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There are certain items of clothing which most women hate shopping for, regardless of age, shape, or style. Maybe it’s because the mirrors in those tiny change room leave no room to the imagination…or maybe it’s because lycra is so unforgiving…but very, very few women enjoy shopping for the dreaded bathing suit. One piece, tankini, bikini – I don’t care if you’re size 2 or size 12, there’s something about bathing suit shopping that just makes us feel vulnerable! I usually end up empty handed and heavy hearted (more like a limp dish rag, sobbing inconsolably)!

We’re taking Little Guy on for a mini vacation…to a big indoor waterpark. I don’t like to be cold, I don’t like to be wet, and I definitely don’t like to appear in public in a bathing suit. And even though I bought a new suit last year (from a catalogue), it is rated PG-13…so Saturday afternoon, after a great deal of hemming and hawing, I went shopping for a G-rated suit!

I didn’t follow my own rules for shopping. I didn’t “dress for success” which was just as well…by the time I parked and walked into the shopping centre I looked like a cross between a dumpy “soccer Mom” and a wet dog! It was raining. I did pop in a cd on the way over with loud, “rocker-chick” music to attempt to feel “empowered”. It just gave me a headache!

I started by giving myself permission to browse through my favourite clothing store before heading to where I might find dreaded suits. I browsed a long time. I finally headed into a lingerie store thinking “don’t buy a ‘moo’ suit”. I should explain! A few years ago I bought a one-piece bathing suit reminiscent of the 1950’s, in a white and black floral print. I thought I was daring to wear such a vibrant print. But in talking to Hubby right before heading out the door, I found out it had reminded him of a cow print. Why would anyone who’s self-conscious in a bathing suit wear a cow print? Then he suggested I go for “leopard”.

The sales clerk in the first store tried to be helpful. I didn’t even care about colour or pattern…just fit! The difficulty is that I am tiny around but I am “heavy” on top (that was her remark, just the type I need to here right before stripping down and strapping on lycra) so any bathing suit with postage stamp cups won’t work! I tried on several suits including a white, green and purple horizontal stripe print (yeah…that’s flattering, she says dripping sarcasm). I made a hurried exit and headed to a bathing suit store, determined not to hold tightly to my self-fulfilling prophesy that this would all end badly!

At store #2, the 12 year old sales clerk was too busy eating noodles and talking on the phone to pay any attention to me…I kind of liked that! And this store had some actual sizes, not just XL. I picked through suits held together with strings, backless numbers, strapless numbers, with a mounting sense of dread. I finally resolved to try the 3 “least objectionable and most likely to succeed” and crawled into the dark, back corner change room. The first suit was a snake skin print (it was the closest I could get to leopard) and it looked ok, although it was still PG-13. I later described it to Hubby as something I could wear in a Whitesnake video, and I could hear him shudder through the phone! The next print was a cute suit with black & white checks and lace…I could hear Hubby asking me why I bought a tablecloth…so moving on…

To make a long story short, the last suit was the best suit. It’s a strapless tankini with black bottoms and a printed top…it comes with straps so it will remain G-Rated. The top has horizontal stripes (I know, I know…) but they’re very thin and brightly coloured – orange, red, black, gold, white… no postage stamp cups…I’m happy and I’ve worked up the nerve to show Hubby. I hope I have the nerve to wear it in public now…and no, I won’t post pictures, at least not with me in it! But I can say, no more “moo” suit!