Bathing Suit Theory

By Chanel Dehond. M.Arch. B.A.S.

1950s Vogue

The “Bathing Suit Theory” exposes the absurdity of self-consciousness.

It is told as an allegory:

You and your compadres plan a beach day. In preparation, you eradicate all evidence of unwanted hair, get a pre-tan, do a few push-ups, sit-ups and maybe even go to the gym (if you’re not me). You try and find the most flattering suit and distracting accessories, cry, watch “Friends” on Netflix and probably unhealthily “diet.”

Then, you get to the beach, everyone removes their outerwear, so now it’s time to show off that bathing suit. Your clothes come off, you suck-in, flex your muscles, and immediately lie face-down on your towel “to tan.” If, and only if you look at your friend’s bods, it’s to compare them to yours — “Oh phew, her thighs are bigger than mines, he has a beer belly like me. Ugh, that b*tch has abs and I don’t, I can see his Johnson, she left her shirt on pffft, his legs are pale and hairy — at least mines are tanned.” You’re so distracted by how you look that you don’t really notice anyone else. The entire time, you are worried about you. You and your bathing suit. You and your body. You.

Now you think, “This is just me, no one else is this self-conscious.” But you are wrong. Trust me, your Barbie and Ken friends are even more self-conscious than you are. They’re the ones that actually spend time thinking about their bodies on the regular. You might be worried about your minor bacne and unnoticeable ass-fat, but those buds are too concerned about their oblique-muscle definition to notice!

When beach day is over, you’re still thinking about yourself and when the photos go up on Facebook, it’s as if every group-shot magically morphs into a self-portrait of you. You don’t even notice that Ken got a nipple ring, or that Barbie has uneven knockers. No. You just see you.

So, how does the “Bathing Suit Theory” debunk self-consciousness? The moral of the story is that if everyone is concentrated on themselves, then no one is looking at you, and if no one is looking at you, then it’s an absolute waste to be self-consciousness!