Donohue referred to Upton’s “nun-bikini,” but in a response to Donohue a spokesperson for 20th Century Fox, the film’s distributor, called it a “nun-kini,” using the universal suffix for any novel swim garb. “I think we did the audience a favor by letting Kate Upton wear the nun-kini rather than Larry David—it could have gone either way,” the unnamed spokesperson told the Hollywood Reporter.
Speaking of babes, take a look at Babi-kini, whose tagline is “My First Bikini” and which sells teeny swimsuits for tiny tots. This one retails for $30:
Available in sizes small (birth to 12 months) to extra-large (5 to 6 years).
And over at TMZ, they’re celebrating “Spring-kini Season.”
I'm reading the sports section these days because the only sport I follow, swimming, is at last getting its quadrennial day in the sun. (And what a day it is! Two words: Dara Torres. Okay, two more: Michael Phelps.) Good news for me; bad news for newspaper sportswriters who regard swim-meet assignments as hardship duty. (Except for the ogling of the nearly naked bodies.) For four years they cover big-money sports that involve balls and the verb "to play," and then, just before the Olympics, they're shuttled off to some natatorium in Nowheresville--this year it's Omaha--and plunged into a weird subculture whose rituals include full-body shaving. They don't understand swimming technique or training, they can't tell the players even with a scorecard, and when they try to dash off some savvy-sounding copy they flail like beginning butterflyers.
I'm willing to overlook most of that. I'm grateful just to read names and race results. But I do get ticked off when I have to read painful usage errors that would have been caught by a copyeditor if all the copyeditors hadn't gotten the axe in the last round of layoffs (or been outsourced to India).
By the time an item of clothing finds its way to Costco, you can bet it's been around for many fashion cycles. So although I pride myself on my au-courantitude, I was surprised on a recent visit to a nearby Costco to discover massive quantities of a garment I'd never heard of: the skirtini.
For the similarly clueless, a skirtini is a modest two-piece swimsuit consisting of a tank top and a skirted bottom. Here's a visual cue (from Lands' End):
In my defense, I will say that I pay little attention to swimsuit trends. That's because I am in that infinitesimal minority of American women for whom the purchase of a swimsuit is utterly angst-free. Indeed, for all my fashion mania I spend more time comparing goggle designs than I do worrying about my swimsuits. My excuse: for 17 years I swam on a masters swim team, and I still swim four or five miles a week in a pool or San Francisco Bay. Ergo, my needs are ridiculously basic: I buy Speedo one-piece racing suits, size 34, preferably in the flyback or recordbreaker style, from online stores like Swim Outlet or Sierra Trading Post. (Speedo is the only brand that fits my long torso, size 34 always works, and Speedo's Endurance fabric really, truly resists the ravages of chlorine.) The first time I try a suit on is when I'm ready to go into the water. I would never (a) pay more than $70 for a suit, (b) buy a suit with bra cups, ruffles, a skirt, or a halterneck, or (c) do anything except swim or kayak in a swimsuit.
But, as I said, I'm in the minority.
What caught my attention about the skirtini, aside from its appalling matronliness, was, naturally, its name. It's clearly a blend of "skirt" and the suffix "-ini," from "bikini"--except there's nothing bikiniesque about it. I began thinking about how we got from bikini to skirtini. Here's a little historical-sartorial-lexical summary.
Because naming things and writing for a living aren't quite punishing enough, I also swim in San Francisco Bay, where the average water temperature year round is 54°F (12°C). My base of operations is the Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club, which celebrates its 130th anniversary this year and where, aside from the advent of electricity about a century ago (and--hallelujah--saunas some time after that) and the admission of women in 1977, little has changed since the days of celluloid collars and handlebar mustaches.
Between December 21 and March 21 every year, the club sponsors a friendly Polar Bear competition. The objective is to swim at least 40 miles in the bay; the prize (in addition to bragging rights) is a little white marble block. I've earned a stack of six of those blocks; my personal Polar Bear record was 52 miles, which I found supremely challenging. A few years ago, though, a gentleman named George Kebbe shattered the record by swimming 356 miles during Polar Bear season. That's about four miles a day, on days when the water was as cold as 48 degrees and the air about ten degrees colder. (Okay, it's not Coney Island, but it's cold.)
This year George's record was tied, which is news in itself. But the way in which it was tied was even more remarkable. Read Carl Nolte's article in the San Francisco Chronicle about 47-year-old Ralph Wenzel, who swam four hours every day to match the 356-mile mark, and who could have surpassed it but chose not to. Nolte writes:
With a chance to break the record and set a new mark, he stood up and walked out of the water. It was clear he could have gone back in the bay, taken another lap around the Aquatic Park lagoon and torn up the record book.
"I don't feel like going back in again,'' he said. Asked why he didn't break the record, he shrugged and walked away to take a sauna. "If you don't mind,'' he said, "I'm a bit cold.''
In times when records are made to be broken and winners are hailed as superheroes, Wenzel seems to be a throwback to some other age.
He did not explain what he did, but others were willing to speak for him. "It took class and he has class,'' said Noelle Maylander, who was one of his swimming partners.
"He is a very modest man,'' said Rick David, who also swam with him. "He does not like to draw attention.''
Kudos to the Chronicle for choosing veteran reporter Nolte, a very classy writer, to write this account of a very classy athlete.
By the way, Ralph Wenzel scheduled his swimming regime around his day job. A native of Dresden, Germany--he immigrated to the U.S. in 1990--he co-owns Schubert's Bakery in San Francisco, which is almost as old as the Dolphin Club and which turns out some of the most gorgeous and delicious cakes and pastries I've ever eaten. Stop by when you're in the neighborhood.