There is nothing quite like trying on swimwear as a 50-something year old woman. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but clearly, I was totally unprepared for what was about to happen.
If you have been on Facebook at all, you have probably seen the pictures and stories, encouraging women to “put the suit on and enjoy family time together…don’t worry about how you look in your suit…it doesn’t matter to your family”. Heartened by this sentiment, I went to our local Big Box Mart in search of a cute suit to wear to the pool with my grandson. I envisioned us happily splashing and playing in the water, making glorious memories.
First of all, it has been several years since I actually bought a bathing suit (I did not see the sentimental picture on Facebook until just recently). I bee-bopped cheerily over to the swimwear rack. There were a few different one piece suits, and more options in two piece suits. I chose a couple options in what I thought would be my size, and headed over to the fitting rooms.
Two words came to mind while in the fitting room. Sausage stuffing. Of epic proportions. I don’t know who the sicko was who put a suit two sizes too small on the hanger for my size, which I did not discover until later, but I was not especially amused. It was quite an ordeal peeling out of the
sausage skin swimming suit, and a brief moment of panic when my arm got stuck in an unnatural position, I wondered if I would need physical therapy after the Houdini-like contortions needed to exit the suit. I could just imagine the conversation with my doctor, explaining my injury.
Once I was finally extricated, as an afterthought I checked the size on the suit. This was when I discovered the size discrepancy. It WAS somewhat encouraging to realize that the suit was two sizes smaller than my normal size. Confidence renewed, back to the racks I went. I picked out a couple of different styles, in the correct size, thinking these might work better. Nope. However, not to be discouraged, and still clinging to the message of the sentimental picture, I chose a few more to try.
By now, the lady at the fitting rooms is beginning to look at me suspiciously. I light-heartedly crack a joke about still trying to find the right one, nervous laughter follows. The discarded clothing choices rack outside my fitting room door is quickly filling up with bathing suits, as I add two more to the collection.
As a last-ditch effort, I decide to head over to active wear. Maybe there are some shorts and tank tops that would work for my purpose, because none of the swimming suits are going to work. By now, I have a pretty good idea what size I need, as I have tried on every imaginable size. So, there is that at least. However, a little bit of my previous enthusiasm and confidence is beginning to wane. Now, admittedly, I have not bought active wear in like, forever. Who knew the sizes were slightly different than swimwear? Clearly, I did not know this. Three more trips to the fitting room later, and I finally made my choice. It isn’t the color I would choose, but at this point, I would almost wear pink and purple polka dots. Almost.
So, to all my fellow ladies, solidarity. Put on the suit, go swimming with your kids or grandkids, make memories, and have fun. And don’t mind the strangely dressed woman in shorts, tank top and sports bra. She tried.