The past Thursday morning found me packing for the little trip we took that I mentioned in yesterday's blog. Because we weren't leaving until Thursday evening, I had plenty of time to decide what to take. We were only going to be gone for two days really, well three if you count what was left of Thursday I suppose, but it still requires a change of clothes and some toiletries flung in a bag, right?
So as I'm hmmming to myself while considering outfits Tim popped his head in the bedroom just long enough to say one innocent sentence that made my blood run cold. "Honey, don't forget to pack a bathing suit". Yikes! My head came up with a snap and I must have had my angry-face on because he immediately stepped back and followed it up with, "or not, your choice, of course".
Poor thing. I didn't mean to give him the angry face. I wasn't angry at him at all. It's just defensive posturing. Those two words, "Bathing" and "Suit" just strike terror deep in my heart. So I apologized to Tim. Then I sternly told me to just get over myself. Bravely I opened the drawer that holds, not one, not two but the three bathing suits that I own. I laid them out on the bed and considered them. "Nothing to be afraid of here". I said to myself, "Stop being ridiculous". And I undressed so that I could try them each on to see which one was the least hideous.
Now there is a standard. The Least Hideous. Sigh. The first one, a navy blue two piece with a halter apron top was just plain stupid looking and the knot at the back of my neck from tying the halter is very uncomfortable. The second which was a long red top with black shorts looked equally stupid and more than a little frayed which makes sense because it is the most elderly of my bathing suits. Probably 15 to 20 years old. That should be thrown out based on that fact alone! The last is a one piece coral suit, the newest of the lot, probably 5 or 6 years old. And while it's a nice suit, it no longer looks nice on me. Unless I am wearing something over it that completely covers me which kind of negates the entire bathing suit enterprise here.
So simply said, they all fit. None of them looked good. Tim bravely peeked in as I glared at myself in the mirror while wearing the coral suit. He caught a glimpse of the look on my face and suggested that I just go buy a new bathing suit. Simple solution right? You'd think so, but no.
I'm not sure what my issue is with bathing suits. I gave it a lot of thought on my way to the store and actually it's not the actual bathing suit itself that is the problem. It's being seen wearing the bathing suit in public that is the issue. Clearly a phobia because it's just absurd. I checked (of course I did) and there actually is no official phobia for "being afraid to be seen wearing a bathing suit in public". The closest I got was:
Vestiphobia which is a fear of clothing
Ablutophobia which is a fear of bathing
Scopophobia which is a fear of being seen or looked at
So it's some combination of those. Vestablutoscopophobia?
So I talked myself into going to the outlet store the entire time giving myself a peptalk. Things like "What makes you think anyone is looking at you anyway? How vain can one person be? and" For heaven's sakes! You live by the ocean. Of course you should own a bathing suit!" and "Just get in that store and buy something! Stop being such a big baby!" Very helpful (not)
Bathing suit shopping is just so disheartening. First of all no matter what size you wear, your bathing suit size is bigger. And women who fight gravity require some serious infrastructure in bathing suit! It's not like young, firm slim women who can put on anything and every part of their body stays put. Nope. Our body parts wander around now. Gotta find something that will keep stuff in place. Hey, it's true! We won't even discuss the fun house lighting and mirrors in the changing rooms either. Just too depressing to think about.
I was surprised, thought I shouldn't have, to find that most of the summer clothes were on clearance (yay!) because the autumn and winter clothes were already out. However because it was a clearance sale, there wasn't much left to choose from (boo!) There were exactly 3 bathing suits in my size to choose from. Three. One more than two, one less than four. Three.
Well, I suppose if nothing else, it makes the decision making easier. Determined now to buy something, I took the three bathing suits into the changing room and tried them all on. The first didn't cover nearly enough of me. I'm not Amish but trust me, nobody wants to see that. Nobody. The second must have been sized incorrectly because no matter how I shifted the fabric around, it was just too big. I was rattling around inside of it like a marble in a cigar box. Which left the third one. Clearly I was going to choose it by default anyway, but I did go through the motions of trying it on anyway.
Yup the least awful for sure. Which is not to say that it looks good. But it does fit better than my other suits and being brand new is not frayed or getting thin anywhere yet so I reckon, this must be it. I bought it, went home and washed it, dried it and threw it in the suitcase without another thought. (that's the suit I bought in the photo above)
It wasn't until Friday night when it was decided that we would all meet at the hotel pool/hot tub area that I put it on again. I slipped into it and stood in front of the mirror. "I look like an oompa loompla" I said out loud to the mirror. But I wore it anyway. And you know what, nobody laughed, nobody made fun of me and we had a great time.
Maybe this is the first step in getting over Vestablutoscopophobia. Desensitizing myself to seeing myself in a bathing suit. Maybe I need to wear it more often to get used to it. And then some day, when I'm feeling really confident, I might actually wear it to the beach in front of other people - strangers! Or maybe not.
Either way, I now own a new damned bathing suit and hopefully that is the end of that. I am paraphrasing Scarlet O'Hara here: "God as my witness, I'll never go bathing suit shopping again!" heh.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.