6/5/08

Summer of the Swim Skirt

Land's End SwimsuitWe joined a pool last weekend. I grew up going to the local public beach, so I never saw myself as the “swim club” type. But now I live in Baltimore, where summers are sweltering and the ocean is a 3-hour drive away. Plus, as I may have mentioned a time or 10 million, I now have a child who loves the water and the outdoors. But you know what’s even more horrifying than the pool membership fee? Having to buy a bathing suit.

I have not worn a swimsuit in public for years. Two summers ago, I had a baby. In some sort of postpartum delirium, I actually went bathing suit shopping shortly after Miles was born. I was under the illusion that because it was summer, I might need one. People, if there’s anything worse than swimsuit shopping, it’s swimsuit shopping after you’ve just GIVEN BIRTH. You don’t even want to look down in the shower, let alone illuminate your postpartum body under harsh fluorescent lighting in front of a 3-way mirror!!

Two years later, my reflection is slightly less horrific. The shopping experience, however, was not. First of all, June is a little late in the game to buy a bathing suit. The best ones are already gone or picked over, leaving a random assortment of tiny or huge sizes with nothing in between. And since two-pieces are all sold separately now, good luck finding a match if you DO manage to locate your size. (And by a two-piece, you do know I mean a tankini, NOT a string bikini, right??)

I spent HOURS at Kohl’s trying to hunt down the bottoms that matched the only acceptable top I tried on. In fact, there was a whole rack of tops with no matching bottoms. This makes no sense to me. Does the store not order the same amount of tops and bottoms? Are there hordes of topless women running around out there? Anyway, it hardly matters that I did eventually find a matching set at the third store I went to. That’s because I had not yet realized that I would be covering myself up from neck to knee the whole time I was at the pool.

bathing beautiesI don’t know if I’ve become more modest in my old age, or if it’s strictly self-consciousness at work here, but do you realize that wearing a swimsuit is essentially like standing around in your underwear in front of strangers -- IN BROAD DAYLIGHT?? Did I not notice this before? Or did I just not care? In any case, I did the unthinkable: I bought “swim shorts.” It’s true. And I was thisclose to buying a “swim skirt” as well. (BTW, check out these awesome photos of old-timey bathing suits. Sexy!)

Let me back up for a moment here and tell you about this time I went to visit my grandparents in Florida as a kid. We went every February, and I looked forward to this trip for months. Swimming in the sun while my friends back home shivered in the snow was the best thing I could imagine. Except this one time, our luggage got lost. With no bathing suit, I had to borrow one of my aunt’s hideous floral “swim dresses.” It was about 9 sizes too big, with the stiff built-in boobs and an attached skirt -- a SKIRT! On a SWIMSUIT!! It scarred my 10-year-old self for life.

Fast-forward 24 years to me rifling through a rack of said swim skirts. Oh, you can go on and on all you want about how cute the styles have gotten, and you can call them sarongs or ruffles or cover-ups, but the truth still remains: I have reached a point in my life where I have been reduced to wearing a DRESS in the POOL!! I’m just steps away from becoming Amish.

I compromised by buying a tankini with “boy shorts” for bottoms. More modest than a bikini but less frumpy than a full-on, mid-thigh skirt. Even so, like I said, I still didn’t end up taking off my cover-up. It IS only the first week the pool’s open, though. Give me time. By July maybe I’ll be brave enough to bare my upper arms.

LINK O’ THE WEEK: McMommy wrote a hilarious account of what happened when some brazen hussy dared show up at the family pool wearing a thong.

10 comments:

Leah said...

Okay...I'm only 20 and have come to the exact same conclusion about swim suits. We're nearly naked in front of strangers! I used to not care (I guess?) so I'm assuming the self consciousness has something to do with having children?

I definitely will not be wearing a bikini ever again...

Clare said...

We are getting ready to head to the beach on Sunday. I spent hours online looking at different swimsuits. It is so hard to find something that you feel comfortable in. Let alone that we will probably be running all over the place and bending over in our swimsuits this year. Wishing you luck at the pool! Clare

High Heeled Mama said...

I'm with you on this one...swimsuit shopping is a horror! But I decided to give up the ghost of whatever I looked like at 20 something and embrace the 30 something. I bravely (or stupidly) bought the full-coverage tankini for pool use and a not-skimpy, but risky for me, bikini for a family beach trip. Who says I have to look like Heidi Klum in it? (But I got the cover-up...just in case!!).

Kelli said...

I feel your pain. I haven't even gone swimsuit shopping yet. I am dreading it...
I think there's something to be said for those old-timey swimming suits. :) There's an Amish market not too far from where my mom lives. I should ask her to check out if they have a swimwear department. haha!

McMommy said...

Are you kidding me? Did one of my MOST FAVORITE BLOGGERS EVER just link to my post about G-String Bikini girl????

You have just made my WEEK!!

Mom2Miles said...

Ha, ha, McMommy! Happy to do it. That post made me LAUGH!!

lizarosenberg said...

I got the tankini with shorts last year, and I have to say that it feels great not to have to feel self-conscious about my body. It covers whatever (in my opinion, anyway) needs to be covered, without looking "Amish". :-)

4funboys said...

amennnnnnnnnn sister!

after 4 consecutive years of nursing boys... my idea of a good summer is staying far, far away from bathing suits!

Life As I Know It said...

I just bought a swim skirt this weekend - and I LOVE it!

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