France, the birthplace of the bikini, just drew a line in the French Riviera sands – the towns of Nice, Cannes and Villeneuve-Loubet have banned the burkini, the feminine Islamist bathing costume. Other towns have followed suit and a firestorm of arguments pro and con have erupted.
I weigh in with my paltry 2 cents, for whatever that’s worth, for I love a First Amendment separation of church and state kerfuffle.
The burkini “is a swimming costume which covers the whole body with the exception of the face, hands, and feet [and is] suitable for wear by Muslim women”. It is also a piece of clothing that defies common sense. It is counterintuitive – like getting dressed to take a shower. It reminds me of the loose ankle length, full sleeved chemises that were once in vogue.
The bikini, on the other hand, is a scanty two-piece bathing suit designed in 1946. Named for the Pacific atoll where the atom bomb was tested, it is like the bomb “small and devastating”. It is the real McCoy only if it can “be pulled through a wedding ring”. It leaves little to the imagination, and you can shower quite nicely while wearing one.
Islamic countries have religious laws that mystify non-believers. Pedestrian actions which we take for granted are subject to the death penalty. Adultery, promiscuity and homosexuality - enjoyed with such passion and élan in France - carries a death by stoning sentence in Saudi Arabia. To drink a glass of red wine in public in Teheran is not recommended. Any manner of dress that does not meet the hijab standard is illegal and contrary to law.