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There is nothing quite like viewing one's body, clad in figure-hugging spandex, in front of a three-way mirror under fluorescent lighting. What fun. Such enjoyment. Did I mention the fun? In other words, I went swimsuit shopping today. It's one of the least favorite things for a woman to do - unless of course that woman happens to have the body of Twiggy and avoids looking in mirrors at all costs. We can spout our feminist ideals and our refusal to judge by the scale all we want, but when it comes to swimsuits, all of that goes out the window. With most other clothing, you can hide those extra bulges and bumps. Spandex is not so forgiving. I'd be willing to bet that if you put her into a swimsuit, even the most enlightened and hard-core feminist will still be surreptitiously checking out the size of her own rear end in the next available mirror.
In the room next to me was another woman trying on swimwear. I could tell by the muttered swears under her breath, and by the way she snapped at her significant other as she called him to the door to view her in suit after suit. Walking out, I gave the poor man a sympathetic smile, but I'm not sure he saw me. His eyes were pained. He was not having fun. Ah, true love. Richard volunteered to go with me but I was too nice. Swimsuit shopping is a solitary sport, in my opinion. Even going with female friends is a bad idea, unless all those friends happen to be in worse shape than yourself, because when clad in spandex, you just can't help comparing yourself to the other spandex-clad figures around you. Ha ha, my brain shouts triumphantly! Look, she's got a bigger tummy than you! It's bad. Evil. And exactly why I refuse to do this with anyone but myself.
It's been years since I've done this too. All that swimming in high school and college sort of gave me an aversion to chlorinated water. As much as I loved doing synchronized swimming, the thought of jumping into water now just isn't quite so appealing as it used to be. Although I really shouldn't feel that way - much like the Ugly Duckling when he discovered he was really a swan, the only place I've ever been remotely graceful is in the water. On land I'm more likely to run into walls and furniture (they jump out at me. Really they do!). In the water I am actually coordinated.
I did find a suit to buy. I was extremely tempted by a solid black one which, while it made me look like a fireplug with limbs, at least had the redeeming feature of being high enough in the back to cover the tattoo. The reason this feature was redeeming is because this weekend I'm off to spend time with my fiance's family, and in another week or two I'm off to a family reunion - and as of yet, I don't think any of them (his family or my extended relatives) know about the two extra cats on my back. But I passed on the fireplug suit in favor of one that, while low enough in the back to let the cat heads peer through, at least gives me the illusion of a figure, and the cute little attached skirt hides my rear. What more can I ask for than that?.