At the end of last summer, the Women Who Run With the Moose (my friends, Celeste, Rita, Betty, Dot, and Shirley) made me throw away my old bathing suit, in order to force me into buying a new one this spring.
I loved that old suit, but I'd worn it so much, it was practically transparent just where I didn't want it to be. Let's just say that peek-a-boo is a game best played by a baby, not a middle-aged woman at the company picnic.
God, I hate shopping for a bathing suit! Looking at myself, with underwear on under a swimsuit, in the flourescent lights of the dressing room, in one of those three-sided mirrors. It's just too much of a good thing, if you catch my drift.
Now, most of the time, I feel alright about the way I look, but there's something about spring that just makes me feel chubby. I don't notice it all that much in winter, but as the weather gets warmer and the layers start coming off, I notice that I'm still carrying around that pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving. I'm uncomfortable, but not enough to actually do anything about it. Oh, I make half-hearted attempts at dieting. I joined Curves. But let's get real, it just don't come off the way it used to.
But this spring, I didn’t have a choice. It was either buy a new bathing suit or find a nude beach. So, Betty gave me one of them catalog that specializes in a "generous cut for real women." There’s a page of instructions on how to measure yourself to find the right size. So, I measure and write the numbers down on the chart. I still couldn't figure out the size, so I call the 800 number.
The catalog place has me on hold for a dog's age, but finally the next available representative comes on the line. It's Amy.
"Amy," I says, "here's the deal. My torso is a size 8, my hips a size 10, my bust a size 12, and my waist a size 16. What size should I order in the Esther Williams skirted skinny suit on page thirteen?"
Amy hesitated a minute. I think she was stifling a laugh. Then she clears her throat and says, "I'll have to consult our swimsuit specialist.” And puts me on hold, again.
Now, you've heard of women with a pear shape? I’m what they call an apple. That's what it said in the Oprah magazine. Everything is pretty much in proportion, except I don't have a waist. That's why I like bathing suits with skirts. They kind of fan out into a fake hip thing which, I think, makes my waist look smaller.
Anyways, Amy is gone for about five minutes. I’m sitting there, listening to a touching rendition of "Yesterday", imagining Amy and a whole team of “shopping specialists” tearing their hair out. Finally, Amy comes back on the line, and says, "Mrs. LeClair, our swimsuit specialist suggests you order one of our camouflaging tankinis in a size 10 for the bottom and 12 for the top."
"Amy, it's not the top or the bottom that's the problem. It's the middle. And I’m not interested in that tankini. I have a bad history with hybrids. Why, I still have a bump on my big toe from that shoe that “looks like a pump, feels like a sneaker.” I know you're trying to be helpful, dear, but I have my heart set on the Esther Williams skirted skinny suit in “Tickle Me Pink.” What size should I order?”
When the bathing suit arrives, I try it on in the privacy of my own home, under natural lights. It fit like a glove — that shrunk in the wash. The things was like I had a permanent wedgy. I’m no shopping specialist, but I knew I wasn’t a size eight. So, I send it back, lickety split. When the the second suit arrives, I’m not too hopeful. But I try it on, it feels pretty good. So I suck in my stomach and look in the mirror. Wow, I’m thinking, not too shabby. This is going to drive my husband Charlie wild. Luckily, he has a thing for skirted swim suits.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
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