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Selecting a new bathing suit.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

When I was a child in the 1950s, the bathing suit for the mature figure was-boned, trussed and reinforced, not so much sewn as engineered. They were built to hold back and uplift, and they did a good job.

Today's stretch fabrics are designed for the prepubescent girl with a figure carved from a potato chip.

The mature woman has a choice, she can either go up front to the maternity department and try on a floral suit with a skirt, coming away looking like a hippopotamus that escaped from Disney's Fantasia, or she can wander around every run-of-the-mill department store trying to make a sensible choice from what amounts to a designer range of fluorescent rubber bands.

What choice did I have? I wandered around, made my sensible choice and entered the chamber of horrors known as the fitting room. The first thing I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength of the stretch material. The Lycra used in bathing costumes was developed, I believe, by NASA to launch small rockets from a slingshot, which gives the added bonus that if you manage to actually lever yourself into one, you would be protected from shark attacks. Any shark taking a swipe at your passing midriff would immediately suffer whiplash.

I fought my way into the bathing suit, but as I twanged the shoulder strap in place I gasped in horror, my boobs had disappeared!

Eventually, I found one boob cowering under my left armpit. It took a while to find the other. At last I located it flattened beside my seventh rib.

The problem is that modern bathing suits have no bra cups. The mature woman is now meant to wear her boobs spread across her chest like a speed bump. I realigned my speed bump and lurched toward the mirror to take a full view assessment.

The bathing suit fit all right, but unfortunately it only fitted those bits of me willing to stay inside it. The rest of me oozed out rebelliously from top, bottom and sides. I looked like a lump of Playdoh wearing undersized cling wrap.

As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from, the prepubescent sales girl popped her head through the curtain, "Oh, there you are," she said, admiring the bathing suit.

I replied that I wasn't so sure and asked what else she had to show me. I tried on a cream crinkled one that made me look like a lump of masking tape, and a floral two-piece that gave the appearance of an oversized napkin in a serving ring.

I struggled into a pair of leopard-skin bathers with ragged frills and came out looking like Tarzan's Jane, pregnant with triplets and having a rough day.

I tried on a black number with a midriff fringe and looked like a jellyfish in mourning.

I tried on a bright pink pair with such a high cut leg I thought I would have to wax my eyebrows to wear them.

Finally, I found a suit that fit, it was a two-piece affair with a shorts-style bottom and a loose blouse-type top. It was cheap, comfortable, and bulge-friendly, so I bought it. My ridiculous search had a successful outcome, I figured.

When I got it home, I found a label that read, "Material might become transparent in water."

So, if you happen to be on the beach or near any other body of water this year and I'm there too, I'll be the one in cut-off jeans and a T-shirt!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • FITKAT62
    I can certainly relate to the speed bump issue. Being short and rather busty I have the issue of there being too much material between my arm pits and shoulders, so support is non-existent. I also have to worry about my straps sliding off my shoulders when a wave hits me. Luckily, I mostly swim in far off lands where nobody knows me, lol.
    1846 days ago
    emoticon emoticon What a hilarious and unfortunately accurate blog. I laughed all the way through it and some humor is a great up lifter. I also noticed that you were aware, in a very positive way, that the problem was with the suit designs and not with your body. Kudos for that! Keep up the positive body image thoughts and that great sense of humor! emoticon
    IKacey co-leader of the Chair Exercise Team
    1858 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1859 days ago
    I have a swim suit that I LOVE. I happened to buy it about 35 years ago! I actually still wear it, though every time I do, I live in fear that the elastic in it will choose that particular day to give up the ghost! I have another one that I bought out of necessity when I went to Disney World and forgot to take it with me. It's similar in color but it's not "my" suit. I actually wore the ancient one when I did my Polar Plunge in Antarctica and it (and I!) survived. My roommate was going on to Iguassu but had not taken a suit, so I loaned it to her with the caveat that it could flat line at any moment. Well, it survived her soaking and she mailed it back to me in fine shape. As i put her away (the suit, not the roommate!) I saw the "other one" and decided the next time I needed a swim suit, I would take both of them, just in case!
    1859 days ago
    So true!!!!! Swimsuits just haven't kept up with our bodies!
    1859 days ago
    LOL - hilarious and oh so accurate!!!
    1859 days ago
    Me to Not a good look these days
    1859 days ago
    I can so relate. I haven't been swimming for two
    years for that reason, lol. emoticon emoticon
    1859 days ago
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