A common sight on the beaches and streets today are the bikinis and swimsuits. They were originally intended for swimming and to bring out the beauty of the body of women. We in San Pedro first saw bikinis in the movies at a time when our ladies of San Pedro totally refused to show their legs, much less their bellies or breasts. Today at certain “entertainment” places the bikini has proven too much, and you do not see the bikinis anymore for they have been removed.
Twenty five years ago, ladies never conceived the idea of exposing their bodies in public, and when they did, they were extremely cautious and conservative. In fact, I believe most boys never saw their girlfriend’s legs and the rest of the body until the night of their weddings. Girls did wear swimsuits, but you could not see them. Why? The girls wore the swimsuits under their dresses. When they young girls were ready to go for a swim, they entered the water from the b each very gradually. Once fully in the water, then they took off their dresses and submerged under the sea. Boys went up the pier to get a closer look and tease the girls, but they were safely covered under water. When it was time to come out of the water, they would put on their dresses while in the water and then, only then, walked out.
Occasionally the girls would get into a dory and paddle out for a ride. Then perhaps you could see two or three girls in their swimsuits, but at a distance. A boy was considered very lucky if he could pick up a few girls who were swimming and take them for a ride in his skiff. He would be the envy of all the other boys because he was near a group of ladies in their swimsuits. These, by the way, were the full body swimsuits.
Gradually the young ladies picked up the courage to remove their dresses at the end of the pier and then hurriedly jump into the sea. This was a fast move and the boys hardly had any time to whistle at the girls. And believe it or not, they designated one girl to remain on the pier to mind the dresses for fear that some boy would want to hide the dresses to enjoy a spectacle. Eventually as the years went by, the girls removed the dresses on the beach and walked into the sea. You can imagine the whistling from the boys at the beach.
Once the young ladies became more comfortable, and that was when the young men were no longer whistling nor calling out curt remarks, they then went into wearing the two piece swimsuits. The top part covered almost completely, and the bottom piece covered high enough to cover up to the navel. The bikinis did not greet the eyes of the San Pedro boys until the 1970’s when tourism was well established. These were American tourists. The first Sanpedrana to go on a public stage in swimwear for a beauty pageant was Yolanda Gutierrez in 1978 for a Miss San Pedro Beauty Pageant.
Since then San Pedro has gone through extreme metamorphosis as far as swimwear goes. Some people view them as beautiful. Some view them as vulgar and offensive. Some believe it is against morality. Others see it as an opportunity to attract attention. Some use it as a means to win a title. Others simply to enjoy the sun, sea and breeze. What a big difference today from 25 years ago. At that time parents were concerned that the young ladies would not take off their dresses. Today parents are concerned that they do not take off too much from the bikinis.