Chinese beaches may not have sparkling reputations but when the summer sun beats down, even water of questionable quality invites swimmers to dip a toe – or more – into the ocean's refreshing coolness. In such situations bikinis aren't ideal but what's a determined dipper to do?
Suit up, that's what. It seems that form-fitting black rubber wetsuits are all the rage on China's beaches this summer, and by “rage” we don't mean fashionable or popular. They're definitely noticeable, however, the same way Botticelli's Venus would be noticeable if the goddess emerged from the Exxon Valdez's oil slick.
These full-body wetsuits cover more skin than the average scuba suit yet their design exposes the body's more sensitive areas, namely the eyes and mouth, to the ocean's organic and inorganic irritants. Though unavoidable, the cutouts lead some to believe that the main purpose of such suits is to avoid sunburn and suntanning.
Visitors to the popular beaches of Qingdao have noticed more and more of these skin-hiding swimsuits of late, worn mainly by middle-aged women (at least, they appear to be women from the, er, bulges).
Qingdao's beaches have also been plagued by a series of enormous algae blooms. Though thick enough to hide the ocean's surface, the disgusting green slime has hardly deterred determined swimmers... in such conditions, a super-suit suitable for Spiderman's Mom suddenly seems smart.
China's netizens have picked up on the fearsome phenomenon recently, making “Swimsuit Auntie” the latest Chinese internet celebrity or superhero; it's hard to tell the difference some days. (via ChinaSmack, Baidu Baike, and MOP)