2018-07-05 / Around Town

Swimsuit Season Gets Real

By Amy Martin

Amy Martin is an opinion columnist with a background in family chaos, laughter and a lot of laundry. She writes from a perspective of passion, reality and humor. Amy Martin is an opinion columnist with a background in family chaos, laughter and a lot of laundry. She writes from a perspective of passion, reality and humor. It’s hard to believe, but there exists a downside to summer weather. It’s swimsuits, that one piece of clothing that puts every inch of physical insecurity on full display.

The wearing of swimsuits encapsulates the mystifying contradiction of pool/beach attire. How is it that it is completely acceptable to wear my underwear in public, yet I feel utterly exposed wearing my bathrobe to run a bag of trash to the garbage bins?

Wearing the suit isn’t bad enough. We also have to shop for these villains while being exposed to bad dressing room lights and those uncomfortable crotch liners that make you want to rip the sucker off your body. I’m convinced that Fun House mirrors are installed in dressing rooms, just as I’m certain the 10 crunches I inconsistently practice should have a more positive abdominal effect. I’m also always reduced to announcing to the entire dressing room that I need a suit three sizes larger than the one the salesperson put there to flatter me. It’s a discouraging process.

My latest shopping experience was with a 20-something saleswoman who held up a suit with a Brazilian bottom and proceeded to explain how “amazing” I’d look in this cut. I assured her that my rump in a Brazilian bottom would most certainly be an “amazing” sight to behold, but most certainly not in the same “amazing” way it would look on her derriere.

If a salesperson is going to push a sale by complimenting me, at least make it slightly believable. If she’d said, “That cut does a great job of covering everything nobody wants to see,” I’d probably have bought the suit! But don’t tell me I would look amazing in a Brazilian bottom, that even if I figured out how to put on, I’d need tweezers and a surgeon to get off.

After what seemed an eternity in the dressing room and at least 15 Google searches about how to firm everything except my nose and earlobes, I opted for some unmemorable suit, but wisely purchased a seriously kickin’ cover up, which I will only take off if it catches on fire.

On the other hand, while swimsuit shopping certainly highlighted what I’ve lost with age, it also highlighted what I’ve gained.

My physical attributes of youth are not what they were, but, fortunately, neither is my self-centeredness and lack of perspective and judgement. I laugh more now than when my arms were toned. I appreciate people and small gestures more than when my tush was higher. I am more comfortable, overall, with who I am now than when my thighs were thinner. Most importantly, I am loved exactly the same in my middle-aged body as I was in my more youthful one.

I still have my physical insecurities, but now I can see the entire picture of me instead of just the physical one. Psychologically, I fall somewhere on the spectrum between a laughable Brazilian cut and a confident cover-up.

I’ll continue to work on the removal of the cover-up without it needing to be ablaze.

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