Cary News: Opinion

Parent Pathways: Walking the gauntlet of swimsuit buying

I want to talk about bathing suits.

Guys, this column isn’t for you. Be grateful you can just throw on a pair of water-resistant kneepants and you’re ready to go, or really any old pair of shorts. In addition to childbirth, mammograms and Spanx, you’re yet again coming out on top.

I am envious.

It’s been two years since I’ve had a new bathing suit. I don’t care what size you are or how fit your body is, trying on bathing suits for women is, universally, a humbling and demoralizing experience. There might be one or two women who enjoy it, but most of the women I know get what I’m talking about.

First, you have to be in a splendid mood to even consider it. Then you want to find a store with three things: good lighting, a skinny mirror and a price point below $150.

I don’t shop at department stores anymore for bathing suits because I don’t want to take out a loan to buy the two or three I’m going to need. They’re not space suits, after all.

All of these conditions aligned last week, and I browsed through a meager selection of swim suits. The selection itself wasn’t meager, only the ones I might consider.

For example, I don’t want a two-piece. That ship sailed a long time ago. And I don’t want a one-piece with a bunch of missing fabric or giant cut-outs on the side.

How ridiculous.

I don’t want a suit made with a bunch of squeeze-you-to-death fabric that makes me feel like compressed biscuits in a can. I don’t want a “come-hither” suit, either, pieced together with great swaths of netting and brass rings.

I want a suit that says, “Back off, I’m reading my book and getting ready to swim laps.”

And it would be great if it didn’t have a skirt that came down to my knees or, really, any skirt at all. As strange as it sounds, I really just want a suit in which I can swim.

But not a swimteam swimsuit. I still have a little vanity left. So I want to be able to swim, but still look good. Or feel like I look sort of good. That’s the kind of suit I want.

Do they even make those anymore?

I can’t imagine the faces I must have been making while browsing the racks, because the woman across from me said, “I’m watching your face, and I feel exactly the same way about these suits.”

She didn’t want a one-shouldered bathing suit, either, or one cut so low in the back, her rear end parts might be visible upon leaning over.

In the end, I found two suits that aren’t repulsive. That’s the barometer for accomplishing the holy grail of swimsuit buying if you’re a woman. And I did it twice. It was a good day.

I don’t think I have the fortitude to try it again anytime soon.