Santa Maria Sun / Humor
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 16
Suiting up to cool downSwimsuit shopping for her is all wet
BY ARIEL WATERMAN
Look in any dictionary for “stork” and you’ll find a picture of my husband. He has often been stalked by avid bird watchers who thought they had sited a rare, migrating, hack-kneed bittern, only to discover an emigre bare-legged Brit from Hackney.
The first time I saw his pencil-thin legs I was reminded of a box of Chinese take-out with chop sticks stuck through the bottom. I marveled at how they held up (and held him up) through countless soccer matches that he played, coached, or refereed. Lately, though, they have given him what he describes as “a bit of bother.”
Brit’s doctor has admonished him, as has his wife. “You need to get off your tuchus. Get into the pool and get some exercise!” Relaxing at the pool is popular at Waterman Manor. Our complex has two pools, and swim time for our grandson, the Britween, is the best cure for out-of-school heebie-jeebies.
This brings me to my topic: bathing suits. I have two, and both are showing signs of wear. Frankly, I think the spandex simply gave out due to extreme exhaustion from trying to hold all of me in place.
There’s no such thing as a miracle fabric, short of the Shroud of Turin, and the words Wonder Bra hold different meaning for me, as in “I wonder if that bra will support my wonders?” When it comes to swimsuits, the built-in cup sizes I require could double as lifeboats. When I shop for a bathing suit, the stretchy knits in the women’s section slink off hangars and hide under racks when they see me coming.
The last time I wore a true bathing-beauty swimsuit was in 1978 when I strode Laguna Beach in a shimmery-gold, strapless maillot. I was 28 and felt like a model, my hair down to my waist. After I left the beach I looked like a hairy lobster in a gold pot, done to a perfectly boiled red.
Thirty years later, I carefully wend my way onto the sand wearing my skirted one-piece, wide-brimmed hat, sarong, plenty of sun block, dark glasses, and toting a large umbrella. Britween marvels at my appearance exclaiming, “I didn’t think vampires could tolerate daylight or cross water!”
I dress thusly for good reason. In spite of my Italianate, olive complexion, I have the palest legs and torso in my family. Add a wide butt, thunder thighs, and every cowboy’s favorite—fat calves—and I am a target. Members of Greenpeace have mistaken my napping form for a beached whale and tried to haul me back out to sea. Camera-clicking tourists swarm around me, thinking they are at Elephant Seal Beach. And when I enter the water, even the great white sharks flee fearing they have encountered an orca!
Men have it easy when it comes to buying swimsuits. Veni, vidi, VISA—they come to shop, they see one that fits, they take out the charge card and buy it. Once home, they step in, pull up, adjust left or right (depending on preference of appendage position), and done. Comfort, not fashion is the issue for most men. They just want to have enough coverage to be legal in public so they can cool off in the nearest ocean, pond, or kiddy-pool.
The exception are those gents who feel the need for Speedos. No one but Olympic swimmers should be allowed to pubicly—I mean publicly—sport these bits of fabric that, for most women, elicit a real gut reaction. Throw in a hairy back and release the Kraken! Call them what you will—grape smugglers, marble bags, or banana hammocks—Speedos should really be called Speedon’ts!
Swimsuit shopping is a vastly different experience for most women. Finding a fashionable color or print is followed by the ordeal that all women dread as they grow older, and I’m not talking about menopause. Trying on a swimsuit in a dinky-assed dressing room is a virtual blend of ballet, modern dance, yoga, and performance art. First, step in. Then EEEASE the spandex over your thighs, while doing little jiggles and hops. Tug and smooth repeatedly over your butt while swaying your torso side to side as you pull up the front.
Now things get interesting as you bend over and strategically plop each breast into its appropriate cup and jiggle into place. Slowly stand upright as you adjust straps over shoulders, smooth out the back, and catch your breath. Look in the three-way mirror, have a good cry, then repeat with a different swimsuit.
I have spent a lifetime searching for the ideal one-piece swimsuit. Forget two-piece suits, and I have bras made of more material than some bikinis (see above). I consider myself something of an expert, so here are some tips (with a little help from various fashionista websites) for those ladies who will never make Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition.
If you are an Amazon, choose something with a bit of pattern and a bold cut to break up and fill out your long frame. Then dump the contents of your sports bottle over anyone who says anything about a tall drink of water.
Lacking a waist? Add curve to your hips with briefs having side ties for an instant hourglass figure. Kick sand in the faces of those who use the word “boyish.”
Are you pear-shaped? Balance hips with simple bottoms without too much fabric, then say prayers of thanks for Jennifer Lopez!
Pregnant? Supportive halter tops accommodate growing breasts and tummies. Smack anyone who tries to rub your belly, blaming gestational hormones as you apologize.
Avoid blouson tops. These bubble up around your face like denizens of the deep. My mother recently learned this as she relaxed in the Jacuzzi, only to have the pee scared out of her by what she thought was a hot pink, monster-sized jellyfish trying to smother her.
Be creative. Disguise varicose veins as temporary tattoos by connecting age spots around them with colorful Sharpies. Take a hint from Garbo—look mysterious as you hide gray hair under a huge-brimmed hat and protect your skin and eyes with dark glasses.
Finally if, like me, you have a big butt, a bouncy gut, and bountiful bazooms, wear a sarong, a smile, and bring a child with you. There’s nothing prettier on the beach than a happy grandma whose grandchild tells her repeatedly how beautiful she is!
Ariel Waterman believes the perfect swimsuit is her original one she received on her birthday in 1954. Send requests for autographed pin-ups via her editor, Ryan Miller, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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