School is either out or about to be, so many teen-aged girls are shopping for summer swimwear. They may see nothing wrong with the revealing suits on the racks. But one Mom does, and I suspect she's not alone.

Ilhan Cagri of Kensington called the other day to say she is "absolutely outraged" by what she and her 13-year-old daughter discovered in several of the largest and best-known department stores in Montgomery County.

"Every suit we looked at was in-cut and up-cut," said Ilhan. That means the edges of these suits angle sharply downward from the waist across each buttock. Perhaps the suits covered half of each buttock, perhaps two-thirds. But no suit covered a whole buttock -- not to mention both buttocks.

"We don't want our daughters out there with their behinds hanging out," says Ilhan. "What ever happened to a one-piece plain bathing suit that comes down to the middle of your thighs?"

That seemed like a fair question to put to some swimwear experts. Here are the responses of two:

Jeff Tauber, swimwear buyer for Bloomingdale's in New York City: "Sex sells. The skimpier the suit, the better it sells . . . . People are into athletics and being slim. They want to show off."

Dolores McCoy, assistant buyer of junior swimwear for Bloomie's: "The very junior swimwear with low-cut ruffles {is selling} very well. So are the very sophisticated high-cuts in metallics {for teen-agers and women}. There isn't much in between."

In other words, the only females who can buy buttock-covering bathing suits this season are children.

In other words, any teen-aged girl who wants to go swimming in a new suit this summer will have to expose a large chunk of her behind for the privilege.

Believe me, I have nothing against female derrieres. But they are so much more interesting when you have to look at them through a layer of cloth and guess what they really look like.

To see large hunks of hindquarter flesh is to see more than you should and more than you want. I think there's a market for full buttock coverage in female swimwear -- if only the stores would look for it.

Horace Mann School in Northwest says farewell today to a pair of institutions.

Yetta Staffin and Lenore Gnatt both retire from teaching as of 2:15 this afternoon. Yetta Staffin has been a kindergarten teacher at Horace Mann for 12 years. Lenore Gnatt has been a first-grade teacher there for 19.

But their careers go much farther back than that -- and they have been remarkably similar.

The two women met when they were students at Wilson's Teacher College here. They each taught in the D.C. public schools for three years before marrying. They each had two daughters and a son. And they returned to the D.C. schools at Horace Mann when their children were grown.

Patricia Patton, Horace Mann's principal, said this about Yetta:

"She was extremely loving and motherly with children, and very supportive of the parents. She took a great deal of pride in building good habits for the children . . . . She had an exemplary room environment, with fresh flowers, growing plants and music. She liked beautiful things herself and felt the children should be exposed to them."

Patricia said this about Lenore:

"She was very original in teaching children how to read -- a master at it. And also how to write. You couldn't believe it was first-grade work. She would have the children draw pictures and underneath the art work write a story of what it was about to teach them how to express ideas in art and writing."

The two longtime friends would often bring their classes together to perform musical plays. "It was that kind of association -- unusual," said Patricia.

Will there ever be enough teachers like these two women? There couldn't be.


Just 13 days until the first wave of campers heads off to the country. Have you done your part to help our annual fund drive? We hope to send 1,200 underprivileged kids to camp this summer. But they may not all be able to go if we don't help pay their way.

Please give what you can. It costs $300 to send one child to camp for two weeks, but donations of any size are welcome (and tax-deductible, too).


Make a check or money order payable to Send a Kid to Camp, and mail it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., 20071.


In hand as of June 3: $31,953.60.

Our goal: $220,000.