Helena and I went swimsuit shopping last night and the only reason I did not suffer a complete psychotic break in the middle of Kohls was because we were buying suits for her, not me.
Unlike it is for a forty-ish year old woman, bathing suit shopping for a nine year old girl is actually fun. The suits are bright and colorful, there’s a ton of them to choose from and best of all, I don’t have to rub pork fat all over her body to get the things to slide on. Nobody winds up a sobbing puddle of mess on the floor and no one is reported to customer service for performing emergency liposuction in the dressing room with a Dyson and a garden hose.
I leave you with a post I wrote almost two years ago about this very subject because swimsuit season is looming and I don’t think there’s a woman amongst us who can hear those words without curling up into a fetal position for a minute or so. Unless, of course, you’re a size six or less and on speaking terms with gravity, in which case? Go eat another rice cake and then stand sideways so I can’t see you.
Happy Sunday, everyone!
Underwear and swimsuits. All you need to turn an otherwise normal
woman into a raving, homicidal maniac in 24 hours or less
As I was sorting through 638 loads of laundry today, it occurred to me that I am in desperate need of underwear. Every single pair I own has morphed into period underwear and I have absolutely nothing suitable in the event of a car accident.
I do have the pretty underwear I bought eons ago when Nate and I were dating – I mistook one for a doily the other day and used it under a candle on my window sill. Just for kicks and because I was alone in the house and mostly because I’m a masochist, I thought I’d see if they still fit me. I wrestled them over my thighs where access any higher was immediately blocked by my hips, hips that in no way resemble the hips I had when I first purchased this underwear. They then became uncomfortably bunched up and refused any efforts on my part to un-bunch. I tried some Cirque du Soleil moves I didn’t even know I had in me by contorting myself into positions not meant for the human body and managed to inch the panties over my hips to rest somewhere in the region of my lower waist although it’s been so long since I’ve actually seen my lower waist that I’m not entirely sure I was even in the same zip code as that part of my body.
I looked at my reflection in the mirror and saw what appeared to be my face, flushed with exertion, sitting atop a flesh colored, jumbo sized sleeping bag hogtied with twine. The only thing missing was a label warning CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE, MAY EXPLODE. I started to get a little dizzy and realized that if I didn’t extricate myself from the underwear as soon as possible, my circulation would be forever jeopardized and I’d find myself up close and personal with an emergency room doctor half my age who wouldn’t give me morphine no matter how much I’d beg for it.
I bent forward to start the horrific ordeal of wrenching the panties back down from whence they came but the panties became instantly lodged in a place known only as the Final Frontier and I knew I was a goner.
So I have decided to make the trek into retail hell and purchase some new underwear. And while I’m at it, I figure I’ll get a bathing suit at the same time and blow all my money and every shred of dignity I have at the same time, because I am nothing if not efficient.
And I will hold my breath, cross every appendage I have, knock on every piece of wood in this house, fall to my knees and pray that this time will not be like last time, to wit:
- 9:45 a.m.: Dress in baggy shorts and baggy t-shirt and flip flops for easy-on, easy-off access.
- 9:50: Stare at my reflection in the mirror and tell myself that I am a brave, strong, confident woman who survived a divorce, two c-sections and the eighties, a woman who deserves new underwear and a decent bathing suit, who has earned new underwear and a decent bathing suit, dammit, and nothing on the face of this planet is going to stop me from getting said underwear and bathing suit.
- 10:00: Jump in the car, full of enthusiasm and optimism. The world is my oyster!
- 10:01: Remember I hate oysters. Fiddle with radio stations, become appalled at what is considered an “oldie” and shout along with AC/DC to Shook Me All Night Long.
- 10:15: Arrive at the mall and find a parking space right in front of the entrance. Consider it a good omen and celebrate by buying a muffin.
- 10:20: Walk into the department store and head directly to the lingerie department. No time to gawk at the purses and shoes. I’m on a mission. I am resolute. I am determined. I am woman, hear me roar. ROAR.
- 10:22: Arrive in the lingerie department and feel every inch of my body try to hide from every other inch of my body as I am forced to wade into a sea of waif like teens and women swarming around the rainbow assortment of thongs and bikini underwear. Make a mental note to write a letter of complaint to management detailing my displeasure at having to navigate through the Only in My Dreams section to get the Reality Sucks section.
- 10:24: Arrive at the Reality Sucks section and stare at my choices of white or beige. Make a mental addendum to my letter of complaint to insist that those of us who weigh more than our IQ deserve colors of fuchsia, cyan and lemongrass too. Decide it’s not worth getting upset about and ruining my mood since I’m saving that for when I get to the bathing suit section. Figure that my ass is large enough without calling undue attention to itself, grab two packages of beige panties, sized NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS and make my way to the register.
- 10:30: Head over to the swimsuit section. Pop a couple of Tylenol as a precaution. Pop another one, just in case.
- 10:45: Find a handful of suits with some potential and head for the fitting room with visions of that perfect, black, slimming, flattering bathing suit at half price. Chat with the fitting room attendant.
- 10:49: Wrestle the first suit on and discover it covers less than 30% of the territory it needs to cover in order for me not to be arrested for indecent exposure. Look with trepidation at the other suits waiting patiently on the hooks. Imagine that they are mocking me.
- 11:10: Exit the dressing room, slightly perspiring and a bit concerned, and hand the rejected suits to the attendant. Dive back into the racks again, choosing twenty possibles. Mumble some nonsense to the attendant and re-enter the dressing room, still optimistic that I’ll find a good suit in a dark color at 20% off.
- 11:30: Tap, knock and scrape the mirror, convinced there is something wrong with it.
- 11:33: Look up to see what kind of lighting makes my skin look like playdough that’s been left out in the sun for four years.
- 11:35: Nearly asphyxiate myself on a suit while trying to wrestle it over my head.
- 12:05: Emerge from the fitting room, frustrated, a sheen of sweat on my face. Can’t find the attendant, toss the suits onto the discard rack, drag myself back onto the floor area and pick out any suit, any color, any size at whatever price in the hopes that if I throw a million darts, one is bound to hit a target.
- 12:15: Suck in my stomach and ponder the physiological ramifications when it doesn’t move.
- 12:20: Lose my balance while trying to fit my leg into the 79th suit, smash my head against the hook on the wall, briefly lose consciousness and awake to find my feet inexplicably entangled in my bra. Consider calling for help.
- 12:25: Undergo a brief outer body experience. Wow.
- 12:37: Silently cry within the confines of my dressing room and wax philosophical on the meaning of life for someone who is 5’2″, busty, short waisted, prematurely gray, broad shouldered with small, wide feet. Declare myself a freak of nature and make a mental note to look up the nearest leper colony.
- 1:20: Emit a blood curdling scream, slam the door to the fitting room open and then rip it off its hinges when it swings back and hits me in the face. Throw the suits at the attendant now cowering in a corner, laugh maniacally and spew vulgarities at anyone within earshot. Stare down anyone in my way and march my battered, weary, sweat soaked self out of there with as much dignity as a 5’2″, busty, gray-haired, short-waisted, broad shouldered, small footed freak of nature can.
But this time? This time it’s going to be different. This time, I’m going to park 300 yards from the entrance and that will make all the difference in the world.
Hope springs eternal.