Award-winning writer: Jackie Papandrew

Airing My Dirty Laundry!

Bathing Suit Blues

I have to admit I admire menís indifference to bathing-suit reality. Every man thinks he looks good in his bathing suit Ė even those with enough back hair to weave a small rug and a beer belly of sufficient size to be a walking Budweiser billboard. I envy that kind of confidence.

Almost every woman, on the other hand, believes she surely resembles a Teletubby in her swimsuit. We can only be persuaded to try on new ones each summer because Ė as with childbirth Ė we forget the agony endured during the experience. This seasonal amnesia allows us to set out once again on a search for the sublime suit, the one that will leave us looking like a supermodel.

When I was younger, I too was seeking a supermodel suit. I hoped to be considered bodacious in my bathing attire. Now, having a middle-aged mom midriff untouched by a surgeonís scalpel, Iím content if my beach body fails to cause vomiting or retinal damage. So with these modest goals in mind, I began my spandex search earlier this spring.

I thought Iíd found the ideal answer on the Internet with the Virtual Model. See, you can now re-create yourself online by entering your measurements. Then you can try on computerized bathing suits in the privacy of your home while eating an entire carton of Haagen-Dazs. The virtual you maintains her shape even as the real you adds another 10 pounds. It doesnít get any better than that.

The virtual me turned out to be quite a hot mamma, I must say, and I eagerly anticipated the arrival of my online bathing suit.

Unfortunately, when I attempted to stuff my veritable skin into my virtual suit, I was sorely disappointed. Not only was I not a hot mamma, I wasnít even warm. On the virtual me, certain appendages intended to nourish babies had provided a pleasingly perky presentation. On the real me, said appendages seemed to have vanished. Upon further inspection, I found them cowering under my armpits. The spectacle was even scarier in the lower regions, but I will spare you the details.

My high-tech suit solution having shriveled, I was forced to drag myself down to the department store and enter the psyche-smashing chamber of horrors known as the dressing room. Why do retailers insist on equipping their fitting rooms with 200-watt fluorescent lighting and three-way fun house mirrors? Donít they realize if we could view our bodies, crammed as they are into shrink-wrapped rubber not much wider than dental floss, via candlelight through frosted mirrors (and perhaps after a couple of martinis), weíd likely take out a second mortgage to buy every suit in stock?

Determined to bravely face the task at hand, I began my pilgrimage against pudginess by arming myself with an assortment of the latest in swimwear styles and colors: the tankini, which gives you the illusion of a two-piece but with the promise of greater coverage (a bikini with benefits, so to speak); the maillot, a one-piece that, just by virtue of having a French name, is bound to bestow a certain sexy je-ne-sais-quoi; skirted bathing suits supposedly capable of camouflaging cellulite and sarong swim attire meant to minimize the midsection. For a couple of hours, I stood in front of those blasted mirrors under those blinding lights and tried on suit after suit.

Sadly, none of them met even my humble expectations. The tankini tanked as my flesh oozed out of its assigned areas. The maillot, despite its French connections, was a definite non. I squeezed into suits both black (which conveniently matched my mood) and colored, checked suits and some with polka-dots. Nothing made me happy. I struggled into a skirted floral number that made me look frighteningly like Hyacinth the Hippo. I wrapped myself in a striped sarong that was definitely not right.

In the end, I left empty-handed, dubbing my quest a dismal failure. Now, Iím considering spending the summer in a burlap sack. First though, Iím going to pay another visit to that vixenish virtual me. Maybe Iíll feed her some Haagen-Dazs.

~ †© Jackie Papandrew 2007 ~

Jackie Papandrew is an award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea, years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself into. Visit her website at:  JackiePapandrew.com

[ by Jackie Papandrew Copyright © 2007, (me@jackiepapandrew.com) -- submitted by: Jackie Papandrew ]


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