With A Thong In My Heart

May 31

dreamstime_4046927.jpgBuying a bathing suit: Somehow, I feel that I don’t have to say another word. And yet I must.

Certain adjectives come springingly to mind: dreaded, humiliating, humbling (not exactly the same as humiliating), life-negating, tiring, stressful. Please feel free to join in! 

There are nouns, too: Disaster, disappointment, defeat, compromise, frustration, failure, basket case.

The sentences are worse than an undeserved prison term:
I came, I tried, I wept.
I came, I saw myself in the 3-way mirror, I fled.
I came, I saw a lot of suits, none of them fit.

 And that’s not the whole horrible story . . .

Sadism, Masochism, And One Ray Of Sunshine

The people who design bathing suits for women are sadists. Every year, they decide that a certain style or cut is in, and you’re stuck with it whether it fits or not. It never fits.

Last year, it was the halter-top. If you’re flat on top, it just lies  there, looking useless. If you’re big, you hang out. You want  to hang out on the beach, not out of your bathing suit. I hate halters.

For a while, the bottoms were being cut higher and higher, higher and higher, higher and higher. This was supposed to “elongate the leg.” What it did was show more cellulite. Now,  the bottoms are cut a bit fuller, and some suits even have  ruffles on the bottom. Do you remember the pictures in the children’s books of elephants in tutus? If you try on one of  these, you will.

The people who run the bathing suit departments are also sadists.There are so many suits, you can’t believe there isn’t  ONE that will work. There isn’t one.

But nevertheless, you take 20 or 30 into the dressing room. One lives in hope. Or masochism. H’mm. Perhaps necessity is  not so much the mother of invention, but of masochism?  Surely, in this situation, it is.

The people who design dressing rooms are the worst kind of  sadists. The lighting makes everything (and I mean everything)  look hideous. Then just when you thought that it couldn’t get any worse, it gets worse:

If the top fits, the bottom doesn’t.  If the cut is good, the color isn’t. If the style is nice, they don’t have your size.

I hate men. Actually, unlike those lyrics from Kiss Me Kate, (I’d like someone to kiss something at this point), I CAN abide them every now and then. Most of the time, actually, thank you very much, but
NOT when I’m shopping for a bathing suit. Men have three or four choices: small, medium, large, and sometimes extra large. Speedos are pretty much out (except for certain beaches in the Caribbean
and that weird guy on Real Housewives of New York), so the big style choice is long or short. Most colors come in most sizes. And they are IN ORDER on the rack!

Women, on the other, have to deal with the messes made by the Women Who Have Come Before Them, those poor, disheartened and desperate souls, who, quite understandably have changed the order
of things by frantically rifling through the racks, searching for something —anything!—that might conceivably fit. We must scrounge for our sizes, which is similar to, but worse than, having to sing for your supper.

Tanks For The Memories
(“Tanks For The Mammaries,” while punny, doesn’t exactly… fit.) Somehow, in the midst of all this insanity, someone invented the tankini. And let’s face it ladies, at a certain point, you really have to give up on bikinis, cute as they look on the hangers. I like tankinis, because they’re cooler (both literally and figuratively) than one piece suits, and they’re much easier to deal with when you have to go to the bathroom. Pulling down the whole suit while sitting there doing whatever you’re doing is not a pretty sight.

When you’re standing up, they hide your middle. And then, when you’re lying in the sun – if, after all this trauma, you actually make it to the beach –  you’re in a prone position where things don’t hang out so much, so you can raise the bottom of the top (is that clear?) and get some sun on your midriff.
Use sunscreen! You’re really, really white in the middle from being indoors all winter and from wearing all those one-piece suits, and getting some color there helps your morale. All things considered, tanned flab looks better than pale flab. You knew that.

Unfortunately, the latest trend is having the tops and bottoms of tankinis (and bikinis) sold as “separates,” which get, well, separated, so that when you’ve finally found the perfect top (“perfect” may be too strong a word here), you can’t find the bottom that goes with it.

Oh well. As you know, here at I Can’t Believe I’m Not Bitter, we always like to put on a positive spin on even the most dire situation. Here’s one: Last year, I bought a cute black and white top from Micheal Kors on sale at Saks. Okay, it was a halter, but it either fit, or I didn’t have the strength to notice that it didn’t  – after exhausting the entire selection at Bloomies and Lord and Taylor – and that top goes with the black bottom from last year’s suit.

What is it with black and white patterns? Do they really make you look crisper, or younger, or have I been out in the sun too long? Does it matter? The point is, I did it! I bought a bathing suit. Or half of one anyway. And it was a bargain on top (or bottom).

Okay, that may not work for you. Besides, you need a spin of your own. So try these on for size:
 • I never liked the beach anyway.
• The mountains are so much nicer this time of year.
• No one else is looking that great either.
• He loves me for my mind.
• After an hour in the sun, I won’t give a damn.

  pat_cover_up.jpgOr fall back on my all-time favorite:

• Thank god, the cover-ups are cute this season.

FYI: Hats and sunglasses help, too.They divert attention.

And if all else fails…Have your picture taken by someone who knows Photoshop. Then convince yourself that you really look like that!

Parts of this article appeared in www.womanaroundtown.com where I write a humor column.

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