Bathing Suit Blues

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February is gray, really, really gray. It’s a sad gray, it’s bleak.  It’s not warm enough to feel like Spring, but we probably aren’t getting any pretty winter snow. It’s damp and it’s damn depressing. This is what I call the February Funk. It happens every year and it’s that total tweener time where we are stuck between the seasons. February is not fun and nothing really goes on. Sure there is Valentines Day – you know that holiday that is set up for husbands to fail, to the singles to feel worse, or just to eat candy and chocolate and gain weight while you wait for Spring Break. Ahhhh…..Spring Break….if you are lucky enough to get out of dodge, and into some warmth and sunshine, then you can cling to that little light at the end of the tunnel known as vacation. This is a lovely thought that gets ruined by the reminder that I will need to stretch skin tight spandex over my body and expose my pasty white smoosh body.

Everything about buying a swim suit is a set up for failure. For starters we usually are shopping for one when our bodies haven’t seen the sun and a proper wax treatment for several months. Then there is that ick factor that someone else has already slapped this saran wrap over their own body, thoughtfully recognized by the sanitary hygienic panty liner sticky strip that is still half adhering to the crotch. While I am super grateful that they include this liner so that my crotch doesn’t touch a stranger’s crotch, there is no getting around how awkward it is to try on a swim suit over your undies. Whether you are full on in granny pannies or going minimum with a thong, there is no way to get a true view of what this will look like in real life. Case in point – this bikini bottom clearly is getting a little too close to showing me this model’s birth canal.

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So then you reach the moral dilemma, do you pull back your underwear underneath the suit so you can see what it looks like without said extra material, risking the exposure that someone else has done exactly what you are about to do and let their lady bits be exposed in an effort to see what your suit will look like panty free? Or do you helplessly stare in the mirror and just imagine you aren’t wearing a bikini under a bikini? Either solution frightens me for multiple reasons but ultimately the fact is that I am paying for something to be worn in public that will cover less acreage than my usual underwear. God knows I don’t walk around in my underwear, yet, if you put me near any form of water, this is suddenly totally normal to have my ass cheeks exposed to friends and neighbors at the pool and beach. Yick.

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Now we get to move up the body to the belly region – good times. Either you expose what your child did to your body or you find something like the Miraclesuit brand one piece in hopes that in can perform a miracle on your midsection. They will use a generous about of shirred fabric, bright colors and clever cuts to create an optical illusion of a svelte bod, just short of looking like your Grandma’s suit that has that flowy top that floats underwater.

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But one pieces can get hot and are not fun to peel off and back up again when you have to have use the ladies room. Two piece suits are essentially made up of less fabric than my bra and underwear. There is no winner here. You just choose the lesser of two evils. Unless, you are one of those moms who gets her butt to the gym, eats right and takes care of herself. Then by all means show off those abs. I’ll be sitting under the umbrella eating crap and feeling jealous, knowing that I am too lazy to change my ways.

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Continuing the evaluation under the fluorescent buzzing lights in the store we work our way up to the girls, aka your boobs. Either you got ’em or your don’t. And if you have ’em and they are real they are probably in the process of working their way down toward your toes, making you feel like one of those topless tribal women you would see in the National Geographic magazines as a kid.  They had better things to worry about,  like food, and not getting eaten by a lion, so they layered on some necklaces and figured ‘eff it, I’m not bothering to find something with metal in it to hold these hush puppies up. We, on the other hand, don’t live in the South of France, or in a tribe, so it becomes necessary to find some sort of support system that lifts, separates and doesn’t make it look like you have a baby’s butt worth of cleavage on your chest. Good luck with that.

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Then, if your children literally sucked your boobs dry, you are left with the task of finding something with chicken cutlets stuffed into it to bring you back to some resemblance of your former figure. Even if you avoid the overstuffed tops you still need to find some sort of padding or coverage so you can avoid having your high beams on every time a breeze blows, or you, (God-forbid), actually get into the frozen cold water and get wet. There’s nothing like seeing your kid’s soccer coach while you are dripping wet with some fabric stuck to your chest, hoping he is not trying to figure out what happened to your boobs or where they went.

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And what about if you have had a little help up top,  with a quick trip to the surgeon? I think that’s great, and I would love to have someone pull things back up to where they once were. Just be prepared, even with a really great surgeon most people will know if you did or didn’t, because there is no woman over the age of 40 who has given birth that has naturally great separation and lift. You can be subtle about it when you wear clothes but when you break out the bathing suit make sure you put on your earmuffs to avoid the other mommies talking about whether you did or didn’t (Oh now we know what Shelia was really recovering from when she said she had “the flu”) and guessing when you did and by whom, and also how much it cost.  If they are really good they will probably then ask your for your doctor’s number.

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Just try not to want to kick aforementioned coach when you remember that he is a man and gets to wear a bathing suit that conveniently has a mesh hammock to keep all their junk up near their trunk, while throwing on any old t-shirt to cover any dad bod they may or may not be hiding. And just think, they probably just grabbed their normal size in pants or shorts right off the rack and bought it without even trying it on, because, let’s face it, these are just shorts with quick dry fabric, no sticky weird panty liner included. I’m glad they are not wearing speedos because frankly I don’t want to se the size of everyone’s frank and beans, but man wouldn’t it be nice for them to have to suffer through being in complete display for just one day.  Totally not fair.

*Insider Tip – Celebrate the Caftan.

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Listen, it’s a sad but true fact that at my age I care more about the cover-up because quite frankly I spend more time in it. I do love the water – when it’s warm, and private, and hopefully on a private beach. Public and club pools are just weird because there’s always that one floating band-aid that you know came off of someone’s open wound. Plus I pay way too damn much for my highlights to let the heavily chlorinated water wreak havoc on my hair. So I’m putting my money into the good stuff. Here’s some of my favs via this link Chic-Cover-ups. – I created a catalogue you can click and shop from in case you are into hiding out too.

Chic Cover-ups

All joking aside at the end of the day it comes down to confidence. I’ve seen all types of women in all shapes and all sizes in all kinds of suits. It’s what we doo when we are “laying out” at the beach or the pool – we people watch because it’s so damn interesting. The women that look the best are the ones who are standing up straight, they are smiling, and they are living their life totally unaffected by what me or anyone else thinks. They are bodysurfing the waves, jumping off the diving board and playing paddle board with their kids. Even if there is some kind of wardrobe malfunction they just laugh and put it all back into place, wedgie be damned. I’m working on appreciating the face that I have 2 working legs, 2 working arms, and a family that loves me no matter what. In the end nobody ever wishes they spent more time sitting and watching. That’s not living life. Being, doing, enjoying…now that’s living life.

Thanks for reading,

Suzie

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