Tuesday, 14 August 2007

friggin' bathers

Today I got rid of my abhorrent swim suit. Yep! I threw that thing in with a whole bunch of other garments and unnecessary household items and off loaded the whole darn lot into the charity bin at the local servo.

I have spoken before about my un-love of bathers/togs/swimwear (whatever your choice phrase for such an item might be).

My old swim suit was an embarrassing two piece; an electric blue tankini with attached skirt to be precise, or perhaps something akin to what grannies might have worn in the 1970's, if you like. It was a scary thing in hindsight, I have to admit; a $15 investment made over a year ago. But since I have bought that swim suit, I have dared enter the water of my local pool to take the kids in or to just do a few laps, without constant reminder or fear that my lilly white, luminous, jiggly, thunder thighs might be causing an array of poolside perusers to gasp and shudder at the very sight of me, but alas, I had a reality check a couple of weeks ago. We were in Whistler. The accommodation we stayed at had a pool (oh dread). For some reason my friend's 5 year old son was very eager to check out every one's swim suit. "Can I see your swim suit?" he asked me one morning. "Nah, its not very interesting", I told him, feeling more and more intimidated about the big, scary swim suit reveal by the second, "you'll see it later".

The first time we all went swimming, no one said a word about my swim suit, but then again, I didn't make eye contact with anyone either, sending a definite message of "I don't want to talk about it - OKAY!". The second night though, my friend's son innocently asked me, "is that an old swim suit?" To which I was so embarrassed, laughed and chose not to answer, because, as I have just revealed, I bought it only the year prior, but the style beamed like a neon sigh old lady. This boy was not content with my non-reply however, and my choosing to remain tight lipped about the bloody thing only caused him to gather his own theories about the confusing item I was wearing. And his conclusion? "Yep, I'll say that's got to be a really old swim suit!" he tells me while nodding, eyebrows raised, smiling from only one side of his face.

Oh dear. There is nothing like a child to tell you just how shite you look. Actually, I tend to trust such opinions a little more; children tell it how they see it, without malice or consideration of another's feelings, but I thank him for his opinion, however embarrassing it was to hear it - it was the truth. The swim suit was way too big for me, and it was darn awful. On top of that, it was probably doing the exact opposite of what I was going for, which was to blend in with the scenery and disappear. So into the charity bin it went, where some other overly self conscious person or granny is likely to pick it up for a bargain basement price.....or perhaps it might be burned as something that should never again see the light of day (as it should be)...who knows.

Ironically, I then went over to the local pool and donated half a pack of swimmer nappies (diapers) to the local pool; my daughter no longer needs them. The pool staffer was very grateful, and as fate should have it, gave me a complementary pass to the pool as a thank you. Now Ashley is having a week off work right now, and it is summer over here, so naturally Ashley, seeing the freebie that has just been thrown my way, suggests we go to the pool in the afternoon - "yay", yell the kids excitedly, running off to retrieve their swim suits from the cupboard in readiness. "Oh, you can take them", I casually replied to Ashley. But Ashley insisted we all go as a family "it'll be fun", he reckoned. So I 'fessed up that I had just tossed the scary suit in the charity bin, so I unfortunately, had to stay home. Baffled, he pressed me into explaining why, which brought me to relate the whole Whistler incident to him...so what happened next? He MADE me buy another swim suit, right then and there. He was even willing to drive me into the next town where there is more selection.

I must say, I wasn't very motivated to buy another swim suit. For a start, I wasn't confident that I would find anything I would even half-heartily like, nor did I intend on spending very much money on something I didn't intend on wearing too often, but on Ashley's insistence, I agreed.

I suggested that I might be able to find one in town, so Ashley drove me to each store and waited with the kids in the car. Its the end of the season as far as swim suit buying goes, so it was pretty slim pickings, but since Ashley was adamant that I not used the old, "damn, I don't have a swim suit excuse" (again), I caved and reluctantly bought a suit that was acceptable enough - it only cost $25.

So in the end, I went swimming and we all did had fun - I just hate the getting in and getting out part of swimming.

I wish I didn't have all this angst about body image. It makes the very idea of activities, such as swimming, extremely difficult for me to entertain.

A friend once told me, "if you look around, there is always someone bigger and there is always someone skinnier, so forget about it and have fun." I liked that piece of advice, though I wasn't wearing a swim suit at the time. For me though, it isn't about the sizes of other people at all. It is about the level of comfort I feel in myself, and that, unfortunately, has nothing to do with size.


jeanie said...

I have a grandma suit - but it is black and stops the world from getting that really disgusting top of thighs view.

The worst bit about that is - I do some work for a swimwear company (rhymes with jolly) and could get them relatively cheap - which is about 3 x the ransom I would pay for myself anyway - oh well.

What is it about the term "family swim" that induces shudders? It is a chance for one parent to nap I say!

Tracey said...

I've always hated being in swimmers.. and buying swimmers. I got a bit lucky with a local swimmear shop that had swimmers in 'real' sizes - and I have been able to find one-piece swimmers that are more flattering than the type you'd find for my size in either a surf shop or somewhere like Target. (I'll never forget the humiliation of trying on swimmers in Target and having to keep going up and up in size till I got to an 18, and I still looked crap in it!)

I still don't feel like having to walk too far to pool edge or into the surf if there are people about - luckily our beach is so deserted, even in summer, that I don't have to feel self conscious.

However, I know what you mean!

shishyboo said...

I am a big fan of putting a rashie over the top in order to feel less exposed but of course once wet there is still the cling factor.
Lucky I don't like to swim or even get wet outside of my own bathroom, so the swimsuit stays looking very new and the world is spared from the horror of my jiggly bits.
Thunder thighs, fa-doob-ba-da's (Kath & Kim ;), you name it, I've got it and it jiggles

Elizabeth said...

Oh good. I'm not the only one who hates to put on a bathingsuit.

Mine has to be 15 years old and will probably fall apart if I try to wear it now. I did attempt to buy a new one but hated myself in every one I tried on.

I've decided I will use my age as an excuse. There must be some kind of medical lore that says anyone over 60 has to stay out of the water unless it's just to paddle in up to your knees, thus allowing you to get by with shorts.

strauss said...

Ha Ha Elizabeth, I have been trying to impliment a similar medical lore applying only to myself, since I was 21. Actually, as shuddersome as it is to don the bathers, I was glad that my husband forced me to buy a new, half decent pair. I do love swimming. I reckon that I would use a pool all the time if we had one in the privacy of our own backyard. I am Glad to hear that I am not the only one with hideous thighs or fadoobadas (hee hee).
It would be great to have a real sizes swimmers shop near by, and Target do seem to size their clothing on the smaller size.

Tori said...

I can relate to this. I think that I would rather swim naked than in a swimming suit. I hate doing it.