Contributing Works Stories

Swimsuit Dilemma

by Debra Vernon

I am blessed to have many friends and acquaintances to share this thing called “life”. And there are two I know I can count on through thick or thin. We refer to ourselves as the “YaYa’s” and we have a grand old time when we are in each other’s company.

A couple of times each year, we try to schedule a road trip to spend some quality time together. Our quality time consists of eating, sleep, laugh and repeat. We do this over a span of one or several days. We have an upcoming beach trip planned for September, and no matter the weather, we WILL have fun when we go.

I have worn the same two swimsuits during our beach forays for several years. I do not use them much, so both are still in decent shape. But I thought perhaps I would procure another one, just so the YaYa’s would not have to see the same old dull and boring ones of years past. Let it be known from this point forward that I am not a small woman. I am not even close to small/petite/slim or any other adjective indicating someone who wears a swimsuit well. I am a chunky chick, and big girls like me can encounter problems when it comes to finding a decent and suitable swimsuit. There are a few stores that cater to the “full figure” woman, and heaven knows I am quite full. So, I ventured forth one recent Saturday to see what the fashion world was offering up for beach attire.

The choices for those who are “normal size” offered up bright colors, cute ruffles/frills, along with one and two-piece options, in halter style, over-the-shoulder straps or tankinis. So cute! But then I passed on through to the chunky chick section. The colors there were not as bold, and although I would never subject the human race to seeing my various body parts dangling outside the confines of a bikini, it would be nice to at least see one on the rack. But all the choices were one piece or two pieces, with the bottom either a pair of shorts, or a skirt looking contraption.

After finding one somewhat pleasing to my eye, and in a size I thought compatible, I ventured to the fitting room. I was sternly warned by the attendant to not try it on without my underwear still firmly in place, and I assured her I would certainly adhere to that request. There were also signs in each fitting room to warn of the dangers of cootie contamination if I completely undressed to try on the bathing suit. Check and check on those two items – I moved on to the try-on.

I understand swimsuits must be made to fit the body closely and also withstand water/chlorine/sand. This often means they are made of a type of spandex material that has lots of give/stretch, and repels water well. However, this also means it takes monumental strength to get the thing on and then up over the body. I am amazed others in the fitting room did not call out to see if I was okay, as all the wheezing, groaning and the slap of elastic hitting fat had to have them wondering what in the world was going on in my little cubby.

By the time I worked the one piece up and over my belly, I had perspiration dripping off me like sweat! No “glistening” for this southern belle! And, I still had to corral the bosoms, capture them under the stretch spandex, and get the straps over my shoulder! This swimsuit did not have a built-in bra, so it was hard to discern if I had placed “the girls” correctly in the suit. But once I completed the task, nothing was hanging out, so I figured I was okay.

A look in the mirror let me know I was NOT okay, as this was not the most becoming look I had ever modeled. I could plainly see if someone approached me with a sharp object, and just lightly touched the fabric over my belly or butt, they would have suffered a debilitating injury from the quick release of the spandex which would whip outward from my space and into theirs. I also noticed my fat rolls had relocated to other parts of my body, mainly up or down, depending on their original location. My muffin top had traveled up to my neck area, while my lower abdomen excess was hugging my kneecaps. All that spandex was squishing me out of my regular proportions! And, probably most concerning, it was difficult to breathe. Breathing is extremely important to me, so I decided to look for another swimsuit. But first, I had to get this one off.

Remember all the sweating mentioned in putting on the swimsuit? Moisture such as that does not bode well for getting a very form-fitting outfit off your person. I took a deep breath (as much as was allowed by the “tougher than steel” elastic encompassing my chest), and proceeded to yank and pull from the top. As I worked my way down, I unleashed body parts that had been confined by the spandex, and they jiggled and wiggled themselves into blissful freedom as they proceeded to let gravity pull them back into their rightful place. I was also able to take a breath, which was quite beneficial. After wrangling around for a few more minutes, I was able to escape the swimsuit, and exited the fitting room with the offending garment in hand to be returned to the rack.

Rather than subject myself to another episode of “chunky chick aerobics”, I decided the two swimsuits already in my possession were quite sufficient for my YaYa beach trip and did not seek out another one. I mean, they cover what is necessary and after my experience of shopping for a new one, I did not care if the two YaYa’s were tired of looking at the old ones. I just wanted to be able to breathe and enjoy the hot tub, without being suffocated by my relocated muffin top.

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