It may still weigh on your mind what a huge territory we chose to cover in Friday’s blog, dedicated to postcards which told how a vacation might tend to broaden one’s knowledge, one’s experience, and, especially, one’s waistline. It is such a large field for study that we skipped all the postcards that used “broaden” that way, since we had covered that in a whole nother blog.
And if you feel we were a bit too narrow in our focus on Friday, you would be correct. I was omitting a vast part of the category: Round People in Swimming Attire.\ The beach is a natural target for those who want to get away from it all and enjoy the great outdoors. (For myself, I have fantasized more about resorts above the snowline, where the weather may threaten at any time, and make us all stay indoors, where I can read a book and let the great outdoors go on without me. If the good God had intended me to spend time at the beach, he would not have draped me in a pelt which starts to blister after an hour or so of direct sunlight. I wonder sometimes if my ancestors covered up what part of middle Europe they came from to conceal some vampire strain in our family tree. By the way, do you think vampires go to the beach? With enough sunblock? Modern tech…where were we?)
There is an interesting clash between many of the postcards of the middle of the last century and prevailing culture today. Our ancestors DID admit that one might outgrow last year’s bathing costume.
They admitted too that some people might feel it necessary to combat the expanse of the vacation waistline. (Beach calisthenics were a popular attraction for decades, popular both a among participants and spectators.)
But far more common are postcards featuring ladies and gentlemen who just didn’t see, to notice they were now the large, economy size package.
And even more common than that are the cards featuring those who were in on the joke. “Yeah, look at me: I’m big” was the message.
You’re on vacation, after all, among a lot of other people you may never see again. So why worry? (“I just don’t care when I’m on holiday” was a common refrain.)
These are people who are comfortable in their own skin, though they admit there’s plenty of it.
Even in the bathing costumes of the 1930s, there wasn’t much scope for hiding how one was put together, so you could either enjoy it or stay indoors.
If you thought people would laugh, hit them with a pre-emptive strike.
There are advantages, after all, to possessing a certain measure of adipose tissue.
And since they had established in popular culture (as exposed in Friday’s illustrations) that people tend to build themselves up on their healthy holidays, you can always blame it on your time at the beach.
We will study the triple meaning of “broad” in some other blog, but some people actually found an extra pound here or there (especially here. And THERE) rather fetching.
And if you’ve got it, flaunt it.
In the end (sorry), one has to admit that, no matter how embarrassing you are by going out in public in that bathing suit,
You’d be in far more danger of embarrassment without it.