Friday, June 29, 2012

Beached

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 
                disappeared! 

                Eventually, I found one boob cowering 
                under my left armpit.  It took a while to find the 
                other. 
                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 
                suit. 

                I replied that I wasn't so sure and asked what 
                else she had to show me. I tried on a cream   crinkled 
                one 
                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 
                serving ring. 

                I struggled into a pair of leopard-skin 
                bathers with ragged frills and came out looking like 
                Tarzan' s 
                  Jane , pregnant with 
                triplets and having a rough day. 

                I tried on a black 
                number with a   midriff   fringe and looked like a jellyfish 
                in  mourning. 

                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 
                blouse-type top. 
                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." 

                So, if 
                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 
                T-shirt! 



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.




1 comment:

theldara said...

That poem killed me, too accurate..almost woke the kid laughing. The realm of plus size suits is the worst. All beached floral whale, still no decent bra. I hate swim gear.