On a long-ago vacation in the Algarve, my two early-teen sons, who had left the hotel pool to go and swim in the sea, came rushing back towards me in a state of high panic. “Dad! Dad! Ugh! There are these old women lying on the beach without bikini tops! Ewwww!”
In the interests of parental concern, of course, I had to see for myself what was causing such panic, so I wandered over to the clifftop and peered down. Yup, the boys were correct: there was a crowd of elderly French women, sagging, pendulous breasts burned almost chocolate brown, sprawled on towels all over the white beach sands.
That may be a thing of the past, according to some study or other, because it appears that French women are no longer interested in topless sunbathing.
Once widespread in France, topless sunbathing is going out of fashion, a survey has shown, with fears about harassment, body image and health seen as prompting a trend to cover up more at the beach.
Fewer than one in five Frenchwomen under 50 said they sported a ‘monokini’, compared to 28 percent a decade ago and 43 percent in 1984, according to the survey by French pollster Ifop published Tuesday.
Young women aged 18 to 25 said harassment, criticism of their bodies and being ogled by men were their biggest barriers to going topless.
Note the highlighted “under 50” qualification above, because it probably means that the sights which so frightened my sons back in the early 2000s are not going to disappear soon.
So as a public service to my Loyal Readers, here are a few examples of what’s going to be vanishing in France:
No need to thank me; it’s all part of the service.