After a bit of a grey week, wall to wall sunshine on a Sunday can mean only one thing: a day at the beach. It’s great how quickly I’ve become a regular at my particular part of the Copacabana. My chair guy waves to me as I stand waiting to cross the road and my lounger is waiting for me by the time the lights turn red. At around £1 for a days rental, plus £1 for my chilled fresh coconut, a day at the beach is very inexpensive. No sooner am I comfortable in my spot, than the beach vendors approach. I am constantly amazed at the selection of items for sale. All of the usual beach paraphernalia – glasses, hats, sarongs, jewellery, swimwear – plus selfie sticks, paintings, whistles, T-shirts, bags and even rugs. Even more amazing is the vast selection of food and drink – pies, pasties, trays of watermelon, crisps, nuts, prawn skewers, beer, cocktails, sandwiches, ice cream, acai – and even guys dragging around small charcoal BBQs to grill cheese kebabs. Everyone approaches and everyone moves along if you are not interested. It’s very polite and very friendly and that’s because people do buy and the vendors make sales and it all just works without being pushy.
As I sit here watching the world go by, it dawns on me that I am the only lady on the beach wearing a one piece bathing suit. All the other females, no matter how big, small, old or young, are squeezed into the tiniest of bikinis; some stretched to such a capacity that they barely cover their oojakapiv (probably only my family will know what that word means but I’m sure you get my drift!). It’s not just the ladies either. The guys are also proud to strut their stuff in lycra beachwear of all sizes.
I wish I had a more of this ‘don’t give a shit’ attitude. It’s so refreshing to see people relaxing and having fun without worrying about being the perfectly toned body beautiful. We are so conditioned in the UK to be critical of ourselves and others: what we can and can’t wear, how we should look, how we should behave at any particular age.
As the bikini vendors pass I wonder if I should be bold and take a look at the swimwear they have for sale but I’m afraid a combination of my Britishness and the ‘rule’ that says no woman over 50 should wear a 2 piece stops me from beckoning them over. It will take a while for me to get past that and let it all hang out. I think I’ll be keeping my cellulite under warps for a little while longer yet.