14 August 2014

Polka Dot Tankini

Me. (not really)
My perfect bathing suit is starting to deteriorate. It looks fine from the front, but is pretty threadbare from behind. ‘Ick, gross’, is what my sister said to be as we exited a lake recently (though I found out later is was less about the suit and more about my hairy legs).

Since it was my only bathing suit, it was time to get a new one.  I’ve only ever had one bathing suit at a time, and when it starts to wear out, I replace it.  That’s sort of been my method of operation for a
ll my hard-to-find items. This is reflected by my closet, which is one of the most highly curated (meager) selections of clothing known to womankind.

I never thought it would be like this. When I was a little tomboy, I assumed that the desire to shop and wear perfume would decent upon me like puberty, and molars.  I pictured a future rich with high heels, manhattans, and a perfume bottle with an atomizer for me to squeeze.

Little did I know that I would grow up clumsy (but adorable) with minimal make-up and mostly flat shoes. Still, I like pretty things. Which makes shopping even harder, since whatever I buy has to be perfect, and last for a long time.

‘Good luck in there!’ said the sales lady as she closed the door to my changing room. I’d come to a department store and had grabbed three swimsuits – a practical blue one piece, a polka dot tankini, and a saucy nautical number.

‘What do you mean?’ I asked her.

She explained that trying on bathing suits was super stressful, and most people have a rough time. Some even leave in tears. But I wasn’t feeling stressed, in fact I was pretty excited. Perhaps it’s because I don’t really feel like ‘most people’.  For instance, most people don’t have Barbie breasts with no nipples. And most people my age don’t have a delightful little cleavage or  a perfectly flat stomach which gives the illusion of abs of steel.

I must have done something marvelous in a past life, because all three bathing suits fit perfectly. Even the tankini, which I didn’t think I could wear. The nautical number was good too, even if  I did resemble a Russian figure skater performing their free dance to the theme of ‘Gilligans Island’.

When I emerged form the changing room the saleslady was waiting for me. ‘How’d you do in there?’ she asked. I tossed everything triumphantly on the counter. She smiled, ‘So you’ll take all three?’

The question mark hung in the air. Would I? My intention was to buy just one – because that’s what I always did.  But the practical me was silenced by another voice chatting in my head.

‘Oh lighten up!’ said the voice, fresh from a sip of her cocktail. ‘Have a bit of fun!’ Ignoring the voice, I checked the price tags and prepared to choose the one I like best. ‘Everyone loves a gal in polka dots,’ the voice continued, ‘Let’s buy them all!’

I was leaning towards the one piece, because it made the most sense.  But the voice was having none of it, ‘No one ever got laid in a one-piece. Don’t be a dud. Take all three!’

I handed the salesgirl my credit card and smiled as though shopping was something I did all the time. ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘I’ll take all three.’

And just like that I’d become the lady I always thought I should be – with a Visa bill and a bag of not-entirely practical clothes. One small step for womankind. One giant step for me.