How to Spot an America Woman at the Beach

aerial drone shot of beach and yellow trees
Photo Art by Mary Quincy
One of my yoga teachers calls a pose and then often says “Don’t miss it!” if we’re dragging. And she’s right. The pose is happening now. Get going. 

Earlier this month I spent time on the beach in the Dominican Republic.  There was a big international community there, lots of Europeans and Canadians, Americans too. I’m a people-watcher, and I did a lot of it that week. By the end of that vacation I’d learned how to spot an American Woman from afar. 

Was she brighter? Happier? Prettier? Skinnier? Fatter? Had nothing to do with any of that. Wiser? Tanner? Whiter? Browner? Nope.

She was apologetic about her body.

The women from just about any country other than the US were free-er. Less inhibited about their bodies. We all jiggled on the beach. We all got a little sunburned. Everyone had too much to drink. But it was us American women who hid any body of ours that was more than a size 2. We were more sorry about our beautiful bodies than any other women. Covered up. Inhibited. Didn’t have permission to celebrate our bodies the way it seemed other women did.

I pointed it out to my husband and then it was all we could see. If a beautiful woman with a big body was walking the beach a bikini we knew she wouldn’t be speaking English. Not American. 

If an 80-year-old woman was in a thong – not an American.

If a 20-something was constantly adjusting her swimsuit to hide herself, worried about who was looking at her – almost always an American Woman.

When we were flying home from the vacation I asked my kids what idea they were bringing home with them – as in, what intangible do they want to keep? For me, it was more self love. More appreciation for the stretch marks that symbolize my motherhood, the cellulite that represents all of those delicious late-night snacks I have with my husband when it’s just the two of us watching an interesting documentary, and the wrinkles that remind my I’m alive. 

For my kids, it was much simpler takeaways. But I’ll be sure to remind them not to ever apologize for their physical body. You’re alive now. Don’t miss it.

Amy & Allyssa

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