It was winter break of my freshmen year of high school when my dad decided to reroute our annual Disney World trip. I think he felt he had sat in enough teacups and was ready for something different. After all, he had two kids in high school and thought it was time to try somewhere more mature. So, he chose another favorite vacation spot in Florida-- Miami Beach.
At fourteen I was already a B cup and confused by my rapidly changing body. I had graduated from one piece bathing suits and tankinis and moved onto a more adult style of swimwear, oh yes, the bikini. At this point, my dad was a single parent and doing his best to play the role of both Dad and Mom. We both rolled with the punches when it came to bras, bathing suits, periods, and boys. The sex talk my brother and I received before my first day of high school was, “Use a condom, and if I catch you smoking pot I will send you to Chile to work on a farm.” Which, in retrospect, sounds way better than high school ever was.
Danielle, age 14
So we’re on Miami Beach. It’s a hot day, and typically I don’t love ocean water. I need to stress this---I did not like the beach before this story happened. Nobody in my family believes me. The salt water gets in my eyes and my mouth, and the sand makes me itchy. I always have preferred pools.
I was laying on my back, riding the waves on a giant donut floaty. My dad and I brought it to practice “for the Olympics,” which was a really fun game we would play in the water. With his help, I would attempt to stand on the floaty like an Olympic gymnast and fall again and again.
While on my back, I began to get seasick. I have always had a very sensitive stomach. I called out to my brother and dad who were both sitting on the beach. I begged them to please help me off of the floaty because I was getting nauseous. Neither would help me. They thought I was being dramatic, but I was afraid that when I hopped off my feet wouldn’t touch the ocean floor.
Suddenly, a giant wave came and knocked me upside down and into the ocean! Next thing I knew, I had washed up on the shore completely disoriented. I stood up to gather myself and cough up some salt water. I saw my dad running towards me, presumably to see if I needed medical attention. But then I noticed him laughing. I’m thinking, “What is funny about me drowning?!” when I realized one my boobs had popped out of my bathing suit and was completely exposed. I immediately tucked it back in, looked over to see four old ladies staring at my me and my dad, still laughing but now with tears coming out of his eyes. I felt a breeze, looked down, and realized my OTHER BOOB had been exposed as well the entire time.
Danielle in a bikini
I'm now 30 years old, and my dad brings this story up on average, no joke, once a month since it happened. I have never seen my dad laugh harder than when he is repeating this story to friends, family, pretty much anyone who will listen. The only other time I have seen him laugh that hard was when I told him a boy I was dating broke up with me and at the same time gave me a brownie. Wardrobe malfunction hadn’t become a household term until a year later at the 2004 Super Bowl, but it’s nice to know maybe I was a trendsetter.