One of the main problems I have is purchasing and wearing a bathing suit. It sucks. It's paralyzingly difficult for me. Am I pear shaped? Apple shaped? Watermelon shaped? Is my "problem area" my buttocks? My hips? My boobs (or lack of)? My stomach? All of the above? Why is that never a choice?
Two summers ago after much painstaking decision making, I settled on two suits I thought I liked. After I wore them each about twice, I decided that I hated them both and that they looked positively awful on me. Because I am frugal and I had not gone cheap on these suits, I begrudgingly wore them for two full summers so that I could feel justified throwing them away and getting new suits. Since I could still not bear to throw away perfectly good suits, thankfully this year one of them came unsewn in the bust (poor workmanship, not big boobs). This was probably something that could have been repaired by someone who knows their way around a sewing machine (not me), but it was excuse enough for me to shop guilt-free for two more suits and let some fortunate soul at Goodwill mess with the two disappointing suits.
So, thus began The Hunt for New Bathing Suits. Does it sound like an epic film? Good, because it *kind of* was.
A fashionista friend of mine had recommended this bathing suit store to me a few years ago and after a miserable run with online shopping for suits (turns out I am no real size in the bottoms or the tops), I was ready to brave it. Now, I think we have covered that I am no shopper, nor am I a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination. I hate to shop and I know fashion about as well as I know tenth grade chemistry. So, shopping for me is next to torture. Shopping for bathing suits is actual torture.
But, I would have made all of you proud. I got a good night's sleep, I dressed myself in approved clothing, I put lots of make-up on (not hookerish, just nicely covered), I drove myself to the mall where this shop was located, and I marched myself into The Bathing Suit Shop (name changed to protect its identity, and I don't know why because now I kind of want to marry the cute gal that works there, but not the Mister that tried to see me naked).
As soon as I was through the door, this super cute, well-rounded (as in - I am sure she would look lovely in any type bathing suit), very young gal came up to me and asked if she could help me.
I have found through the years that I look okay in Boy Short Bottoms that are kind of high waisted (you know to cover all the war wounds I have on my stomach?) so I immediately asked where I could find those.
And, naturally she said, "Oh, boy shorts (like I had said, "sh*t on a stick."). We carry everything but those. Is there something else I could help you with?"
That threw my game off, but I quickly recovered and said, "Well, do you have any suits that um, ah, cover a lot of my body because I have body issues and I don't know what kind of fruit I am?" And, yes, I realize that sounded completely nuts. I know my limitations and I basically wanted this cute young gal to tell me and show me what kind of bathing suit I should be wearing.
|This is kind of what I had in mind.|
photo from http://thehijabworld.com/
This lovely gal did not look at me like I was insane, but instead told me about some different style suits they had, guided me around the store, and left me to my own devices while she helped some other customers.
While I was left to my own devices I noticed there were a lot of men in the store. This made me: 1. Wonder what the hell was going on these days, and 2. More nervous than I already was. Because if there is anything I don't want to see when attempting to pick out full coverage bathing suits, it's lots of men. Yeesh.
Then my phone rang really loudly. It was hubby. I was thankful to be able to excuse myself (to no one in particular, but some nice, young guy nodded in my direction when I said it) from the store to speak on the phone. Hubby asked what I was up to and I said, "Funny you should ask. I am trying to buy a bathing suit and apparently it is a husband's or boyfriend's job nowadays to go with the woman to do this. So, what are you up to?"
Hubby didn't know what to say and quickly said he had to go.
So, I went back in the shark tank and acted like I knew exactly what I was doing and started to pull some suits off the racks. The lovely girl finally came back to help me. Apparently she is psychic because she took one look at what I had selected and said she was going to select some more suits she thought I would like. How did she know?
It is apparently custom in high-end swim suit shops to 1. Not be modest, 2. Have the sales attendant select your suits for you, 3. Be able to speak honestly, and 4. Not have to really do anything, but try the suits on.
I stumbled around for awhile and finally figured out that she had put all the suits she selected for me in the back somewhere. So, I went back to the dressing rooms and found a room where there were about 10 suits she had selected for me hung over the rod at the top of the dressing room door opening. Problem 1: the doors on the rooms were cloth. Lots of room for peek-throughs. Question 1 and 2: How did she know my size? How did she know what I like? Am I that transparent (yes, I know that's three questions)???
So, I pulled the flimsy cloth curtain as tightly closed as I could and proceeded to strip. Now, girls know the Golden Rule in trying on swimsuits and I am referring to your undergarments. And, there in a cute little basket (they don't have these at Target) I saw some disposable panties. I refrained from pulling those out and taking a look-see, so I cannot write about them (you're welcome). I prefer to keep my own undergarments on my own arse (thank you, anyway).
I am standing there, naked on top, when I heard a man's voice very close to me (like right outside the flimsy curtain). He was calling, "Babe, are you here? Babe?"
I freaked out a little. And covered myself. With my hands.
Then I heard a saleswoman say a little forcefully, "Sir, you are not supposed to be back here. I'm going to have to ask you to return to the sales floor."
Then, "Oh, I just wanted to see my wife."
Then a different woman's voice, "I'm right here. Can he just step in the dressing room with me?"
Um, hello??? What kind of a flim-flam operation is this??? Sweet mother of GOD. (While I am now standing completely enthralled with my ear pressed to the curtain and my hands covering my upper regions.)
Then I heard the sales woman again (thank you, Jesus), "No, I am sorry, sir. Only women are allowed in the dressing area. I can have your wife exit this area when she is ready to show you her suits."
Thank you very much.
Relieved I backed away from the curtain and relaxed my arms.
Just then the curtain was sprung open by the cute, well-rounded sales woman who said, "HOW ARE WE DOING HERE?"
"Great!" I said a little too enthusiastically and frantically.
Then I died a little.
The sweet sales woman saw me naked a few more times (I think we bonded) before I was able to decide on two suits. Or, I should say, she decided on two suits for me. I am now convinced that I should not be wearing any kind of two piece anything after the meh responses I got from her. And, I am totally sure I should be wearing "rouched tops to accent my 'smaller bustline' and semi-high waisted bottoms to provide some coverage." She positively gushed at one of my suits - it's fit was "perfect" and it's color was "perfect" and complimented my skin tone "to the tee." And, she picked both of them! I did nothing! But try about 25 suits on and expose myself a few more times. It was almost delightful and I was out of there in about 45 minutes. And, I didn't even need hubby!
Whew. Bathing suit shopping 2012 over! And, I've already worn each suit once and I think I love them. I *might* want to go back and buy more suits in a few years. But since there is a faintly high price tag (as in, you faint when you see the price tag) for this type of bathing suit buying, I might be wearing these suits well in to my seventies. Let's hope my body cooperates!
Happy shopping, friends!