have just been through the annual pilgrimage of torture and humiliation known
as buying a bathing suit.
I was a child in the 1950's,the bathing suit for a woman with a mature figure
was designed for a woman with a mature figure - 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 pre-pubescent girl
with a figure carved from a potato chip. The mature woman has a choice - she can
either front up at the maternity department and try on a floral suit with a skirt,
coming away looking like a hippopotamus who 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?
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 give the added bonus that
if you manage to actually lever yourself into one, you are protected from shark
attacks. The reason for this is that any shark taking a swipe at your passing
midriff would immediately suffer whiplash.
fought my way into the bathing suit, but as I twanged the shoulder strap in place,
I gasped in horror - my bosom had disappeared! Eventually, I found one bosom 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 meant to wear her bosom spread across her chest
like a speed hump. I realigned my speed hump and lurched toward the mirror to
take a full view assessment. The bathing suit fitted 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 play dough
wearing undersized cling wrap.
I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from, the pre-pubescent
sales girl popped head through the curtains, "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 which gave the appearance of an Oversized napkin
in a serviette ring. I struggled into a pair of leopard skin bathers with ragged
frill 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 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.
I found a suit that fitted...a two piece affair with shorts
style bottom and a loose blouse-type top. It was cheap, comfortable,
and bulge friendly, so I bought it. When I got home, I read
the label which said "Material may become transparent in water."
I'm determined to wear it anyway.....I'll just have to learn
to do the breaststroke in the sand.