What is it about women and bathing suits? Joni Evans, Lesley Stahl, and Sheila Nevins discuss
SHEILA: I have a pool. I have a pool that I worked hard to pay for, right? And I’ve only been in it two or three times. I cannot put a bathing suit on any longer. It’s over for me.
LESLEY: Yes, me too.
SHEILA: O-V-E-R, period.
LESLEY: Me too.
SHEILA: And when I have friends that are less than perfect – and maybe it’s my own peculiar vanity – but when I have these friends and they come and they put on their little bathing suits and they go out … Some look good, some don’t; I do not. I won’t do it.
LESLEY: You won’t even join them …
SHEILA: Nope. I have a little muumuu that I wear and I sort of scrape out there in sandals. But I just won’t do it. I just don’t want to face it and maybe it’s me, myself.
LESLEY: Well I can remember the last time I put on a bathing suit and went to a swimming pool. It was at a resort and I went down to the pool and there was a chaise lounge and I lay down, and I had a feeling that somebody was very near me, and I opened my eyes and there was a woman who had leaned right down. Her face was right on top of me, and she recognized me.
SHEILA: Oh, no.
LESLEY: Oh, yes. And I thought, “Oh, my gosh, I’m humiliated. Oh, my God.” And I went up to my room and I never left my room again, and I’ve never been in a bathing suit since – ever.
JONI: Oh, you’re kidding. You have such a gorgeous body.
SHEILA: What about you, Miss Joni?
JONI: Well, you just reminded me of my most famous (to my own self) bathing-suit story. I was at the Beverly Hills Hotel as a guest. I was an editor and I was editing and my publisher used to put me up at the Beverly Hills Hotel when I was editing a big author. And remember they had that huge swimming pool.
JONI: I must have been, you know, 30 years old. This was in the early ’80s and I once had a great body and I was a great swimmer and diver, because I went to Camp Kinni Kinnic for many years and I learned how to do all those things. So I was on the diving board ready to do my spectacular dive, and I looked up and every single person at that pool was looking at me. And I thought, you know, “Is it my body?” So I looked down at the top of my two-piece bathing suit. You know, was it falling off? What were they looking at? I just could not figure it out. And then I just imagined I had the most beautiful body in the world – that must be why they were all looking.
SHEILA: Good for you.
JONI: So I dove very gracefully and swam the entire length of the pool underwater. But here’s the denouement – when I came up for air and looked back, Anita Ekberg was waiting to do a dive right after me!
SHEILA: But you still don’t know, Joni, if they weren’t looking at you.
JONI: No, they weren’t looking at me. Oh, my God, what hubris. I really thought it was my moment. I took these long underwater strokes …
LESLEY: You know what the lesson is? Never look back!