For The Cold Snap: Bikinis Ain't What They Used To Be, Thank God

As Houston gets ready for an actual deep freeze this week, it brings to mind enduring winters up north. A day or two of nighttime temperatures getting near 20 is nothing like a few months when you're begging for the thermometer to get in the upper 30s, believe us.

But growing up in New Jersey, there was one bright spot to winter: the New York Daily News, which seemingly was forever baffled by the thought that winter in the U.S. is summertime in Australia. So the paper would feature a daily shot of some Aussie woman in a bikini, throwing a beach ball or standing with her hand on her hip.

Each day the caption would be some (very, very slight) variation on "It may be cold here, but it's summer Down Under!" But no one was reading the captions anyway.

So to help you get through the long, cold nights of Houston Winter this week, we're offering our version of the Daily News tradition. Trouble is, the word "bikini" back in the days when the tradition started (it lasted a surprisingly long time)  meant something very different than it does now. A look back at the not-so-great days of the bikini:

1. It's a man, baby!!!

We're sorry to have to mention it, but the person in the middle sporting what used to be called a bikini also seems to be sporting what is still called "wood." Tailors please note: the gentleman dresses to the right, especially when aroused. Everyone else note how artfully the adam's apple is hidden.

2. Even the SI swimsuit issue sucked.

Get those Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues out of the school libraries NOW!! It's possible that some small amount of cleavage exists, well-hidden, beneath that very odd top!! Also, the woman seems to be appearing in public wearing a 1940's girdle!!

3. A side-by-side comparison.

When it's a close call as to whether the man's or woman's swimsuit covers more of the pelvic area, you know you are in a Dark, Dark Age.

4. Answers to stupid questions.

"It's breaking ten feet -- so how come nobody's surfing?" Because they are too damn encumbered by Amish bathing suits that leave everything to the imagination, that's why.

5. Navel-gazing not allowed.

Coppertone gives you a better tan -- on those few square inches of body not covered by hideous pink fabric. No belly buttons allowed here!!

6. Unless the photographer has a belly-button fetish.

Maybe the most famous bikini shot of that innocent time; we never quite noticed just how lovingly and prominently the photographer treated Ursula Andress' belly button, which looks big enough to be the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns. Not that we'd mention that to her, of course. She's carrying a knife.

7. The award for most clothing worn in a bikini-movie poster goes to....

Annette's showing less skin than a modest nun; the girl with Moondoggie, or whoever the hell it is, does slightly better....and then we have a very large photo of some kids seemingly hanging out in Milwaukee in mid-January 1964. Bundle up, guys!!

8. Marilyn Monroe stars in The Song of Bernadette, or maybe Bikini Beach -- Taliban Style!!

Some Italian restaurant is missing a tablecloth. From a table for eight.

9. Presenting your "Sunday go to meeting" outfit.


Thanks, Ban-Lon: Now the busy woman on the go doesn't have to take time to change in between her morning dip and the 11:20 Mass!

10. The classic.

For all we know, this could have been used as an actual example of what the Daily News did, especially since green and gold are the national colors of Australia. Luckily for this gal, if she had suddenly been transported to New Jersey in February, she wouldn't catch a chill.

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