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A DARING REPORTER TRIES ON A THONG, AND TELLS THE NAKED TRUTH ABOUT IT
Frank Deford
March 24, 1975
Of all things assessed by so-called experts, clothes are the least competently analyzed. However inept a book reviewer may be, at least he must go to the trouble of reading a book; the movie critic watches a movie, the automobile adviser drives a car. Fashion authorities, however, deliver judgments merely by (so to speak) squeezing the Charmin. Especially when something radical or bizarre—or both in the case of the bathing suit known as the thong—is presented, it should be required of the experts themselves to try the bloody thing on, and not merely attend PR sessions or accept the doubtful evidence of glossy photographs peopled by individuals who look like driftwood.
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March 24, 1975

A Daring Reporter Tries On A Thong, And Tells The Naked Truth About It

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Of all things assessed by so-called experts, clothes are the least competently analyzed. However inept a book reviewer may be, at least he must go to the trouble of reading a book; the movie critic watches a movie, the automobile adviser drives a car. Fashion authorities, however, deliver judgments merely by (so to speak) squeezing the Charmin. Especially when something radical or bizarre—or both in the case of the bathing suit known as the thong—is presented, it should be required of the experts themselves to try the bloody thing on, and not merely attend PR sessions or accept the doubtful evidence of glossy photographs peopled by individuals who look like driftwood.

I put on a thong. To be generous, I will say that it is only as uncomfortable as it appears. On the other hand, it is ugly.

Nonetheless I pay tribute to Rudi Gernreich, the designer of the thong; he was also creator of the topless bathing suit a decade ago. Gernreich, who seems to be rather a benign and more whimsical Clifford Irving, is only to be commended for securing gargantuan amounts of publicity from witless media-ites who take his humbugs seriously.

Certainly it should be apparent by now that there are only so many basic ways to adorn the human body. It is not fashion merely to devise peculiar new arrangements, anymore than it would be football with 14 men in the huddle. Gernreich's topless bathing suit managed somehow to make bare breasts unbecoming and, in the bargain, did equal esthetic violence to those portions of the body it covered. The thong is no less incompatible with the human form and is also frightfully painful. Wearing one feels rather like being held up on a meat hook, and to spare you the necessity of going through any hasty anatomical speculation, I have been assured that the thong is every bit as excruciating for chicks as it is for us fellas. There is some solace, perhaps, in that Gernreich has thus reduced unisex to a painful absurdity.

An excuse of sorts might be offered were the thong titillating. But, alas, when a thongo and a thonga first peer at one another like Adam and Eve just after the initial apple bite, their thoughts are far from lascivious. Along with the agony there is the growing realization that all of the things on both of you are either out of shape or in the wrong place. As a daring swimsuit, the thong manages to be discouraging for swimming and sex alike.

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