Swimwear On Parade
Text & photos by Shannon Kelley Gould
For most women I know, myself included, the idea of parading oneself down a catwalk, under a spotlight, music pumping, capacity crowd fixated upon thee, strutting thy stuff in high heels and a bikini, is about as appealing as — oh, I don’t know — gnawing off one’s own arm. Perhaps that’s overstating, but the very idea ranks right up there with that universal nightmare of arriving to work late — and buck naked. Luckily for the crew that gathered at El Paseo restaurant one recent Thursday night, not everyone shares my sentiment.
For the second year in a row, local surfboard-maker-cum-bikini-designer Jason Feist has done what any business-savvy, bikini-loving guy would do: He’s rented out a huge space and staged an outrageous party to promote his latest “Feisty” designs, displayed to perfection on some of the most bikini-ready bods in town.
I arrived a little late, but with a strong support system in tow, and while the one guy I was with happily forked over his cover, my ladies and I skipped inside to find the place packed. Feist had told me to meet him upstairs in the VIP area, but the bouncer seemed unimpressed with my story. Undeterred, I settled in on the steps with a beer and watched the amazing graffiti artist Taz Roc go to town on the backdrop. Eventually, I heard someone say, “There’s Jason,” introduced myself, and was led upstairs — much to the bouncer’s chagrin.
Upstairs, we took in the scene below, chatted with Feist — one of the nicest guys you’ll ever hope to meet — and other friends-of-Feist, and waited for the show to get rolling. I spent some time strategizing where the best spot might be for me to get my shots, and, noticing the testosterone-amped throng clamoring around the edges of the catwalk, figured that hanging out backstage might be my best bet. And, in my opinion, the best peeping was not of the ladies, but of the crowd that ogled them, jaws on the floor, eyes unblinking, as though they were looking at God Herself.
Finally, the show began, and those ladies rocked their suits with the confidence of supermodels. My thoughts began to wander: Even with all the suit changes, nary a tan line or wedgie did I spot — spray tans? Double-stick tape? … Ooh, that one’s cute, I wonder if he carries petite sizes. … I came back to reality in time for the finale, which featured all of the ladies sporting amazing white bikinis that our friend Taz Roc had stylishly tagged earlier in the evening.
The party raged on after the show, and eventually, I made my way home. That night, I dreamed I was late for the SATs, which I took while wearing my bikini.
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