Friday, July 6, 2012

Bathing Suit Shopping

There are very few things that I hate more than bathing suit shopping (bet you can guess what they are...). But it is a necessity--a horrible, vanity-crushing necessity. I have several bathing suits in my closet drawer, and it is like a stretchy, faintly-chlorine-scented testimony to how infertility and age have gradually rendered my body, um, squishier than it used to be.

In my drawer of Spandex That Once Fit I have: 1) a bikini that I actually wore four years ago, 2) a tankini from Target that is really, really old (and now in the trash as the elastic in the straps was downright brittle when I tried it on again), 3) a super cute tankini that Bryce bought me a couple years ago (but the bottom is, alas, too tight for my progesterone-filled behind), 4) a decently ok tankini that I ordered from Vict.oria's Secret about a year ago that now only brings to mind delicious brown-sugar sausage links.

1) The bikini was super cute. I have never really had a bikini body--even when I ran track and cross country in high school and weighed an impossible 125 pounds (that I will never, ever see again) I had a gut. I named this gut Marge (as in Large) and she has been my constant companion since the onset of puberty. She gets bigger and smaller (mostly bigger) but she is always, always there. And so I never wore bikinis, except once when I was 14, again when I was 23 and in Hawaii, and lastly (probably forever lastly) in my early thirties, when I had gone through a divorce, discovered my Celiac disease, and lost about 25-30 pounds. (although it seems I have found a good number of those again.) I said SCREW IT!!! My giant bosom will distract from Marge! I will wear this bikini! And I did. But I can't wear it any more, as it is comical at best and hideous at worst (not only am I chubby in the middle, I am fish-belly pale. Not a good combo.). And yet I can't throw it away, even though it is a $20 Old Na.vy number, because it reminds me that once upon a time in my adult life I semi-successfully wore a bikini.

2) That tankini was a hot mess. It was at least 8 years old, and from a time when I was on the pudgy side, but the elastic is shot and it supports aforementioned giant bosom not at all. And so to the trash you go, Madam!

3) I love this tankini, so much so that I may need to find a matching bottom that fits my ever-expanding rear. I think I have a mass of oil from all the progesterone and estrogen shots that has made my butt/hip area bigger. Yeah, I'm sure that's what it is. Luckily, the top is multicolored so it shouldn't be too hard to find a bottom that matches. However, it is not so supportive for the boobles.

4) Oh dear lord, this brown tankini from VS is horrific now. I bought it because it had an underwire. And it does support my chest quite nicely, except the band size is a bit...snug. And so the whole thing makes my midsection and "waist" a bumpy, lumpy mess. It's like wearing chocolate brown casings. Not attractive in the least. Scary, actually.

Rifling through the Drawer of Body Horror made me realize I had to go swimsuit shopping. Because I'm going to Cape May in August, barring any weirdness with my next frosty opportunity for motherhood. (I am just going to say that I am definitely going and try not to think about all those nasty What Ifs I mentioned last post.) But the problem is, Cape May is a beach town. And I will be on the beach and in a pool, and that necessitates a bathing suit. Something reasonably flattering, since I am going with a crew of preternaturally slender women, ranging in age from 20s to 60s. I am always the chubber on this trip, but I am feeling particularly self-conscious and so I needed a decent bathing suit that will make me feel like less of a caricature on the beach. At least I don't have horn-rimmed glasses.

And so I started with catalogs. Why, I do not know, because this did not work out well for me at all. I am now very familiar with the return policies at and EddieBa.uer. The first number was a slimming, retro one-piece, black with white polka dots, with a halter top. This looked cute online and in the catalog, but they didn't have it in the store. So I ordered it. Size 12, D cup (they didn't have my actual cup, but I read the reviews online and there were several doubles like me who said it fit nicely). It came, and it was amazing--up until my chest. It held in my tummy, it gave me an actual waist, the leg openings were not too scary low but not high either. But my poor boobies looked like old lady boobies in that thing. The seam that supports the chest was about 3 inches too low, and I kept trying to pull it up and tie the halter tighter and it just wouldn't work. So alas, I had to return it. For high-quality shaping swimwear that comes with a high-quality pricetag, it had to be PERFECT for me to keep it. I tried seeing if I could order it in a Tall (which is so weird since I am 5'6", not exactly tall, and I am short-waisted, so this torso issue makes no sense to me at all), but it didn't come in my cup size. On to another catalog.

I found another similar suit in Edd.ieBauer, a two piece Mirac.leSuit tankini with a halter, tiny black and white polka dots, and an underwire. I thought this would totally solve the problem. A tankini could be adjusted so the boob support was just right, and a slimming tankini would be longer so Marge would be under wraps. It arrived in the mail and looked so pretty in the bag! On me, not so much. This time was the complete opposite of the one-piece--my chest looked fantastic, but the rest of me was a sausage from hell. Holy guacamole, the bottom cut me off at a squishy part and then the tankini fabric held me in a little too well, having the complete opposite effect from slimming. It was awful. I returned it and decided maybe catalog shopping for a swimsuit was not for me.

And so I went off to the mall with my own Stacy Lon.don, my awesome friend who is able to find me clothing that is flattering and doesn't allow me to even try on things that are hideous. Everyone needs a friend like this. Especially one who will bravely enter into dressing rooms with you as your semi-naked body slithers and shimmies into, oh, about 50 different slimming swimsuits. Stacy was a shopping machine--pulling all sorts of suits off the rack and finding the big fitting room every time. I don't think I've laughed this hard in a really long time, which was such a gift considering that I was a) trying on swimsuits while feeling quite chubby, b) hopped up on hormonal injections that had me extra bloated and emotional, and c) faced in the mirror with my ugly bruised-up stomach every 5 minutes or so (apparently baby aspirin makes my lupron injection sites uncharacteristically ugly and purple). Things that were hilarious:
  • Tried on several shaping suits at another outdoorsy type store--they were HIDEOUS because the leg openings were so low I looked like the Strong Man from the 1900s. And so I kept lifting imaginary barbells to make this point. Not flattering in the giant mirrors, but funny.
  • Apparently Mira.cleSuit means Sausage Casing for me. Every one I tried on had a high back, meant to stave off the backfat, but instead created crazy Michelin Man type rolls on me. Not a one looked good from the back. However, what I didn't realize is that the high-power spandex means it is a freaking workout to just get the damn thing ON. Every one of them induced a crazy shimmy, breaking out my Whitney upper-lip sweat in about 2 seconds and prompting me to say "Look 10 pounds slimmer just by putting it on? You freaking ARE 10 pounds slimmer because it's a damn workout to pull this stupid thing up past your thighs!!!"
  • In addition to the Spandex Shimmy, there was the "I hate this suit and it makes me look fatter" belly dance.
  • There was also the "I love this swimsuit and will dance around in it like a happy peacock" dance. I cannot take swimsuit shopping seriously. Actually, I don't think it should be serious (if it was I'd probably cry).
  • I tried on a tankini that had a top with tiered ruffles, which could actually be flattering and tummy-hiding except this particular number made me look, no joke, at least 6 months pregnant. Stacy said, "well, not really" and then I turned around and put my hand on my fake baby belly to illustrate my point. She was like "oh. Yeah, that is not a good look. But maybe when you ARE pregnant it would be super cute!" and I pointed out that hopefully I will not be largely pregnant in the summer because this cycle is a sometime-spring arrival if successful, and she was like "maybe you could wear it at the end of this summer if you are pregnant and when someone congratulates you you can say 'YES, I AM actually pregnant, thank you!" I just about fell over laughing because I was like, "And what do you think happens when they ask how far along I am and I'm like, 'Oh, 6 weeks or so...' but I look THIS big? Tell them I'm harboring 7 of them in there???" Ha, ha, ha. Man, am I glad I can laugh about that sort of thing.
Things we discovered: I need a tankini or something that looks like a tankini to break up the expanse that is Marge. I need a ridiculous amount of boob support, or else I have that hideous low cleavage popular grannies the world over. Not attractive. I do need slimming panels, but NOT ON MY BACK. Dear lord, do NOT squish my back in. It just reanimates into a number of hideous roll-like creatures that shift and shuffle as I move. All I could think of was that line from Steel Magn.olias where they are making fun of a woman who needs to wear a girdle and they say she "looks like two pigs fighting in a sack" or something like that. Ewwww. And lastly, patterns are my friend. Patterns up top and solid on the bottom is even better.
What, you didn't think I'd post a picture of me
IN the suit, right? Nooooo, I don't think so.
And so, here it is, the winner, the second-to-last suit I tried on, when my stomach was actually a little thinner from all the belly laughing. It has everything! Super boob support, ruching on the side and a pretty pattern to hide Marge's glory, a low but not-too-low back to de-roll my scary backfat...the thing has it all. AND it was on sale and nearly half the price of the original suits I had bought.

It was amazing--I went bathing suit shopping at a time when my body is totally not my friend (just kidding body, you are so my friend and I want you to stay that way and harbor a guest or two like the supernice body you are), when my hormones are all out of whack and tears are pretty much part of my daily repertoire, and still--I had a GREAT TIME. I found an amazing suit that makes me feel sexy, not huge and lumpy. I feel like this suit is flattering enough that I won't have to use the snappy remark I've been saving for anyone stupid enough to say that I've put on a bit of weight lately-- "Yeah, well three years of infertility treatments and various related surgeries will do that to a person." Nope, I think I can shelve that for now. And, on top of having a great time with Stacy and finding a great suit that made me actually feel good about my body, I managed not to be sad/pissed that I wasn't buying a maternity suit. I managed not to feel like it was a waste of money to get a good quality suit when I might have to get a maternity some point. I know that I won't need one this summer, and so I went with that. And it felt good. It felt really, really good to just pretend I don't have this specter hovering over me, freezing my ability to plan long term. I ignored that pesky phantom and bought a bathing suit that looks good now. For my body now, not pregnant in the future (or 10 pounds lighter some day when I'm not shooting up substances that pack on pounds and make me sleepy and motivationless). I never thought I'd say this, but hip hip hooray for bathing suit shopping.

1 comment:

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