Imagine a lake.. a large, calm, beautiful lake.
Imagine to be underwater, just swimming idly through the waves, deep below the surface.
The water is squeezing, pressing on you, yet this only makes you feel home and safe.
Your last fresh breath is quite a little while ago as you are spending your time down here as long as possible, surrounded just by rocks, plants, fish and other sea-life.
Yet you only feel a vibrant thrill through every thread within your body.
The sun sparkles on your skin weakly after passing through a few dozen feet of water and the soft currents tickle your senses as you kick your legs calmly and seem to be moving a free as a fish in its element with nothing obscuring your natural form except for a fir pair of firm, blue speedos and the well matching goggles on your eyes.
Finally your lungs are taking your attention, sending the signals for surfacing which you have been ignoring for so long. Even now you only close your eyes though, taking a last dip down towards the floor with your bare chest almost scrapping through the sand. Your eyes remain closed for a few more moments as you are just enjoying the amazing feeling of being surrounded by nothing water water.
Eventually you can feel something slippery brushing over your body. First you think it's just some fish but when you open your eyes, you realize that you've swum just into one of the patches of seaweed and kelp which grow from the rocks on the floor all around.
A few months ago, such a situation might have surprised you enough to cost you all your air, but now you just exhale a stale bubble from your chest and curl your body a little to turn upwards, ready to kick for the surface.
Suddenly quite a few more bubbles escape your lips audibly when your first kick only causes a tight feeling around your right leg. Nevertheless the movement pushed your upper body out of all the long leafs of kelp and you stare down, realizing that the slimy stuff has apparently curled around half of your leg.
Your eyes grow wide as you need to focus hard not to panic, yet your stomach clenches with a bad feeling. --n..no.. I need air...--, goes through your mind and just as if this reminded your body, you begin to feel how the weak tightness within your chest has turned to a distracting burn. --three.. four minutes? How long am I don here?..--
Trying your best not to think about the time, you eagerly begin to pull the seaweed apart but you still need to kick to stay afloat and not sink in and get only more entangled. Nevertheless, just those motions only cause more weed to grab your foot.
The burning within your chest grows as you become more and more desperate to pull the resistant plants off.
Yet the more you tug and pull at it, the tighter it seems to surround your leg and soon begins to coil around your other leg as well. In a peak of despair, you kick hard, now just trying to rip the kelp out of the ground but there's not much hope in doing that.
On the opposite, this only worsens your situation.
Your heart is thumping hard in your ears by now from the effort, trying to keep the balance between sheer panic and the focus on saving energy.
Bubble after bubble trickle from your lips as you clench your teeth, soon not able to suppress a powerful spasm of your chest. The bubbles are audible in your ears when your muscles contract without your control, trying to force you to inhale, no matter what. The stale air is barely bearable.
With your eyes full of panic, you look around for anything what could help you, but you are not able to focus on anything anymore as you are kicking shaking just in need for air.
However, something eventually catches your attention. It is first just a dark silhouette, easily to be mistaken with just another, larger fish. Yet the closer it comes, the more you can't help it but to stare at it.
Soon the dark shape reveals itself, turning first into a human - a girl, to be more accurate - a tanned girl with big, curious eyes and long, black hair glistening beyond her head. Still this is not everything this shape has to reveal.
Another spasm of your chest breaks your focus and you grab your neck for a moment. Normally you would probably have just given up by now, giving in to the desire of your stale, half-empty lungs. Yet the girl takes your attention again as she comes back into your view and although a swirl of bubbles begins to leak constantly from your lips and nostrils now, you can only stare as you realize what's only a couple of feet infront of you:
A gorgeous, dark-blue tail covered in scales which glisten even more than her hair, belongs to the girl!
She swims swiftly around you, handling the water in a truly graceful manner, almost seeming to fly through it. The strong, yet soft looking tail, covered in scales pushes the water behind and the large fin at it's end waves up and down with every movement.
--a... a real mermaid?! ...is.. this real?..--, your mind spins and you don't know whether it is more than just the deprivation of oxygen of your blood.
For a moment she floats just in place, building eye-contact with you.
Still it's not possible to tell whether it is a just a costume or not though. Not even her cute, feminine face gives anything away as she gives you a strange, almost seductively sweet look.
Then her glance is seeming to explore you as she comes almost in range for you to touch her, yet you don't dare to move your hands at all. Again her tail kicks and you can even feel the currents of water, her movements produce as she takes a turn around your body, obviously able to see everything of your body right now just like you can see her smooth, scale-covered butt and pure, golden-brown skin.
Finally just when you are simply on the edge of giving up - with your chest entirely empty and your rib-cage showing - she comes up by your side, brushing her warm body just along yours the split of a second before she positions herself right in front of you. Your glance meets her again and you can see a depth within her bright green eyes. A depth and an intensity even stronger than the sea surrounding them. Her eyes seem to give an answer, yet rise many questions as the same time while you wish that this moment would never end.
The feeling only grows an a firework - not of pain but an intense, pleasing tingle - covers your whole body when you realize that she placed one of her smooth hands on your chest. Your heart pounds even harder than before and your mouth has filled with water already.
--Will she.. let me drown?..-- Sparks through your mind before your eyes close, barely having seen how her lips began to approach.
Anyways, what you said actually surprised me and you are right (asked some american friends). Here in Germany that's really nothing very special. Before our equivalent to highschool (< 8th grade) a cloth like that was the normal wear for swimming class in school.
Later we switched to swimmingtrunks too though.
At public pools and the beach, you tend to see both kinds of clothes on adults.
To be honest, I don't really see an issue and why are girls meant to show more skin (bikinis) than guys at all? xD