We’re taking the kids on a mini-vacation to an indoor water park later this month, where we will either have an absolute blast bonding together on water slides or catch waterborne Hepatitis. I started to pack a few things we’ll need on our trip and one look at my current stretched-out, chlorine-faded swimsuit had me panicking. Maybe there’s a way out of this, I wondered. I can probably fake an illness or give myself nervous diarrhea, but the kids will be disappointed and frankly, we’ve done next to nothing for fun this year. Yep; I have to go. Perhaps an improvised bathing costume is called for, so I checked the hotel website, but unfortunately they’ve determined that black tights and a sweatshirt are not appropriate swimwear, so I had to get myself a bathing suit.
That was fun.
That was sarcasm.
I told my sister my troubles and it turns out she has a suit she offered to lend me, which is awesome because I’ve seen the suit in question and I’m pretty sure it’s made of recycled industrial rubber belting.
But a quick check says it won’t fit, so I went to the mall. I was optimistic and self-assured at first, but everything I tried on made me look like half-cooked bread dough squeezed into a size 2 men’s winter galosh. The fact that the crotch protector in one suit was a Snickers wrapper should have tipped me off that something was amiss, but my eyes were blurry from the movie set lighting they insist on using in change rooms. I think they should start sewing tags with the Mental Health Crisis Hotline number in any suit bigger than a size 12, and provide telephones in each changing cubicle.
I couldn’t find anything at “Self-Esteem Killers R-Us” that didn’t make me want to attempt home liposuction with my central vac and the flavour injector syringe that came with our turkey deep fryer. (Yes; we have a turkey deep fryer and I don’t look good in a bathing suit. Do not think the irony of this is lost on me, friends.)
So on I went to the specialty suit shop. I walked in, took a deep breath, and spilled my guts to the first clerk I saw. I let it all out – how my stomach is too big and flabby, my butt is non-existent, my chest large and mushy, my shoulders tiny, and my arms like soft fresh logs of bologna. I told her my deepest body-image secrets and how it all probably stems back to my childhood and that time I had to go to school in too-small pants because my dad didn’t know how to use our washing machine. That led to some crying about how I am estranged from my parents, and on from there into “monthly cycle” territory. I was sobbing into a second tissue when this poor overburdened woman finally put her hand on my shoulder, looked at me with sympathy and soft eyes, and said, “I don’t work here.”
You know, they say you shouldn’t eat your feelings. But it’s hard not to, especially when having to shop for a bathing suit makes them taste like cinnamon buns.
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