Ask any woman how she feels about bathing suit shopping and you are sure to be met with sighs, eye rolls and generalized angst. I personally can think of nothing about it that is even remotely pleasurable not just at this age, but even in my younger, more smokin’ hot years. It is, however, a necessary evil – particularly if you live in a part of the world that has summer which, as it happens, I do. All the tricks and games I have engaged in over the years in hopes of making it something other than a depressing use of an afternoon, however, failed to aid me as I found myself shopping for a bathing suit for Jessie. Oh dear G-d.
I did not intend to embark on this expedition today, rather I found myself in Target (which I have yet to manage to get out of without spending at least $100) and, while searching for underwear for Jessie (she favors the boy-shorts) (oh, the irony) I spied, out of the corner of my eye, a bevy of bathing suits. I know enough to realize that this abundant display will be quickly depleted and there will not be a bathing suit to be purchased in a fifty mile radius once June hits, so I had to pounce while the getting was good. Perhaps more enticing was the signage that rejoiced in the freedom to mix and match tops and bottoms which, as anyone who has shopped for a bathing suit can attest, is a huge bonus…even more so when one needs to accommodate a penis in the “made for girls” bathing suit. File under: yet another collection of words that I never thought I would even ponder, let alone utter aloud.
As I began to peruse the options, I honed in on the boy-short bottoms (again, oh, the irony) which, upon closer inspection, were immediately disqualified based upon the fact that they were tight, fitted bottoms which would be difficult for anyone to pull off (um, camel toe?) let alone someone trying desperately to camouflage a penis. I then explored the skirted bottoms which have potential, but these particular ones were so damn flouncy and delicate that it was evident that their powers of concealment were dubious at best. Crap – I think I might be starting to sweat.
Back in December, about a minute and a half after Jessie was officially “born”, she and Rich were going to Florida to visit Grandma. The day before (no exaggeration) their departure, I hastily bought a few tankinis (which are my preferred style of suit) with over-skirts for what would be my daughter’s first foray into a pool as, well, my daughter. It was somehow different for me then: said suit was going to be worn in the company of strangers and, frankly, I was not going to be there to witness it. (Admission: I was grateful for that.)(Comment: Rich was a rock star about it. Was glad it was him and not me. True.) Now things are different. We are closing in on summer which translates to hours upon hours at the community pool to which we have belonged since Harrison was a baby. (Read: we know everyone there.) Somehow George (n.c.i.) cruising the pool in a mermaid tail (true story) was easier for me to get my head around than this is.
Armed with the knowledge that this bathing suit exercise was not going to be easy, I assigned just one simple standard to which I needed to adhere: appropriate coverage. This includes chest, butt, belly and, yep, penis. I must admit to being a bit taken aback by the suits being marketed to the tween set as they look nearly identical to the suits that I wear. Remember, I have been buying my children swim trunks for the past seventeen years and only needed to ensure that they not be see-through when wet. Coverage was a non-issue. Even the board-shorts for girls (the same as boys’, just shorter) wouldn’t quite cut it for one simple reason: no mesh inside. (But, actually, that isn’t good for anyone…right?…)
It quickly became evident that in order to satisfy my one measly criterion I was going to have to get creative. Wait, what is that?? I noticed some cute shorts, technically (and marketed as) workout wear (for the ten-year old yoga enthusiast?!) with (woo-hoo!) mesh liners and (score!) matching tops. This might just work. I crawled around looking for the correct size, taking the extra time to make sure that the size on the plastic hanger matched up with the item – sometimes those Target stockers don’t take the care that they should with such details – and voila, I created an entirely feasible bathing option.
Not satisfied with just one ensemble, I returned to the “mix and match” section and choose a few tankini tops (methinks Jessie might not have the belly for a bikini. Just keepin’ it real, boys and girls) that will also work with the short bottoms. I nearly hurt myself with the accolades I was internalizing in praise of my creativity!
I brought my purchases to the register with only two additional, unnecessary items (Pretzel M&Ms for Rich and snack sized Mounds Bars for Harrison) and was on my way. (Note: limiting myself to only two unnecessary items in the shopping playground they call Target was nearly as remarkable as my bathing suit assemblage!)
Now all I need to do is have Jessie try them on which, we all know, is all that stands between me and another small victory. I think I might just revel in the assumed success for now…I am not sure I am quite ready for the fashion show yet…it is only April, after all.
Update: This happened over a week ago. I have still not shown them to Jessie. I have not even told her about them, let alone asked her to try them on for fit. Until I took them out for the picture, they have been sitting, lonely and untouched, in their bags in a far corner of my bedroom. No, they have not taken up residence in the spot where the clothes lived for four months; rather I chose a different corner.
Photo credits to Harrison who, while taking the picture, told me that he prefers the pink one…I think he meant for Jessie, but I make no assumptions about anything any more…