February 23, 2006

Just Poke My Eyes Out With a Pencil

My blogsisters Tammi and ArmyWifeToddlerMom have both had posts on this topic today. (Tammi's was very upbeat... Army Wife and I are on the same page.) I meant to do it last spring, being a topic so near and dear to my heart, but forgot. Today is a good day. I’ll jump on that bandwagon.

Bathing Suit shopping. I hate it. With a purple passion. I do believe it is the single event that can bring the most grounded and nonplussed woman to her knees. That would be… me.

I’m a pretty confident person. Sure, I go through spells like anyone else, but I know I can hold my own just about anywhere. I don’t need to depend on anyone for my day to day stuff, I take care of maintenance on my own car, I’m dependable at work, I can wear jeans in the day and an evening gown at night, I can blend, I can lead, just wind me up and watch me go.

But don’t make me go bathing suit shopping.

I am envious of the men. They walk into the store, see a rack of swim trunks, look for their waist size, and pick a pattern/color they don’t find offensive. Then bada-bing-bada-bang, it’s done. They pay, they own, they go swimming.

Women? Good Lord. There are ENTIRE SECTIONS of department stores devoted strictly to swim suits. And not only do they come in 1000 of your favorite colors, but they come in 1000 different patterns. That’s not even going into the cuts.

That’s right. Whereas a man picks up a pair of shorts and says, “I’m good to go” we women have one piece or bikini or the kind with little shorts (my preference). We have french cut legs or regular leg. Tank tops or bikini tops. Those with skirts and those without. Padded bra tops, bras that smush us together to make us look more voluptuous, and bras that ‘minimize’. Those that try to make our butts look better or those that show a lot of butt. And then there are bathing suits that try to make us look like we have a waist when we don’t or flatten our tummy or keep all the cellulite together so it doesn’t jiggle.

The combinations and permutations in one department store are simply astounding. And this is assuming that if you’re buying a two piece that your top and bottoms are the same size. If not, you find yourself at a specialty store where you can buy your size 8 top to go with your size 4 bottom. And if you’re in a specialty store? That means you’re in a store that has no less than 10,000 bathing suits in it, upping the probability of complete melt down as a result of bathing suit sensory overload.

Long gone are my days when I just needed a Speedo Lycra swim suit for a swim meet. Now I need on that hides, lifts, and compresses.

And there are other things I have to take into account now, such as the fact my boys love to hang on to me in the pool. They love to play with my hair (that gets very long when wet), hang on my back, sit on my hip. I have one rule with them… if they expose a breast of mine, I get out of the pool and swim time is over. So when picking a swimsuit I have to try to take into account that everything needs to stay in place in case a hand hits a strap or ends up down the front of my suit. And I need to make sure the bottoms are going to stay up when an errant foot hits the waist band. Too many times I have wondered if I’m going to lose my suit in the pool as I find a foot has somehow managed to make its way down the backside of my bathing suit.

I’m a Mom. I have three kids. I am 40. My body has a million miles on it. I have no waist, I’m shaped like a small oak tree, and I have a tummy I hate. And as much as I can completely logically reason to myself that this is a normal progression in a woman’s life, I cannot help but wistfully think ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to be 8 inches taller and look like a swim suit model?’ Or maybe bring it down a notch and think, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could pick my bathing suit based on color and not one based on what it hides and enhances?”

And trying them on is the worst. When my Better Half learns I’m going bathing suit shopping, not only would he never volunteer to go, but I think he secretly wonders if he should leave town for a couple days so I can work through it.

The entire process is painful. The mirrors… there are mirrors on EVERY wall in those dressing rooms! Do I REALLY NEED TO KNOW what my butt looks like in that suit? No. Humor me. Allow me to stay in a state of ignorant bliss on the fact my butt fell last year. I know it. I can feel it. But DO I NEED TO SEE IT? No. I do not.

And I don’t need to see that there may be some cellulite on the back of my thighs. Or any type of ‘veinage’.

But I get it from three angles… all at once.
Front, I can see I have no waist.
Side, I can see that it doesn’t FRICKIN’ matter that I do crunches and lower back work, I have a tummy and its not going away short of a very talented surgeon with a very sharp knife lending his expertise.
Back, my butt is bigger than I imagined and it’s fallen. And I’m sure if I moved, it jiggles, but I dare not do that lest I end up inconsolable in the corner of said dressing room, trying to poke my eye out with a pencil.

It sucks.

And I don’t know who developed the lighting in these dressing rooms, but add THEM to the list of people I think should be shot. Pasty white, sickly, horrible. It is not soft light but stark and seems to show every blemish that could possibly exist on one’s skin.

If they really wanted to sell bathing suits, they’d make the mirrors like those circus mirrors so we look thin and they’d have soft lighting so it softened the years in the mirror… and they’d serve a glass of wine at the dressing room door.

Someone should take note…

Posted by Boudicca at February 23, 2006 10:20 PM | TrackBack

I hear this season mumus are the thing!!

Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at February 23, 2006 11:24 PM

Look, from a guy's point of view here is reality...men buy to suit themselves (and hope someone will notice). Women buy for other women (an hope someone will notice). Bou, if you have any thoughts as to what guys might think when they see you in it, one of them will think you are hot-hot-hot. For every woman there is a man thinking they are hot-hot-hot. Now, if you are not shopping for what guys will think...I can't help you. Sorry...that's as far as my male wisdom will take me!

Posted by: David in North Pole at February 24, 2006 12:44 AM

I wouldn't care if they had a fully stocked bar, there is no way I am ever going to put myself through THAT particular level of hell.

Posted by: Raging Mom at February 24, 2006 07:45 AM

I make it easy on myself, I never buy suits anymore.

We don't take vacations that would require one and I just don't lay out in the sun in a suit. Usually a tank top and shorts will do.

Posted by: Machelle at February 24, 2006 09:42 AM

As a man of 63, the only reason I can say that I'm in shape is because "round" is a shape. Oh, to look as GOOD as I did at 40, that would be miraculous, I'd give anything to look that young.

I find the look of women of 40 to be amazing, so NOT the "do not touch" look of those in their 20's.

Posted by: bigdocmcd at February 24, 2006 11:24 AM

You're supposed to check the size? I thought they were one size fits all with a drawstring. I just look for the liner and I'm happy.

(Sorry, just had to rub it in!)

Posted by: Ogre at February 24, 2006 01:27 PM

I purchased my swim suit online from Lands End last year. I dressed a "virtual" model of me (yeah right) and it came via UPS. Best SS shopping experience of my adult life....

Posted by: Richmond at February 24, 2006 02:42 PM

Seems like you have identified a wonderful business opportunity. Alas, I have no biz sense. But simple. Proper mirrors, good lighting, and for sure some beverages of choice. Why isn't someone already doing that? Or is it concern that there would be a lawsuit for misleading practices?

Oh for a day of kidding myself that I look 25? 30? sigh... under 40? Too bad my baby face goes with a 44 year old bod.

Posted by: JCK at February 24, 2006 02:51 PM

"...and they’d serve a glass of wine at the dressing room door."

And a candy dish filled with Prozac?

BTW, ever seen my "Edgar Allen poe on Prozac" impression? [sing-song voice] "Pretty bird"--ya just have to get yourself in the right mindset for the Herculean task of SS shopping. First: eliminate all the SI SS models. OK

Or take an issue and slowly feed it a page at a time through the shredder.

Therapeutic any?

Posted by: David at February 27, 2006 08:25 AM