Bathing Beauty

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…

39 thoughts on “Bathing Beauty

  1. I like the black one but would want to be sure it works with Jessie’s skin tone – seriously! This post is just too true…I was going to say “totally on target” but that sounds goofy 🙂 As for Target, I try not to go in there very often for fear of high totals at check-out but then it ends up high because I waited 4-6 months and needed to stock up on cheap stuff!

    • I am fully prepared to keep all of ’em…just trying to get up the courage to get her to try them all on! As for totally on Target – works for me!

    • I am less concerned with playing things cool, more concerned with finding a bathing suit that works! It is these little things that trip me up!

  2. You’re awesome! Those suits are adorable. That darn penis keeps getting in the way, but those shorts should do the trick!! Good luck, hope she likes them!

  3. Beach day temps this weekend…gear up and come meet us down in Dartmouth. We’ll test out all the new suits and ensembles…a la playa. Beach Babes (Bitches) for sure!

  4. Julie- not for a minute would I ever doubt your shopping abilities- but seriously- great work! My Libby would wear any one of the three ensembles you put together. Jessie is lucky to have you on so many levels. 🙂
    As for target- our credit card company breaks down our shopping at year end by store. The target category got me into some serious trouble at home….

    • That made me laugh — I can only imagine how that conversation went down. Silly girl – don’t you know better than to let the mail be opened by anyone other than yourself??

  5. Love the suits! You did an awesome job. I am sure she will love them. What are you waiting for? Let the fashion show begin. 😉

    Ps and so true about the bathing suit ordeal.

  6. I had a nice giggle over your postscript “I make no assumptions about anything any more”. I LOVE the suits. My daughter doesn’t have a penis, but her body is tricky to fit and I love your creativity w/ the Targe’ wear. I have to get her suits and may just check out your suitage.

  7. Oh, what to do with the itsy, bitsy teeny weeny? My suggestion is to make it a three-piece suit. That is, she can wear a slightly smaller spandex bikini bottom UNDER another bottom. I assume that I need not get any more graphic.

    All of the suits are adorable. I have found, however, that a racerback style can accentuate the back of the shoulders a little more than we “sturdier” girls would like sometimes.

    A final thought: Why are they called boy shorts, when boys never wear shorts like that (except back in the 70s)?

  8. Love em all! Ironically, I’ve been looking into creating swimwear for modest looks. There are some that come with pants and skirt over it, but I really like the looks above! Congrats on the victory. 😀


      • Greetings!


        She can do an experiment with them in her bathtub, to see which one feels better. Perhaps some have skirt and bottoms to help with double coverage? Or even underwear that helps to keep anatomy in place? Wow, your IQ must be shooting up by major points in the creativity exercised in these areas of consideration. I’m sure you’ll come up with something! 😀


  9. The teacher in me loves the looming summer topic. The mother in me totally gets the Target challenge- both my husband and I are very impressed that you got out of there with a few candies and some bathing suits. Clearly you’re not hanging in the baby aisles like I am 🙂 Jessie will rock all those options!

    • Oh, Whitney – there was nothing that brought me greater joy than hanging in the baby aisles at Target. Pure heaven! This is sure to be your most fun summer ever!

    • Don’t think a cup would do anything other than to accentuate but I am hardly the authority on penises…oh, wait, I think I might be! Natick after school vacation week…I will certainly need some retail therapy by then!

  10. Love your energy and creativity. As well as your willingness to shop! I just cannot do it anymore. Should you ever wish to have 2 more teens to personal shop for i have them at the ready ! You really have a flair for this!!!!

    • Bear in mind that it is still novel (and highly necessary)…check back with me in a few years and see how I am doing with the shopping then!

  11. Well, Julie, with your world-class wit i think you need to have your own nationally published column! One possible flaw in your shopping expedition, though: Maybe you should have bought two of those pretty pink outfits?

    • One for her, one for me? Good thinking, although the very brief period during which my mother and I tried the matching outfits routine was usually an unmitigated disaster, so I am likely not going there…

  12. If you teach Jessie to “pull herself flat” by pointing her penis down and sort of tucking it in,with tight bottoms,she will be flat..for now.The fun comes in a couple of years!

    • This makes me want to write a limerick that starts: “There was a young girl from Nantucket” – but I still believe that we don’t need to get too graphic. Whether it be cameltoe or cocktail, though, it is definitely prudent to strive for avoidance. One should not want to be targeted for either.

  13. Julie, you did a GREAT job with the suits. I think Jessie will like them, especially the pink one and the one wih polka dots!

    • I am sure she will like them (nope…still haven’t shown them to her!), just hope they not only fit, but fit right.

  14. Looks like you might be set on bottoms for now, but I’m a big fan of running skirts as the bottom of a swimsuit. They’re more of a skort than skirt, so they have shorts attached and are longer and cover more of the body than a regular skirted swimsuit and they’re made of swimsuit material. The first one I bought, the young woman in the running store commented that she loves her’s so much she just wears it for swimming now instead of a bathing suit bottom. I know I’ve seen them in children’s sizes at Target, but they’re mostly made for women, so they might be a good option when Jessie hits her teen years…

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