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Doug Robinson: Bikini ban fun while it lasted

Published: Tuesday, July 1 2008 12:17 a.m. MDT

TODAY'S SUBJECT: BIKINIS!

Now that I've got your attention, allow me to brief you about recent developments on the modesty front (and back).

Robinson, is this column going to be another one of those double-entendre festivals?

Don't be silly, this column comes with a G-string rating.

Maybe you missed it, but Kanab recently banned the wearing of bikinis at its new public pool.

They required nudity.

No, wait, they required one-piece suits, not nudity.

The bikini ban was greeted with jeers and laughter (and possibly tears by certain males in the population). What is more American than the bikini? OK, a lot of things, but banning the bikini seemed about as likely as outlawing apple pie and the Beach Boys and setting the clock back about five decades. The bikini went mainstream in the '60s, with the first one appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1964, and they've been whittling them down a thread at a time ever since until only a few threads are left. In the '60s they looked more like diapers than the dental floss they are today.

These days there are many things that people want to keep out of public pools — cryptosporidiosis being one of them — but efforts to make bikinis one of them have fallen to mothers and fathers.

Enter the Kanab City Council. Council members set out to establish rules for proper attire for the town's new $2 million pool. The council hastily outlawed the wearing of bikinis and Speedos and then hurried on to more important matters, such as finding ways to keep dirty diapers and nasty parasites out of the pool.

The local newspaper printed the new rule, and before you could say Heidi Klum and Paulina Porizkova it was making its way around the World Wide Web, and Kanab was the butt of jokes, with full reverse cleavage.

The story was picked up in newspapers in Massachusetts, Arkansas, California, Minnesota and Ohio and swept through the Internet like a southern Utah grass fire. A lot of people had their underwear (and bikinis) in a bunch over this. The phone calls followed. They came from people wanting to get to the bottom (and top) of this. One came from MSNBC. Another came from a man in Germany.

"He wanted to educate me on how people in other countries handled nudity," said Councilwoman Nina Laycook. "I let him go on for 20 minutes. He wanted to debate the issue. Finally, I told him, 'When you come to Kanab you can run for City Council and change the law.'"

Some of the calls came to Amy Peterson, the pool manager, who notes, "They all thought I was the one who made up the law. Everyone was asking me about it."

For outsiders, it wasn't a big stretch to think that this region produced a bikini ban. Southern Utah has made the national news for several goofy things over the years. A few years ago, La Verkin passed an ordinance declaring the city a United Nations-free zone and considered repealing the 17th amendment.

Virgin once passed an ordinance requiring a gun and ammunition in every residents' home.

Why not a bikini-free zone?

Well, the City Council quickly threw water on the whole controversy by saying it was all a big mistake — they never meant to word the rules the way they did.

"We should have concentrated more on what the word 'bikini' meant," said Laycook. "We meant we didn't want thong swimwear. Truthfully, there was so much to discuss on diapers and health issues."

Anyway, that's their story and they're sticking to it. The City Council changed the law. Thongs — not the kind you wear on your feet — are banned, but bikinis are allowed and so, too, are Speedos for men, unfortunately. Nothing was said about grown hairy men in tank tops or overweight persons in Spandex shorts, which was another unfortunate oversight.

"Reminds me of a refrain from an old cowboy song," said Laycook, 'I just don't look good naked anymore."'

Just because everyone can wear bikinis and Speedos doesn't mean they should.


E-mail: drob@desnews.com

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