. “Mom, I think it will look amazing on you. Please try it.” During the protests that followed, I decided my mother was going to wear that bikini, no matter what.

My mother was born to wear a bathingsuit. I have a gorgeous picture of her, taken on the French Riviera a few years before I was born. You can tell the bathingsuit she wears is rather stiff and uncomfortable –as they used to be- but she is completely in her element. My working class mama channeling her inner diva.

So why would I try to pull her out of her comfortzone at 80? Well, first of all, I think you’re never too old to try something new. Secondly, there is just something so freeing about wearing a bikini. “You’ve always been covered up, mom. Just imagine the sun warming your belly!” I pointed out that it was a very modest bikini that offered a lot of support. She would only be showing a few inches of skin more than usual. She would still look like a lady. And so, after much harrassing, she gave in. She promised to bring the bikini to their usual holiday spot, a camping in Spain, and try it out.

Funnily enough, the first person I heard from was my father, not my mother. He was jubilant. “I get stopped an average of ten times a day by people telling me how amazing your mother looks!” My parents had been going to the same camping for decades, but apparently, my mother wearing a bikini made everybody see her through completely different eyes. Even my father had rediscovered her beauty. “I knew she was beautiful, but wow!” My mother laughed it off, but admitted: “You were right. I look good. And it’s the first time in my life that I have a tanned belly!”

That was two years ago, and my mother still loves to wear bathingsuits. But every now and then, she’ll put on a bikini. Just because she can.

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