When I was growing up in Corsica, beach fashion was this: topless.

My mother and her friends would roll down their one pieces (which would then become just bottoms)(and yes, trends are complicated: it was the fashion to go topless AND wear a one piece at the same time) as soon as their feet would hit the sand, and then roll them back up when it was time to go swimming, but then roll them back down in the water. Yeah, the whole thing was a little complicated. Roll up, roll down, roll up, roll down. All this means is that…

…I knew my mother’s friend’s breasts by heart.

Yeah, I got that the idea was to be as tan as possible without having tan lines, but really, I didn’t want to know that much about the people going to the beach. C’mon now, TMI!!!

The thing is that everyone was doing it. Either join in on the fashion, or be the leader of the losers.

It wasn’t so much my thing. Nudity, or semi-nudity, never did bother me… But the beach (or the pool) always seemed to be a very social place* and I never understood what was so great about going talk naked in front of all these people.

So I spent most of my adolescence being very attached to my bikini**, total nun-power.

And then the obligatory topless trend passed, and now, in Corsica, everyone does whatever they want and everyone is just fine with that.

Why am I going through all this?

Because now I live in the USA.

And here, being topless on the beach is like indecent exposure. It’s not necessarily illegal every where. But no one does it.

LAST minute edit : I was having dinner with friends yesterday and one of them, who has kids, told me that it was actually illegal to go topless in America, even for kids. Little girls have to have their top on. (This is pretty surprising for the French girl that I am : in France, you usually only start wearing a top when you become a teenager. All your childhood, you run on the beach only with the bottom. It’s still like that, isn’t it ?) Anyway. Maybe it depends on each state? Do you know?

Except maybe in Miami Beach, where I’m writing you from right now.

Well maybe because it’s a beach frequented by a lot of Europeans (Aaaaah, Miami). Here, you’ll find a few girls daring enough to go topless.?

Well, of course, people spend their time looking at them, of course, seeing as people just aren’t used to it. But in general, Miami is a VERY sexy city. Not necessarily topless sexy, but sexy none the less. It’s a little contradictory, I know.

Take East Hampton, for example, where NO ONE is topless. There you’ll find very chic beach outfits, fluid white dresses, straw hats, LL bean bags, you get it.

In Montauk, where NO ONE is topless, it’s super hipster on the beach, cut-off shorts, ironic vintage t-shirt…

But in Miami, where almost NO ONE is topless, I’ve seen a few oddities like:

– Three girls in stilettos and tiny bikinis at the pool. I observed them for you. So what they do is they take off their shoes to go swimming and to tan, but they put them back on to walk around the pool. I thought that maybe that’s what you do only at Hugh Hefner’s place, but actually, nope, it isn’t.
– Girls whose front was not topless but whose bottom was hardly covered with a tiny little thong (in France we call those “ficelle” which means “thread”)
– Girls who weren’t topless but with a bathing suit top so small that you can see top cleavage, side cleavage, AND under cleavage. Basically the top is a nipple cover.
– Gangs of girls in stilettos and high-heels on the street. With big hats. Not to go the the beach or anything, just strolling down the street. In Miami, it’s normal.

In short, you don’t go topless in Miami, but your body is exposed to the max of the max.

After the initial shock wore off I said things like, “Scott look!!! We’re in a Sean Paul video!” and the adaptation phase where I went “Hey, but I love Sean Paul !”, I ended up getting used to the atmosphere in Miami Beach*** and just accepted the fact that I looked like a nun in my cut offs and ironic vintage t-shirt.

And now, I actually like Miami.

You won’t find me strolling down the street in stilettos and a bikini any time soon. I’m saving that for my Sean Paul video reenactments, and those only happen at home****.

I always find that the more that you show, the less is left up the imagination.
I’ve always preferred suggested sensuality, the lighter beach outfits, even going topless at the end of the day when everyone has left the beach, or even skinny-dipping in the little secret creak that only I know about in my village in Corsica.

So yeah, I’m not against being half-naked in a relatively private setting, but on a beach that’s more crowded than 5th Avenue on Saturday, I prefer to keep my things to myself.
Total nun power like. What about you? How is it in your country? How would you like to do it?


* Maybe I grew up in a rather untouched part of Corsica?
** Except the time when I lost my SUIT BOTTOMS in front of everyone after a perilous leap into the pool.
*** The Miamians (yeah) would be oh so displeased that I’m talking about Miami Beach like it’s all of Miami. So, let’s give credit where credit is due.??
**** One day Scott filmed me dancing to Temperature and I had to threaten him to throw his phone out the window if he didn’t delete the video. Pffffff, guys.

Translation : Tim Sullivan