Once we'd decided to vacation to Virginia Beach, Little Sis and I started hunting for bathing suits. I can hear the sympathetic moans from you female readers. I've never liked shopping, and bathing suit shopping has to be at the bottom of my list of things I ever want to do. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's the first thing you have to do in Hell, and you'll have to try the suits on in a stall with no door, under those unflattering and loudly buzzing fluorescent lights . :P
Ironically, I got this email fwd during The Great Bathing Suit Hunt. Sorry for the poor editing, but this is how I got it and I'm too lazy to fix it. Also, apologies to the original author, since I have no idea who it was.
Subject: bathing suit shopping
When I was a child in
the 1950s, the bathing suit for the mature figure was-boned,
trussed and reinforced,
not so much sewn
as engineered. They were built to hold back and uplift,
and they did a good job.
Today' s stretch
fabrics are designed for the prepubescent girl with a figure
carved from a potato chip.
The mature woman has
a choice, she can either go up front to the maternity
department and try on a floral
suit with a skirt,
coming away looking like a hippopotamus that escaped from
Disney' s Fantasia , or she
can wander around
every run-of-the-mill department store trying to make a
sensible choice from what
amounts to a designer
range of fluorescent rubber bands.
What choice did I
have? I wandered around, made my sensible choice and
entered the chamber of
horrors known as the
fitting room. The first thing I noticed was the
extraordinary tensile strength
of the stretch material.
The Lycra used in bathing costumes was
developed, I believe,
by NASA to launch small rockets from
a slingshot , which gives the added bonus that if you manage
to actually lever
yourself into one, you would be protected from shark
attacks. Any shark taking a
swipe at your passing
midriff would immediately suffer whiplash .
I fought my
way into the bathing suit, but as I twanged the shoulder strap
in place I gasped in horror,
my boobs had
Eventually, I found one boob cowering
under my left armpit. It took a while to find the
At last I located it
flattened beside my seventh rib.
The problem is that
modern bathing suits have no bra cups. The mature woman
is now meant to wear
her boobs spread
across her chest like a speed bump. I realigned my speed
bump and lurched toward
the mirror to take a
full view assessment.
The bathing suit fit all right,
but unfortunately it only fitted those bits of me willing to
stay inside it.
The rest of me oozed
out rebelliously from top, bottom and sides. I looked
like a lump of Playdoh wearing
undersized cling wrap.
As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had
come from, the prepubescent sales girl popped her
head through the
curtain, "Oh, there you are," she said, admiring the bathing
I replied that I wasn't so sure and asked what
else she had to show me. I tried on a cream crinkled
that made me look like
a lump of masking tape, and a floral two-piece that gave the
appearance of an
oversized napkin in a
I struggled into a pair of leopard-skin
bathers with ragged frills and came out looking like
Jane , pregnant with
triplets and having a rough day.
I tried on a black
number with a midriff fringe and looked like a jellyfish
I tried on a bright pink pair with
such a high cut leg I thought I would have to wax my eyebrows
to wear them.
Finally, I found a suit that fit, it was
a two-piece affair with a shorts-style bottom and a loose
It was cheap,
comfortable, and bulge-friendly, so I bought it. My
ridiculous search had a successful
outcome, I figured.
When I got it home, I found a label that read,
"Material might become transparent in water."
you happen to be on the beach or near any other body of water
this year and I'm there too, I'll be the one
in cut-off jeans and a
This email had me -literally- laughing till I cried. Eöl didn't quite understand why it was just so darn funny, but then all he has to do is grab a pair of swim trunks and he's ready for the beach. Not. Fair.
Nothing makes you more aware of your figure flaws than trying on bathing suits. Parts of you squish out in odd places, parts of the bathing suit vanish into unknown territory, and you really want to pull on a pair of sweat pants and call it a day. Even back when I was teensy tiny (four children and three grandchildren ago), I hated putting on a bathing suit. And now, here I am, headed into middle age (or maybe I'm already there; I've never quite pinned down the number for middle age), about to take my perfectly trim and toned husband to a beach full of flat-bellied-full-bosomed-much-younger-than-me women.
Needless to say, I doubled up on the ab crunches and the thigh toning....for all the good that did. Two days of doing nothing but sitting in the car and munching junk food zeroed out all that hard work before I even got to the beach.
I did, finally, find some mix and match pieces to wear on the beach. I tried them on and assumed I'd be much thinner by the time I actually arrived at the beach. (Stop laughing!)
And now, a confession: I've never been happy with my body. (I can tell you are not the least surprised.) But who is, really? Even at my thinnest, I always found the flaws. Nothing was ever "just right." But why is that, do you think? I'm healthy. I'm strong. What the heck do I have to complain about?
Warning: This is where I jump on the soapbox.
Maybe my problem, and that of women in general, lies in the fact that none of what we compare ourselves to is real. The media has, for a long time, made us all feel we had to be thinner and younger. Growing old and being a little heavy is just not acceptable. Never mind if you are healthy, if you are intelligent, if you are gifted in any number of ways; if you are heavy, ugly, or old, nothing else matters...at least that's what they'd like us to think.
This is a great example: Yahoo had an article, Stars Without Retouching, that made me realize how "close" isn't "close enough". Here are some pics from the article, which is linked above.
Does she look like she needed any photoshop slimming? And yet they took a few inches off the waist.
This is my favorite. I'm not a big Kardashian fan, but I love the fact that she said, "So what: I have a little cellulite. What curvy girl doesn't?" to the people that pointed out her cellulite when an unretouched photo was released.
This gal sure didn't need a digital diet. Notice how they smoothed her out so you can't count her ribs?
My biggest eye opener was actually being at the beach. I head out to the sand, feeling self-conscious, but after just a few minutes, I realize that I'm... just... normal. (Not that I've ever been called normal for any other reason, so you can stop rolling your eyes.) There are girls much younger and much heavier than I am, obviously comfortable with their bodies, judging by the amount of exposed flesh. The only non-cellulite bodies I noticed were those girls that would've been mistaken for teenage boys if they didn't have a bikini top. Forget the perfect bodies and full bosoms; those two are mutually exclusive.
Funny that it took me so many years to realize something so simple: This is me. I am healthy. I am curvy. I am happy.