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T. GAMBLE: Now that is something to celebrate

OPINION: Reard Day is Aug. 4, and bring your wedding ring

T. Gamble

T. Gamble

We are fast approaching one of the most significant dates in recorded history. This date should be forever memorialized and treated with respect and dignity.

This statement is obviously true for the Fourth of July, but that is not what I am talking about.

No, I am talking about the invention of the bikini, which was unveiled — if that is the right word for the first showing of a bikini — on July 5, 1946. Yes, on July 5th Louis Reard, a Frenchman, introduced the world to the bikini.

Now, who says the French never contribute anything to the world?

Louis stated to be a proper bikini, one must be able to “pull the bikini through a wedding ring.” Why there is not a statue to him in every town in America in beyond my comprehension. His first bikini was 30 square inches and was of the string bikini variety. He could find no one to model it, so he hired a nude dancer to do the honors. And the rest is history.

Just think what a visionary Louis was. He convinced women throughout the world to become 90 percent naked and prance around the beach, and pay $80, $100, even $150 for 30 square inches of material.

Talk about a win–win situation. Face it no self- respecting woman between the ages of 18 and 50 will enter the beach without a bikini. Now, as a whole, I consider this fact to be a good thing, although I must admit on more than one occasion I have wished maybe some of the women had remained in the old striped one-piece down-to-the-knees getup from the ’20s. I know Louis says the bikini should be pulled through a wedding ring, but I’ve seen some women in bikinis that would be hard pressed to be pulled through a 55-gallon drum.

The amazing thing is that Reard was not alone in his efforts to free women from wearing much of anything on the beach. At the same time he was introducing the bikini, Jacques Hein, another Frenchman, was also introducing a similar swimwear called the “atome,” named after the recent discovery of the atom. Had his product been successful, the song “Itsy Bitsy Polka Dot Bikini” would never have made it, as “Itsy Bitsy Polka Dot Atome” just does not have the same ring to it.

Let’s face it. In America we celebrate just about everything under the sun. We’ll create a holiday at the drop of a hat. The federal government will take off twice a month, whether it needs to or not. We need to have a national holiday to celebrate the bikini. It is a little close to July 4th, so let’s set it for Aug. 4 ‘cause nothing is going on that day anyway.

We’ll call it “Reard Day” and grown men will gather round early in the morning and weep tears of joy in testament to Louis.

Maybe towns can have bikini festivals … no, sorry, they already have those in Panama City. They are called wet t-shirt contests.

Monuments can be built of Reard or, better yet, just put up ones of women in bikinis.

So, this Fourth of July, remember the good old U.S.A. and remember Louis Reard for the good view and don’t forget your wedding ring. After my wife reads this article, I may have an extra one to spare.

Email columnist T. Gamble at wtg@colliergamble.com.