Bring back the Victorian bathing machines
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Bring back the Victorian bathing machines

Remember the Victorian bathing machines that most of us are probably too young to have seen in real life but may have seen on a post card?  It was a wooden contraption, a bit like a small beach hut on wheels that was wheeled down to the sea so that ladies could enter and exit the sea modestly, without anyone seeing them in their bathing suits; which in those days were rather all-encompassing affairs and certainly not the little scraps of material that pass for bikinis these days. This would be a fabulous idea of only more of us had servants.  It probably wouldn’t be too difficult to make such a contraption but it would be rather arduous to get it up and down a beach without help.  It’s therefore highly unlikely that anyone but a very rich or very modest and desperate person would attempt it.  After all it is so much easier to not actually be seen in a bikini by either not going swimming at all or not wearing one.  Perhaps that is the way forward to getting a revival of the Victorian bathing machines; the shocked and horrified onlookers who would be racing to the edge of the sea with towels whilst averting their eyes from the rather horrific and unsightly sighting of the naked body of someone who should really be covered up. Even if the lady does look fine enough in their bikini or swimsuit, for many women they just can‘t comprehend that themselves and have a low self body image that can almost cripple them from being seen in anything revealing or fitted.  Research over 10 years ago found that upto 8 out of 10 women will not be happy with what they see in the mirror with more than half of them not seeing themselves as others do.  The same cannot be said for men who appear to either be indifferent or even pleased with how they see themselves.  The difference between the sexes for the way they consider their self body image seems to start from a young age since in one study normal-weight girls were more worried about their appearance than obese boys. Women who take part in sport are found to have more positive considerations of their self image and a greater acceptance of the natural body shape leading to the theory that exercise therapy could be of assistance in those with low self body image.  Men taking part in sport also saw their body image more positively than those men who did none. So it’s seems to be clear that in order to be comfortable with your self body image enough to cope with being seen in a bathing costume, such as trunks, swimsuit or a bikini, more sport is required.  One of the best forms of exercise for someone new to it or out of shape is swimming and so we get back to Catch 22; How to swim in order to feel better without being seen before you feel you look better? A marvellous invention if only someone would make it is for a bikini or swimsuit to be put on that can inflate to form a light weight equivalent of a bathing machine, a suit-bather, fitting from neck to ankles.  A swimmer could then walk serenely and get into the water at their own pace, whereupon the suit-bather would deflate as they entered the water, re-inflating on their exit.  Surely it must be possibly with so many advances in swimsuit and tent technology?

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