Saturday, 28 July 2012

BATHING SUIT HELL or My War with the Madonna Suit

Last week I had to do something that engenders the kind of enthusiasm that might be associated with a mass accident on the Gardiner Expressway.

I went shopping for a bathing suit.

“Do you have anything with winches?”  I say to sweet little Clerkette.

“Is that a brand name?”  She squeaks back.

It is obvious from the start this isn’t going to work.  Clerkette looks all of sixteen.  She comes back with a two piece that might possibly fit a Barbie Doll.  A real one, not life-size.

“Let me make this clearer,” I say patiently.  “Things have happened to my body in the last twenty years.  I may be a little hard to fit.”

“No problem,” she says cheerfully.  “We have just the thing.”

I look around the store.  Walls of colorful bathing suits on racks, all looking about size 2.  The price tags, however, are size 20.  Why is it that the smaller the article, the greater the cost?

Clerkette comes back with a couple of fuchsia ribbons hanging from her fingers.  “Try this,” she says.  “It’s a Tanga.  They fit everyone.”

I squint at the ribbons.  “Where is it?” I say.

Men don’t have to deal with this.  No, indeed. Here’s what happens when a man goes into a store:

Man:  “I need a bathing suit.”
Clerk: “Do you want blue or red?”
Man:  “Blue is good.  How much?”

But back to Clerkette.  I try again.  

“Do you have something that is a little more structured, if you know what I mean.  Something that ‘lifts and redistributes’.”

“Ah!” says Clerkette.  “You want our ‘Madonna’ model.”

She hands me a steely black suit with hard cups that looks something like a medieval torture device.

“Perfect!” I say.  I go into the wee change room to try it on.

What ensues is a monumental battle between me and the suit that lasts about fifteen minutes.  (Shoppers: 0, Fiendish Designers: 1)  Finally, various bits of me have been forced into the chambers allotted to them.  Breathing is possible, barely.  I look in the mirror.  The result is not bad.  

Which is a good thing, because there’s not a chance in hell I’ll ever get out of it.


  1. That's the kind of bathing suit I need!

  2. Too funny! You're right, it is much easier for men. As long as the waistband is working, we're set.

  3. Torture! It's a rite of passage when one goes from that lovely bikini to the full skirt covering thighs and everything else. Suddenly, the bloomers our ancestors wore to the beach seem so practical!

  4. We also get to put on a t-shirt. It's much easier and the world of fashion is kinder to us!

  5. Really, really funny. I can relate. Since I actually live in a suit of some sort most of the winter months in Florida, I think I've solved the shock of trying on a suit through my "desensitization" program. I own about 20 of them. It's no longer a shock in the dressing room, just more of the same. Ya get used to it after a while. And I live in an over 55 community, so I'm surrounded by flesh similar to my own. If I didn't get used to it, I'd never go to the pool.

  6. Oh, Melodie! Hilarious! I love to swim and I'm always searching for the "perfect" bathing suit. The next time I try one on, I'll think of this - and laugh.

  7. Very funny stuff! Although we have a pool, I haven't bought a suit in a few years. I can relate, unfortunately. My husband can't. :)

  8. You hooked us and provided a great conclusion-- Americans love happy endings! The only thing you forgot was a photo of you in the Madonna suit.

    I'm afraid for me, it might take two Madonna suits stitched together. I haven't been in a bathing suit for YEARS! I'd rather skinny dip on a moonless night than try to squeeze my avoir du poids into a suit.

  9. I wish I could put a 'Like' beside all these comments, because honestly,you all have me laughing hysterically! I left out the part about the two piece tankini, where the top of the top rolled down to my middle, and the bottom of the top rolled up to my middle, and both melded into a waist girdle. For a few fearful minutes, I contemplated having to buy the thing so they could cut me out with scissors.

  10. A brilliant story, and right on the mark for my experiences as well! With the "water-fun" season fast approaching, I anticipate many more thrills in the chamber of horrors!

  11. Now I don't feel nearly as bad about the wrist I sprained while trying on bras.