This weekend, I braved Marshall’s to purchase—duh duh duh, duuuuuh—a bathing suit. It’s true—don’t gasp—I had no choice. You see, last Thursday, I put on last year’s suit—a rather fetching two piece in rich purple which drew the eye up and away from my imperfections, and the straps pulled out in that slow, languid way which indicated that the elastic has given up the ghost and moved on to greener pastures. My dear husband and I jumped into the pool and went swimming, anyway, since it was just the two of us and he’s kind enough to enjoy the bits of me which were not quite, well, contained, as I dove into the water. Since our friends are already clamoring for the first pool party of the summer and I refuse to become an exhibitionist, it was time for a new suit.
I had sneakily worked out in my mind that I would purchase a nice, sleek, architecturally clever one-piece which would hold in all the willful brownie-filled bits of me and create a glorious swimming silhouette resembling my early twenties body. In my imagination, the store I walked into would hold rack after rack of suits that would push and shape, nudge and coax, until my bust was perky and a quarter would bounce on my tush. The sad reality of the Marshall’s I chose was that the selection of one pieces ran to the blousy top with swimskirt design—suits which embraced the most unattractive 1950s swimskirt features and paired them with patterns more commonly used to upholstery nursing home couches. And at thirty-five, I’m just not there yet.
So, eyes squinted a little out of reluctance, I turned toward the two-piece suits. No … too geometric for my soft squishiness. No … I won’t wear a suit that says, “Babycakes.” No … I will not, no matter how many times anyone puts out a piece of clothing out of that shade, wear anything in the neon lime-green color which positively makes me look like a corpse stepping out of my grave. No … if the amount of fabric holding the suit together looks like it would barely make a Kleenex for Barbie, I’m definitely out. And then, there on a bottom rack, turned inside out so the pattern looked weird and knit-fabricky, was a teal flash.
I have become realistic in the last several weeks—I am not medium right now, I’m definitely large. I’m working on it—swimming will help a lot—but I held my breath as I pulled the suit away from the wall and looked for the size tag. Medium. And the one behind it? Medium. With two left, one said, small and finally, ta da! Large. For laughs, I took a medium, because I’m not THAT realistic yet—hope springs eternal—and the large. The bikini was a little flashy, even, with a jeweled heart in the same color gems as the fabric across the left breast and the right butt cheek. Given that my wardrobe generally falls into the black, burgundy and green—all solid colors, I felt positively outrageous even walking up to the attendant at the dressing rooms with these scraps of teal in my hands.
Trying on bathing suits should be an Olympic sport. There is always that moment where I try to contort my body to slide on an unfamiliar fabric with straps that I am not sure of and think, I’m going to get stuck. I have not ever had to call the attendant to rescue me from the evil design work of some tiny, fashionista in New York laughing maniacally to herself as she imagines housewives trying on her works in the dressing rooms of California Marshall’s stores, but I feel as if the possibility of that happening is imminent.
Let’s dispense entirely with the medium, shall we? Suffice to say, I’m still not a medium, even after my whopping week and a half of trying to reduce my portion size at meals and to move my body farther than from the car to my office chair back to the car and onto the sofa. So I went to the large. Both pieces actually fit okay—I’m NOT trying an extra large, thank you very much. And it only took me a small amount of adjusting to get my breasts situated behind the vibrant teal top. The suit also conveniently offers the option of untying the top from the front for those brave women who chose to sun topless. Given my Slavic heritage and my lifetime of having only two options from sun exposure—sunscreen SPF 70 WHITE and sunburn after twenty-five minutes RED—I will not be using that option.
But I feel sexy in this suit. Its vibrant shade sets off my rich red hair and porcelain skin—even on my tummy—to great effect. And the jewels are fun—BodyGlove is scrawled across both the hearts on chest and bottom. It has a sassy little belt that ties in front and draws the eye up from my thighs. And when I showed it off to the girls at the office, all of whom are a decade younger than me, the youngest, most fashion-forward of them, said, “Hey, I’d buy something like that.”
Mission accomplished. Now, if I can just figure out how to put on my swim cap.