Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Lycra-Spandex Blues

So it finally happened to me. Yes, one of those questions you never want to be asked...well, unless the answer to the question is an obvious 'yes'. This time, it was a definite 'no'. I was at the local pool, in the water, next to a little girl who had an eye-level view of my mid-section: "Do you got a baby in there?", she quipped. I replied, "No, but my tummy looks that way because I've had two babies!" LOL

It's been a hot summer, here. One the of things I hate shopping for the most is a swimsuit. By July, the kids were begging for a pool pass and so I had to find something soon. I can't recount the number of stores I've been to, multiple times--looking, trying on this piece or that. It is frustrating, to say the least. And then add to that, towing along your two children--who seem to be experts at making a scene in the stores. I'll share with you a few of my hilarious moments, in finding that perfect suit.

I was at a store, where they have everything, pushing my red cart through the swimwear section. My kids were hiding here and there, underneath the racks--pretending to not be seen. I was bent over a particular 'miracle spandex suit'--examining the push-up feature, annoyed with the underwire, not believing it would do anything positive for my size. Then I heard a male voice, practically booming behind me: "Lookin' for a suit there, are ya?" I turned around, with the cup-side in hand, facing a family member that I don't see too often. He had a rather smirky smile on his face, while I could feel the red creeping across mine. He happened to be waiting for his little boy, by the men's bathroom, inconveniently located by the women's swimwear section! Ah well, he was just being sociable. No hard feelings there.

My next trip would take me to another dept. store, where it seems they always have sales. It was swimwear this time. I finally found something that would work for me. But then I had that thought: I really should have TWO know, just in case. That was my undoing, so it seemed. The section was pretty picked over, not offering much in my size. But then I saw this mannequin. I just had to check: yep, she was wearing MY size! Was there another one the rack. Nope. I started to wonder how on earth I could get this suit off, so I could try it on. The thought of stripping a mannequin, in the middle of the store, was just too much...even for me. There were no sales people anywhere to be found. I walked up and down the isles, three times. Only found one person, and she was ringing up a line of customers.

I started feel desperate, as my kids began to whine about how hungry they were, when we would leave, and this and that. The mannequin was one of those hanging kind, on the rack. No head, no arms, no legs. Just a sculpted mid-section that represented a figure most of us never had. I looked to the right, then to the left: "Forget it, I'm bringing her in the dressing room!" And so we did. My son kept asking, "Mom, are you gonna take that suit OFF her? Are YOU going to try it on? Mom? Mom?" We rushed past the back of the store, making a bee line for the dressing rooms. I never felt so foolish and silly, in all my life! But maybe it would fit...maybe? sort of fit...not really--it looked about as ridiculous I was already feeling. Next question: "Mom, are you going to take her BACK to the rack?" Oh boy. I sure didn't want to! But I knew I had to. My kids were watching, wondering if their mother had completely lost it. So we returned 'Miss Mannequin', with her suit back on, to the hanging rack. I was never so glad to leave a store as I was that day.

So I guess what I've learned from all of this is that one decent bathing suit is enough. Maybe next season, I'll find another in a less dramatic way. If you want to see what real women look like, go to the pool sometime. We come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. But we share the same need to be loved for who we are, inside and out.  I'd rather be there, chatting up the day with my mom-friends, instead of with the 'false figurines' at the dept. stores. But that's where we have to go to get fitted...and even when you find a flattering suit, you may still get asked that dreaded question!