The world is going to come to an end next week, and of that, I am sure. How do I know that? Because next week I am going to go out shopping for a new bathing suit. That happens less often than the end of the world, believe me, and is twice as traumatic — both for me and the lucky clerk who helps me.
I was prompted to buy a new suit next week when I watched an old homemade video the other day. It is at the top of my bucket list to convert our old 8 mm home movies and videotapes to DVDs. I think of it as a gift to my grandchildren.
Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t even know what that thin, round tin can was with an 8 mm film in it.
Well, there I was on screen about 12 years ago in a rather nice black bathing suit with white trim. “Hmmm, I used to look like that?” I thought. “Egad! I still have that bathing suit! Gadzooks! I wore it all last summer! I’ve had that suit that long?” That is the rational thought behind my decision to shop for a new one.
Of course, it would have been smarter to buy a bathing suit on sale at the end of last summer; but it is a unique talent to look the other way while one passes by racks and racks of bathing suits on sale when one just hates trying on bathing suits. You go in this little room carrying 10 bathing suits over your arm, shut the door and stand under fluorescent lighting. Now, fluorescent lighting can make Raquel Welch look like a poached egg. You’re pale enough in the winter without looking stark white, every wrinkle and flaw magnified by a mirror on each side of you, a spotlight from above, and a clerk knocking on the door kindly asking, “Are you all right in there?”
Of course, I’m not all right! I’m trying on bathing suits! When you go into that little room, the clerk should give you valium, a bottle of wine and a blindfold. Spray paint for the mirrors would also be a nice touch. “This is worse than having a root canal,” I moan to the clerk. “Could you call an ambulance? Or maybe a plastic surgeon?”
OK. You are in this closet with 10 bathing suits. This one has a skirt. When I was young, I swore to never ever buy or wear a bathing suit that had a little skirt on it. Those little skirts are designed to hide any winter chocolate that has settled on your thighs, and they are for older women. (Some of the men I know could use little skirts on their suits. It might help them.)
And don’t be offended by the use of the word “older.” I know I should use the term senior citizen, but when you are over 70 like I am, you can call it anything you want. And you can refuse to wear a bathing suit with a skirt if you want. After all, Barbara did not make George eat broccoli.
The first five bathing suits are disasters. They are all too small, and I’ll be dad-burned if I am going to buy a size larger this year. That would be admitting a whole ton of stuff I don’t want to admit. I take the Fifth Amendment and refuse to ask the clerk for a larger size. That’s my right as a woman. So, now there are five suits left to try on. Two of them make little bulges around the waist — must be the way they are designed — that can’t be part of me.
One conclusion has been arrived at so far: Black is definitely my color. It has the gift of making cellulite disappear. So what if it looks just like the bathing suit I am hopefully going to maybe probably throw away when I get home if I can summon the courage? I’ll leave the price tag on so everyone will know I bought a new suit. Well, my color decision eliminates all but this last little number with a flower at the bust and a …and a … a little skirt! The flower extends almost to the chin, which would hide the sunspots and a few wrinkles — oh … my — I must have grabbed the wrong size. This one is a size larger. I’ll just slip it on and see if the design really keeps my stomach in like it promises. A “miracle fabric,” it says. Hmmmm, the suit feels OK. They probably put the wrong size on the tag.
Exhausted and disheveled, I escape this fluorescent prison I’ve been in, pay the clerk for this skirted bathing suit, which is the wrong size, and dash out. I just know this is the way next week is going to go. I guess it won’t be the end of the world, but pretty darn close.
Maybe I’ll just look at my old bathing suit before I go shopping — OK, here it is — maybe if I just put a huge flower at the top and add a little skirt — I just hate to try on bathing suits!