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Monday, December 14, 2009

How Not To Get Bikini-Ready In 6 Months

Women's magazines, whether focused on fashion or health, all have one thing in common.

Come mid-year, the May issues of Cosmopolitan, Shape, Glamour, Women's Weekly, etc. all scream in big, bright, bold font on the front cover:

Get Bikini-Ready In 4 Weeks!

6 Easy Exercises To A Beautiful Beach Bod!

20 Tips To Looking Fabulous This Summer!

You get the idea.

And so hundreds of beauty tips, tricks and strategies rain down upon womankind each year, pushing even the laziest person into admitting that transferring potato chips from the bag to one's mouth does not count as activating the triceps.

Having lived in a tropical country with year-round summers all my life, such calls for action always seemed pretty irrelevant. While we have pretty nice beaches at home, going to the beach does not equate to The Event Of The Year. It's just... going to the beach. No need to camp out in the gym for that.

But spending the past 5 months from July to November wearing more fleece and alpaca wool than suntan lotion, and seeing more ice on the ground than in our drinks, has made us finally understand and appreciate the onset of the South American summer in December.

Unfortunately, it was much too late to rush out to grab some last-minute fitness tips off the magazine rack by the time we arrived on our first Brazilian beach on the island of Santa Catarina. We hurried through a couple of chest extension exercises (I must, I must, I must increase my bust!) and waist rotations (Abracadabra! Side flaps begone! Pleeeeaasssee?!?!?) and hit the beach looking like two pallid wads of uncooked cookie dough.

So as to avoid landing in a situation like ours, here is some advice on getting bikini-ready in 6 months. Just make sure that you don't actually follow any of it.

1. Starting in July, travel southwards along the Andes mountain range for 5 months. Learn the hard way that the term "approaching summer" does not equate to "getting warmer".

2. Along the way, lose your only hat in the Bolivian desert. Unknowingly get sunburned on misleadingly cold but sunny days. Start the peeling process but let some of the dry white skin flakes reside on your nose and forehead for a couple more months. Cos furry creatures are cute.

2. Keep heading south and stop only when you're just short of Antarctica. No point spending USD4,000 to get further south to see snow. Just enjoy the frickin' 3-day long blizzard that's already burying half of Ushuaia under lots of cold white stuff. Dress like the abominable snowman to make sure that not a hair on your body gets to see the light of day.

3. Spend no less than 1 month in Argentina. This is the minimum time required to transform cows (in the form of the world's best steak and damn good ice-cream) into spare tyres for the rest of your trip.

4. Take very long bus rides, no less than 15-hours for each leg. Schedule in a couple of day-long rides and a minimum of one non-stop 36-hour journey from Ushuaia to Puerto Madryn. Accept Argentinean meals dished out on the bus, comprising chocolate-coated cookies stuffed with caramel for breakfast, lunch and dinner. These are the perfect growing conditions for your butt, tummy and thighs.

5. When you finally get out of the cold zone, stop at a tropical rainforest before you get to the beach. Take advantage of the hot, humid weather to wear very little. Do some charity and feed the hungry - by offering your naked limbs to the resident mosquitoes. Relentlessly scratch the insect stings into seeping welts. Trust me, bumpy skin is very 'in' right now.

6. Wear a haphazard combination of a spaghetti-strap tank top over your halter-top bikini. Add extra straps to your shoulders by slinging your camera bag diagonally across your chest. Tan well. Remove all bag and clothing layers, and admire your new crazily crisscrossed black-and-white skin pattern. Nice.

7. Finally, go to the beach. But make sure that it's not just any beach. It has to be a world famous Brazilian beach. The more people there are to stare at you in your half-naked state, the better. It builds self-confidence.

8. Remove your shirt to reveal a normal-sized bikini. Turns out that it's the largest piece of cloth out there. Immediately feel like you've mistakenly worn your grandmother's underwear to the beach. You now officially have the unsexiest swimwear in modern Brazilian history. Dig a hole in the sand and live in it for the rest of the day.

9. Because the skin on your face is not used to the sudden onslaught of hours and hours of direct sunlight, develop a raging arc of angry red zits along your hairline. Cultivating the equivalent of the Pacific Ring of Fire while swimming in the Atlantic is a very surreal experience. Best of both worlds, they say.

10. Laugh at the SPF 2 suntan lotion that the local stores stock. Use your current stash of SPF 15 oil instead. Realise after hours on the beach that you need a formula that will work faster to convert those vast acres of pasty white fields to a nice golden brown. Meekly replace with a bottle of SPF 4 lotion from the local store.

11(a). Go shopping at a bikini store where all the gorgeous Brazilian girls are browsing through racks and racks of cute bikinis. Look confused when the store assistant asks in Portuguese for your bikini size and after realising what she's asking for, hesitantly reply "Er, small?" in your mousiest voice.

11(b). Receive an incredulous look from the sales girl and train your eyes on her big shaking head. Read her lips, "NO". Gulp. Shuffle along shamefaced as she escorts you to the rack of bikinis labeled "medium". Mutter under your breath and thank the heavens that you're not a "large".... yet.

11(c). Pick a bikini. Pick any bikini. They are all the same. All comprising of 4 tiny triangles and 4 flimsy strings. Pick 3 different designs anyway. What the heck.

12(a). Try on Design no.1 - stripes. It somehow manages to heighten the contrast between your dark limbs and white midriff and ass. Decide that you look like a tapir. Not good.

12(b). Try on Design no.2 - leopard print. But wait, don't forget your brilliant creation of haphazard white lines running across your shoulders and chest from your previous tanning faux pas. Decide that you look like an uncoordinated zebra. The last I heard, leopard and zebra prints still do not go together. So no, no, cannot. Can-not.

12(c). Try on Design no.3 - plain white. Balk at how it frames the bright red insect bites on your back so perfectly - like a work of art. Accept that you, on the other hand, are not going to look like a perfect work of art in any of these bikinis.

13. Close your eyes. Grit your teeth. Will your legs to move towards the counter. Pay for a bikini anyway.

(Note: buying swimwear for guys is ridiculously easy. Replace Speedos or boardshorts with boy-cut swim shorts. Done.)

Okay, I've bought it. So now what?

Now, you can ignore everything that I've written above but you have to live by Rule no.14:

14. Wear your new bikini, get onto the beach and be totally comfortable in it!

Because that's really all it takes to be bikini-ready.


Tracy Su said...

And now that you've got an itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikini, you're gonna hafta put up with the pervy uncles staring at you when you come back to the oil-spilled Singapore beaches =)

justjunice said...

15. Post the photo of that string u've got on babe. We waited with bated breath. :p


Suena's cuz said...

oi why no photo of u in the bikini? must show off waaaat....


Yi Lin said...

Okay, maybe a half-body pic showing just the top. But my bum is not gracing the homepage of our blog!

Trace: nooo waaayy, not wearing it on a beach at home!

Jo said...

hey guys, was trying to catch up with all the posts. you know you should do a post with a trip summary and a map - i'm so lost. and it's been sooo long! are you coming home soon? :) at least you don't have to buy christmas presents this year? hehe. hmmm. maybe you should come back after cny. :P

Yi Lin said...

Hi Jo, thanks for spending the time to catch up with our blog. Yeah, we should do a trip summary - but only at the end of the whole thing. We're still trying to catch up with the individual posts. Just managed to log on for a while today at a cafe with free WiFi - lots to catch up on when we're back in Rio. There's a map of our route on the side bar - scroll down and click on it yah? Yeah, we won't be back for Christmas - my first one away from my family ever :( And if we're back for CNY, we'll be in hiding! Nobody is allowed to look for us... ssshhh *hide*

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