Sunday, April 21, 2013

Swimsuit Season: Terror in the Dressing Room

I did it, I tried on the first swimsuit of the season.  Men cannot understand how traumatizing this is, they who spend their summers in baggy, elastic waist swim trunks. Most women, however, know that feeling of dread as you walk to the dressing room, a variety of choices in your hand--something colorful, something black; something teeny something tent-like.  None of them will fit right, you tell yourself, let's just get it over with. Or maybe you're optimistic:  They're all so cute, it'll be hard to  pick just one!  (Note:  If that's your internal monologue, you are obviously under the age of 21 and your actual weight matches that listed on your driver's license.  You may stop reading this now, as it doesn't pertain to you.  Or better yet, bookmark this post and come back to it ten years and two kids from now.)

My husband and I are getting ready to go on our annual anniversary trip to Las Vegas (read:  No Kids!!!) and I realized all my swimsuits make me look very matronly.  While some may consider me to be a matron--mid 40's, three kids, minivan and the prerequisite wedding ring--that doesn't mean I want to dress like one. I am hardly obese, but with age comes not only great wisdom, but a slower metabolism.  A few parts of me may be a little rounder, and squishier, than they once were, but that doesn't mean I want to dress like my grandmother.

A few years back I read an article about choosing swimsuits which claimed less is more.  The idea is that if you wear the skirted, cover-up type suit you will look heavier than if you have more skin showing.  The article suggested a string bikini, since the fit is adjustable and therefore will not cut into your flesh, causing...spillage.  In theory this made sense and, feeling adventurous, I went to the local Walmart (first mistake) and choose a couple mix-and-match pieces from the Juniors section (mistake #2) and took them home without trying them on (and three's a charm!).  Let's just say these so-called swimsuit pieces didn't quite cover all my pieces.  I then got to experience the joy of waiting in Walmart's "customer service" line to return them.  The next two summers were very matronly.

This year I planned to get into better shape before our trip through better diet (lots of fruits and vegetables!) and exercise (gym workout every day, maybe running).  As happens all too often, life got in the way.  While I am eating healthier and exercising three times a week, this has not budged a single fat cell.  Apparently my body thinks my family is going to set me adrift on an ice flow, so it is guarding those fat reserves as if my life depended on it.  Let's just say I am not what any self help magazine or lingerie catalog would consider swimsuit shape.


So I walked into Target thinking I'd just get a boy-short style swimsuit bottom and maybe a tankini top.  I looked at the choices, which weren't that different from what I had at home, and felt defeated already.  The bikini styles were so much cuter, with more variety and more colors.  And then I remembered that article.  Well, what the H-E-double toothpicks, I thought. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Which is how I ended up in a dressing room in a bikini--black bottoms with tie sides and green and white polka-dotted top.  And it wasn't horrible.  It's unlikely that the pool boys will be throwing themselves at my feet, but it wasn't horrible.  I will probably not even frighten any small children, though I may provide a cautionary tale to those hard bodied 20-somethings.  The way I figure, most of those at the pool will be drunk anyway, who'll notice if I brought my muffin top with me ?  I myself may partake in a blended drink with an umbrella and fresh fruit garnish (for my diet regimen, of course.) so perhaps I might not notice either. 
And there it hangs, on the back of my bedroom door, reminding me every day for the next three weeks that fruits, vegetables and exercise are the holy trifecta of swimsuit season.