Fourth of July fashion: Am I too old to wear an American flag bikini?

Categories: Fashion

Patriotic and necessary.
Are we the only country in the world that dresses up like the country's own flag to celebrate independence? It seems strange that we would honor the U.S.A. by draping ourselves with trashy, mocking versions of our own global visual representation -- but that's what we do.

And while I say "trashy," it's really not my job to judge how anyone else feels about triangle bikinis. Actually, I went shopping for one myself recently, after I made a promise (read: dare) that if I lost fifteen pounds before the hot dogs-and-explosives holiday, I would wear a bikini at the Fourth of July show my band is playing at Mouth House on Wednesday. I only lost twelve, but in diet world, that's close enough.

To my surprise, I found a star-spangled triangle bikini at Target -- but I didn't want to fork over $14.99 for it. (Wow. Typing that sentence just made me feel unpatriotic, but after working at Shirt Folding Store for the better part of a decade, I have a hard time paying full price for anything. If you work in retail and get a decent discount, then you understand this change in your brain's chemical make-up -- and why you have to tell someone that you only paid seven bucks for the jeans you're wearing. Which actually makes you look worse than trashy. It makes you look like a jerk.)

But really, maybe I just don't want to don a bikini for the Fourth; after all, I am 31. This doesn't mean I'm not game for dressing trashy (I own a version of the weed hat to the left) -- but my trashiness has been redefined. If you're someone who uses your body as a walking prop for jokes, there's an important moment in your life when you have to move those jokes to the next level because you're getting older. This might mean trading in your sleeveless tourist-purchased Las Vegas halter-top with sparkly red lips on it for a knee-length T-shirt that says "I like a seven-course meal: A hot dog and a six pack."

I'm not saying getting older means you can't wear whatever the hell you want; I'm saying sexy-trashy and funny-trashy are two different things, and you have to know when one or the other is appropriate. When I wear my "Cool story babe. Now go make me a sandwich" T-shirt, I want the joke to be on me, not about me. I think a triangle bikini would have the opposite effect.

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