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Wearing a bikini after the age of 30 – yes or no?

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The question

Wearing a bikini after the age of 30 – yes or no?

The answer

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This question is going around because the late, witty Nora Ephron, wrote in a book, "Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was 26. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don't take it off until you're 34." This was quoted a lot in obituaries. The only part people remember about this seems to be the very last phrase.

We are so self-hating now as to only hear the negative. But Ephron was just trying to be funny about the suddenness of aging. She wasn't making a serious sartorial injunction, because that would be ludicrous. You're still a baby at 34. You are going to have a perfectly luscious body for another 25 years, maybe more.

It is your right – no, your duty, to yourself and to nature and to humanity – to expose that body to the air and sea and the loving, compassionate eyes of others as much as you possibly can. Really, does anyone, on her deathbed, regretfully wish she had worn more clothes more of the time? And that, fundamentally, is Ephron's point – not that you are ugly.

Russell Smith is a novelist. His recent memoir, Blindsided, is available as a Kobo e-book. Have a fashion question? E-mail

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