'Women Over 20 Should Never Wear Bikinis' Announced Janet Street Porter – But We Beg To Differ

'Women Over 20 Should Never Wear Bikinis' Announced Janet Street Porter – But We Beg To Differ

What is Janet Street Porter's problem with bikinis?! While she proclaims that women over 20 should stick to a swimsuit, we beg to differ

Dear Janet,

I think you’re fab. Honest I do. You’re clever, funny and unafraid  - and btw? You have an awesome pair of legs. But I’m doing an intervention on you. A bikini based one. Because you see Janet, I’m not sure I agree with your recent pronouncement that no woman over 20 should be seen dead in a bikini, and that if she does she’ll look ‘ridiculous’. You also said, ‘the only creature you’re going to attract is a jellyfish’, but personal experience tells me that's not 100% accurate – unless of course my boyfriend's some sort of gelatinous marine animal hiding cleverly inside the body of a strapping 6 foot 7 man.

As you may well have gathered by now,  I haven’t been in touch with '20 years old' for quite a while, in fact we’re practically no longer on speaking terms. I’ve reached that stage in my life when Radio 4 is no longer something I listen to ironically, and waiters in French restaurants respectfully refer to me as ‘Madame’. I was recently called ‘one of them yummy mummies’ by a passing youth (he felt he was being complimentary, so I didn’t have the heart to tell him I actually forgot to have children). And still, I wear a bikini. In fact I own scores of the things. A burgundy one from ASOS, a black bandeau one from TopShop, a Heidi Klein white one which cost a fortune, and which is such a feat of structural engineering it makes me want to cry with awe.

I know this will come as shocking news so brace yourself - I wore all of them on my holiday recently in public bathing areas. And do you know what happened? Nothing Janet! Absolutely nothing! Men didn’t vomit everywhere, women didn’t yell obscenities at me, children didn’t cry and seek shelter until the atrocity subsided. All that happened was I got a lovely brown tummy. That was honestly IT!

You see, I’m not really sure I wear a bikini to try and compete with a teenage girl looking surly in Beats by Dre headphones. Or to get the approval of a monosyllabic lifeguard. Or even to make some tiring ‘I’ve still got it’ statement. The reason I wear a bikini is the same reason I wear flats on the tube, or a jumper when it’s cold - I wear it because it’s practical. And I get a nicer suntan with it. ( Also just FYI, those Edwardian bathing suits with bonnets which you seem to be advocating just get awfully hot and stuffy in 25 degree heat.) And because a few of years back I realised an ironic yet fabulous thing magically occurs the further away you get from 20 – you kind of stop caring what strangers think about your body. 

But do you know the main reason why I wear a bikini Janet? Because if men feel entitled enough to strip down to trunks and show off their business lunch pot bellies, I think it’s only fair that they should briefly tolerate my little old tummy, don’t you?


These fitties in their forties wouldn't think twice about wearing a bikini.

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