By Keith Allen and Hanh Quach
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 19, 1996

Robert Henry Becker
Arizona Daily Wildcat


Spring break bathing suits a waste of money Swimwear not worth the effort of choosing
Well guys, it is almost time to relax in the sun, either in Mexico, Lake Havasu, San Diego or - for the lucky few of us- Boston.

Sorry, I had to put my destination down since I'm going in the total opposite direction that most of you will be going.

You need not hear about my travels though - you need to decide what you are going to wear when you hit the waves.

Swimwear. Oh beautiful swimwear. I think guys could care less about what is on them than what is on their significant other.

Yet there is a wide selection of men's styles available. You've got your Speedos, your Sideouts, your OPs (haven't heard that since the seventh grade), and what about another flash from the past - your Gotchas.

Design patterns on the swimwear can be equally amazing in their numbers. These patterns range from coral and fish images to linear and geometric images, to Hawaiian patchwork patterns (just to make believe you're vacationing there), and then to your regul ar solid-color swimwear.

How to decide? You must decide by your personality. On the "wild side"? I recommend the Hawaiian patchwork. On the conservative side? The solid color swimwear is a nice choice. This does not mean you need to choose such a style, it is all up to you.

But images and designs are not all there is to worry about. You must also choose the make of the swimwear. There are two typical styles - the boxer and the brief.

The boxer is the short-style swimwear. It usually comes in the "nair" look, meaning it rides high on the leg, and the "baggy" look, which is much like the professional volleyball players wear. This is of course the most popular form.

The brief-style form is typically labeled by the term "Speedos," but as a trip to the mall later showed me, this should not be the term we use because it can be misread. "Speedos" is a brand of short that also makes boxer-style swimwear. (This is my reaso ning for the term "brief" for this style).

Enough of the explanation, the brief-style is one that bares all. It is the beloved swimwear of Brazil - If I remember right, you are a "beach geek" if you wear the boxer-style on the beaches of South America (that is in case your ship takes a slight deto ur). The brief- style is as described, brief, because it is small and quickly seen, much like a woman's thong, though a G-string would be much closer to that fact.

I recommend this style to any of you who feel adventurous and needing of a nice tan. It is also one that could convince heads to turn your way, just because people cannot believe you are wearing it.

Now, what about the dollar amounts?

Prices for male swimwear can range anywhere from $6 (which usually means a good sale at Target or Walmart) to $40 (usually not a sale, but typically purchased in a department store at the mall).

It takes me by surprise that men will buy this $40 swimwear. My reasoning: this is the stuff you wear underwater! No one really sees it, right?

Wrong! You have to wear it to do the beach cruise and find the mate of the day (Ahoy, boarding ship).

If you are under the gun money-wise, you can always make do with an old pair of shorts or cut-off pair of jeans. This is always good, because if you decide not to swim you do not have to bother with the swimwear's itchy netting grabbing at your inner leg.

Remember on "Gilligan's Island," Gilligan would always swim in his daily clothes.

This is my personal recommendation. Why bother spending an outrageous amount of money on a piece of clothing you may only wear a few days?

Just find an old pair of shorts or cut that old pair of jeans, and break the habit of buying this little-worn apparel. You can look just as fashionable and be just as comfortable in regular shorts.

So while I go to Boston in search of Fenway Park, lobsters and the pilgrims, I hope that your swimwear soul-search brings you to realize that while on spring break, you do not need to waste your money on swimwear - your money is best spent elsewhere.

With spring break only two weeks away, women are ravaging the mall for the newest body-baring ensembles on the line.

When I visited the mall on a brisk, windy February day, helpful salespeople were already beginning to stack the racks with designer swimwear.

"We carry a full selection of Brazilian cut, American cut and full cut swimwear," they told me. I'm assuming that the Brazilian cut is the bathing suit equivalent of Columbian coffee?

So, I began my annual pursuit for the perfect suit. Swimsuit shopping for women is a very delicate issue, because they must take every minute detail of their bodies into consideration so that nothing accidentally looks flattened, bloated or plastic.

But aside from physical criteria, we women also need something that will not fall apart in water.

Large thighs?

Try the brief cut.

Short legs?

A high-cut can "elongate" your sexy limbs.

So I asked myself, "Padded, no cups, low-cut, high-cut, zippers, hooks, buckles, one-piece, two-piece or string?"

All the suits boasted some special feature that could "support" my bust line, "slenderize" my waist, or "contour" my behind.

If the padding from these combined "enhancing" features were to absorb the ocean, I could probably be mistaken for the Marshmallow Man's mate, not to mention the fact that there would no longer be a beach.

The wiring in some suits, similar to that found in an 18th-century corset, could probably be easily detected by a beach scavenger with a metal detector.

This may be good or bad, depending on why you went to the beach.

I moved on to the next rack.

I was pleasantly surprised with the diverse selection of styles and colors.

There was a black two-piece disguising itself as a one-piece with a sheer covering hooking the top and bottom. This was too pretty to swim in, I decided.

What about the suit with a skirt?

How about the nice orange-red tie-dyed one-piece? Too late for the Grateful Dead era; the head Dead Head's dead.

Department store prices for these dainty body displays ranged from $55 to $77 per suit.

Still not ecstatic about any one style, I decided to try my luck in the smaller bathing-suit boutiques.

Here I found outfits for the woman who can flaunt anything and everything.

Marnie, a salesperson at Diane's California Beach House, said thongs are their hottest selling item.

"They're sexier, you tan better and they show more skin," she said.

Thong bikini prices range from $50 to $60.

But a friend of mine cautions, "There's nothing sexy about a thong. It just makes everybody's butt look big."

But not to worry about butt-floss syndrome (a common side effect for thong-wearers); a "paraole" has you covered. This accessory, pronounced pah-ray-oh, is a fancy name for a short wraparound skirt, and runs for about $20.

Total cost for a "modest" thong ensemble: $80. It seems to me that if you just bought a full bathing suit or two-piece to begin with, you wouldn't need to spend the extra money on the "Paraole."

I could even start a new career as a corporate advertiser wearing the string bikini with a Budweiser logo across the left breast.

How about pledging allegiance to America with a stars and stripes bikini?

If you can figure it out, how about a one-piece thong? It looked more like a people-net and I was sure I would get tangled in the straps, strings, buttons and hooks.

Forget catch-up reading for psychology; I would be too busy studying the instruction manual to this complex suit.

As if this scanty suit didn't already attract enough attention, it can be found in fluorescent shades, pink glittery material and banana yellow.

I tried to see if it would glow in the dark, but the store's fluorescent lighting was not conducive to the glow-in-the-dark effect.

It was night when I left the mall.

I think I'll just wear the same plain coral two-piece with an old boyfriend's extra-large T-shirt: the same, familiar beach attire I wear every year.

Now I'll just worry about trying to get the perfect tan.