Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Swim Suit Issue

What was I thinking when 10 to 12 years ago I ordered this bathing suit from—dare I admit it—Victoria’s Secret?

Droopy Drawers

What attracted me to it? Was it the boob-squishing sports bra-like pullover top? Or was it the bottoms with their ultra high-cut leg, tres chic back then (I think). Today, the bottoms look like a toddler’s diaper (fully loaded). If you think it looks bad in the photo you should see what it looks like when I emerge from a hot tub or pool or the Willamette River. Droopy drawers!!!!

Really, what a hideous bathing suit! Dead unsexy. It didn’t always look quite as bad as it does today. Chlorine has taken its toll, dulling down the color and destroying the integrity of the elastic, but there was a time (maybe a year or so after I bought it) when it looked OK. The waistband sort of cut my pooky little tummy in half, giving the false impression that I have an almost flat stomach and the ultra high-cut leg made my short legs look a bit lengthier. So that’s why I bought it. Of course, a depilatory was a must.

But given the ungodly state of the suit now, I’m sure everyone is wondering why on Earth I still have it. Apart from the fact that I keep all clothing for forever and a day, there’s another reason I still have the suit* and the reason is pictured directly below.


I bought this suit about two years ago, when a swimsuit emergency arose. That emergency consisted of my realization that I was scheduled to go to Bagby Hot Springs with a group of people I didn’t know too well. There was no way I was going to be prancing about in that droopy drawers suit in front of them. Off I went--at the end of August--to try to buy a bathing suit. As everyone but me probably knows, the swimsuit pickin's are slim to nonexistent at that time of year.

I was forced to buy the suit pictured above. A suit that that didn’t fit me then, doesn’t fit me now, and won’t fit me in the future. Somehow, though, at the time I deluded myself into thinking that I would lose a few pounds and the bottoms would fit just fine.

Pause for laughter to subside.

I was so obsessed with the bottoms that I sorta kinda failed to realize that the top was also too small. Those of you who have met me in person can attest that I am no Jayne Mansfield, but I’m telling ya, I sure feel like her when I put on that top. And not in a good way. What’s really funny is that this is one of those tops with little pouches in them where, if you are so inclined, you can tuck in those Wonder Bra-style pillows or puffs or whatever you call them. As if there would be any room! I just cannot imagine what would happen if I tried that. I’d look like a freak (more of a freak)!

I last wore the above suit—the dinkini, as it shall henceforth be known—a couple of weeks ago when I went out to the Coast. Having lost 10 lb (mas o menos) with the King, Prince, Pauper diet, I thought I just might not look too terribly bad in it. Maybe I’d even look good. Wrong! The suit is still too small. Because it always was too small. Perhaps it would have looked OK on me when I was in high school and so farking skinny and on the wrong track that I stopped getting my period. But now? No. It’s just not my size, nor was it ever my size. I bought the wrong size in a moment of panicky delusion.

Unfortunately, I was forced to confront the unsightly, artificially induced bulges for about 45 minutes straight while I waited for the hot tub at the inn to fill up, because the changing room features a full-length mirror that takes up an entire wall. What is up with that? Criminy! I think that that was what finally drove it home for me: I have got to get myself a suit I feel mentally and physically comfortable wearing. (Need I mention that the dinkini binds at the closure in the back of the bra top and around the waist?)

Come to think of it, I don’t believe I’ve ever had a suit that I actually felt comfortable wearing. I can remember some real monstrosities from early childhood onward. For example, I learned how to swim while wearing a hideous fleshtone one piece that had two weird oval cutouts at each side of the waist. I recall that it accentuated my little potbelly most unflatteringly. Then there was the urine yellow “convertible” suit. It was like a bikini but it had this veil-like thing that snapped into the bra and hung down over the tummy. Sort of an early tankini, I guess, but it was rubbish. Those snaps dug into my flesh, too. When I was in high school, one-piece “maillots” were in style. Invariably, they were too short for my torso, and you know what that means: I was constantly hiking that thing up. Once it was decently covering my boobs that meant my ass was hanging out of it. Oh the memories. And there were any number of other ill-fitting suits that were always creeping up my butt or threatening to unmoor a boob.

Anyway, I have hope that I may finally have found—after all these years—a suit that I will be happy with—one that will fit and that will look good. I bought it at a shop called Poppi Swim and Sport that is mere steps from my house! Every single suit in the shop is stylishly retro and made to cover a real woman’s ass. And if you don’t find one that fits, they’ll custom make one for you! At a very reasonable price, I might add—totally in line with what you would pay at a department store, but made locally instead of by serfs in China. In fact, the suits are very, very locally made. As I was trying on suits the owner, Pamela, was clacking merrily away on a sewing machine, seaming up a top.

I tried on about eight different combos before settling on this top and these bottoms in this fabric. May I just say that this was the first time in memory I haven’t gotten fed up and cantankerous shopping for a swimming suit? And really, I would have been happy with any number of the suits they had. The other great thing about the shop is that if they don’t have what you want in your size, they’ll just make one up for you in your size. That’s what they’re doing for me, since they didn’t have the size of bottoms I needed in the fabric I wanted. What service! My suit is going to be ready around July 4th weekend, which should be right about the time it finally gets warm and summery in Portland.

*I realize I didn't really explain why I still have the droopy drawers suit. Until I lost the 10 lb, I knew better than to even attempt the dinkini, so on the rare occasions I've had to wear a suit in the past couple of years I've been forced to resort back to the droopy drawers, horror though it is.


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