As I was folding my freshly washed swimsuit, I realized something I’ve always known but never admitted: I look awful in every kind of swimsuit. And trust me, I’ve tried ALL of them. Sporty one piece, sexy one piece, flowered tankini, striped halter tankini, two piece, bikini (I was four and it was the last time I ever wore a bikini), and my current one piece with a flowy skirt thing that should hide my less flattering bits, but instead makes me look like a soccer mom. Obviously, I need help.
On the surface, I should look at least average in a swimsuit, if not a tad better. I’m 5′ 10″ with legs that go on forever. I have no tan lines and a pretty great rack. (This is the part where I’m allowed to throw myself some compliments.) But in reality, those few positives are terribly overshadowed by everything else. What I was blessed with in leg length, I lack in torso. So horizontal stripes are out unless I’m going for the squat, oddly shaped circus freak look. As great as no tan lines are, I also have no tan. I’m pale, but not even good pale. (See anyone in the Twilight series.) While my arms at least appear to be a tad sun-kissed, my legs look like they’ve never seen the light of day. This is the endless amusement of my brothers who both ended up with our dad’s dark genes and I got my mom’s white ass ones. Ah, the trials and tribulations of being biracial. Stacy and Sean have Halle Berry coffee and cream skin while I look like hold-the-coffee-and-add-some- bleach skin. As Bridget Jones or Kate Nash or any other sassy Brit chick would say, I’ve got a few wobbly bits. Like most women, I hate my thighs and the bits on my arms that jiggle more than any arms should.
You’d think that as much as I hate swimsuits, I would also hate swimming, but I LOVE to swim. I welcome swimsuit season as much as I dread it. I spent every summer from Kindergarten to 5th grade at Grandma Joyce’s house. (Not my grandma but rather a beloved babysitter.) From the time my parents dropped me off in the morning before they went to work until the time they picked me up, I was in the pool. The only time me and the rest of the kids got out was for lunch. After gulping down our food, Grandma Joyce made us wait an hour before getting back into the pool. We all sat by the pool, dangling a toe in, practically counting down the time until Grandpa Bob opened the back door and nodded at us. When you’re a kid, you don’t care about swimsuits. You’re cute, gangly, toothless and slimy from all the sunscreen, but you’re forgiven because you’re young. Someone should warn you: Hey kid, just wait until your 18 when the way you look in a swimsuit is just as important as whether or not you’re registered to vote.
As a kid when you put on a swimsuit, you know you’re going to swim. Not so as an adult. Everyone my age loves laying out. I don’t get it. If I wanted to lay in the sun and sweat … oh wait, I don’t. To me it’s right up there with church and Republicans; you should avoid it at all costs. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve laid out in my life. Who’d have thought there were so many rules to just laying on some wobbly lawn chair? You’ve got to time it, apply the right amount of sunscreen, find the best spot to lay out and above all, look sexy. Because it’s so easy to look sexy while wearing a wet piece of clingy nylon that no matter how many times you wash, it still smells like chlorine. I don’t know about you, but when I lay down, I don’t care to work.
As awful as swimsuits are, every couple of years I force myself to go to the mall and try on endless suits. It never takes me long to lose all self-confidence. It also doesn’t take long before I have a strong urge to rip every size XS bikini off the rack and throw at unsuspecting skinny girls. Judging from the faded and smelly nature of my current suit, I think it’s that time of year again. Time to convince myself that the perfect bathing suit is out there, much like the perfect handbag or the perfect pair of suede shows or the perfect man. I’m beginning to think the perfect swimsuit may be the most elusive of all.