Shop of Horrors

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Summer arrived as I emerged from my flannel cocoon in quest of a flattering swimsuit. “Au Naturel” is not my flavor, so a Brazilian wax complementing a thong is definitely out of the question. Who needs the torture of dental floss wedged up your privates after a painful waxing below an upper lip? Anyway, not wanting to be mistaken for Sasquatch, hunted down, mounted, and displayed as a prized catch above a fireplace mantel, I meticulously shaved my legs and bikini line. I slipped into a comfortable pair of jeans, strapped on my faithful eighteen-hour bra and prayed it would protect, lift, and separate my spirit from any vicious truths I may encounter. Realizing the journey would be a harrowing experience, I calmed my jitters with a shot of Tequila and a twist of lime.


Venturing into the shop of horrors, I found myself trapped in a maze of every marketer’s dream. I seized several suits off the rack cleverly disguised as tummy tuckers, breast enhancers and butt reducers, and flip-flopped towards the dressing room. A neon sign above its threshold read:

“Swimsuit shopping may be hazardous to your health. This establishment is not liable for mental breakdowns. There will be no cursing. A little whining is accepted. Swimsuits must be tried on over your underwear. We must protect ourselves against any lingering DNA. Security is in full force at all times!”


Feeling lightheaded from the buzz of solenoids escaping from the flickering fluorescent lighting, I signed a waiver witnessed by the attendant relinquishing my rights to any major lawsuit. I left a contact number of my next of kin in case I became mentally or physically ill. The distorted, crackling speakers emitting “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” was reminiscent of a time forgotten. The music did not disguise the muffled sobbing resonating beneath door No.1 or the choruses of “Hallelujah” behind door No.2. Some nut in dressing room three was debating with her Gemini twin on how they would look dancing the limbo in a bikini. 


I disrobed in front of the three-way mirror, leaving my granny panties intact. It was difficult to comprehend the metamorphous of my body after only one year of hibernation. An apparition of my girlish figure lurked behind dimpled globs of cellulite where toned muscles once turned the heads of admirers. My perky breasts no longer stood in salute, but compassed south where they nestled above my protruding belly. I pondered, “Do they make bikini tops in 34 long”? Glancing over my shoulder, it became obvious my glutei were destined for the Rose Parade. A swimsuit graced with miniature flowers blossomed into a gigantic floral float when it stretched across my derriere. The tiny spider vein on the back of my leg now resembled the tattoo of a freaking tarantula. I debated, “Were these reflections an illusion created by warped carnival show mirrors, or had some devilish stranger robbed me of my youth?”


As I exited the hallowed halls, the poised attendant asked me if I had any luck. I held up my favorite suit and begged her, “tongue-in-cheek,” to please put it on hold for at least two months. By then, I was positive ingesting a few shakes of Slim-Slow would exorcise my sluggish metabolism and allow me to lose ten pounds for a perfect fit! An entourage of men dressed in little white suits greeted some of the less fortunate. The Gemini twins were having a heck of a time limbo-ing in their straight jackets. Ms. Hallelujah was on her knees praying the credit card company would approve the quarter-yard of spandex she wished to purchase. The sobbing woman was on her cell phone pulling money from a 401K account for an immediate consultation with a plastic surgeon. It was mind-boggling how a woman’s psyche could be drastically altered, bearing witness to the hidden truths unlocked behind a dressing room door.


I escaped from the shop of horrors empty handed, but with my dignity in tact. Regardless of my size or shape, I refused to be held hostage by an anorexic standard of beauty embellished in spandex and forced into a regimen of Slim-Slow. Thankfully, my Creator adorned me in original couture from the fabric of my being. My seams are sewn from the inside out. Truly a perfect fit! This summer, I will let it all hang out, chuck the tequila and just eat the worm!

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