I attended a pool party yesterday — and by “attended a pool party,” I mean that I lurked just out of view of the pool with all my clothes on. A few fellow guests inquired politely whether I was going in the pool … or whether I’d even brought a swimsuit.
The answer to both questions was a resounding, “No.”
I don’t own a swimsuit. The last time I went shopping for a swimsuit resulted in tears and self-loathing. What it didn’t result in was the purchase of a swimsuit.
I don’t want my entire back exposed. There are certain types of folds and rolls that reveal themselves back there when my brassiere and t-shirt are stripped away.
I don’t want my breasts exposed. They do better with the type of support that just isn’t available in your garden-variety bathing suit. Those little built-in bra shelves or odd circular pads that designers stuff into the front of some swimsuits are insufficient to support or cover my breasts.
I don’t want my upper thighs exposed, especially not in the place where they meet and marry on top. What is the opposite of a thigh gap? I don’t know, but that’s what I have. It’s a soft and fluffy meeting of the thighs that’s perfect for stretch pants — somewhat less perfect for a bikini.
Speaking of bikinis …
I don’t want my stomach exposed. It’s funny because I sincerely believe with all my heart that any woman in the world who wants to wear a bikini should wear a bikini — except me. I will never have a bikini body because I refuse to be in the same room as a bikini.
It leaves me wondering whom these swimsuits were designed for — apparently not me. I’d be more comfortable swimming in a sleeping bag.
Several years ago, my ex-husband and I went camping with another couple. It was my first time camping. My husband loaded a two-person tent onto his Harley, and I brought along everything I could carry in a fanny pack. It was a disaster.
The most memorable part about that Fourth of July weekend trip wasn’t camping without a change of underwear or sleeping on the cold hard ground and feeling the rocks that lay just beneath the thin floor of the tent.
It was the swimming pool.
The campground had a deep in-ground swimming pool surrounded by a tall fence, and I was the only one who didn’t bring a swimsuit. I didn’t even own one. So I was camping with three skinny people who wouldn’t know a body image issue if it bit them on the ass — and I was wearing jeans, boots, and a black leather jacket while sitting by the edge of the pool.
It was a nightmare from start to finish. While my three camping companions swam and splashed in the pool, I sat drenched in sweat and pretended that wearing a leather motorcycle jacket in July somehow made me look thinner.
Thin does not equal good, and fat does not equal bad — but when the heat of July rolls around this year, I don’t want to be the only person wearing denim and leather by the pool.
There are two lessons I could have learned by now, and either one of them would have sufficed. I need to procure either the best possible swimsuit for my body or the best possible body for my swimsuit — and it isn’t about being thin enough or good enough.