Swimsuit Shopping

You can absolutely tell men are in charge of all things military.

You never read this in the news about a torture investigation: The prisoners were subjected to an arduous bout of jeans shopping. They were forced to try several pairs which were all ill-fitting, rendering some looking like Oompa Loompas and others like muffins with legs. To further compound their stress, the change room was only separated from the rest of the shop by a crappy little curtain that was too small for the cavity. Their arses poked out of said curtain while trying to contort themselves into such ridiculous clothes.

For there are certain types of shopping expeditions that amount to a form of torture.

I recently went on holiday, and for that I needed to buy 2 items:

1. A swimsuit (this is the most universal term I can think of).
2. Sunglasses.

Let us start with the swimsuit. Ah, for there is a form of torture we all have to endure at some stage.

Realising my 6 year old bikini alone wasn’t going to cut it, I set out to find a one-piece swimsuit. Off I skipped, laughing and singing, not realising that London is wonderful in many ways, but its selection of swimsuits is not.

I looked around and there was not a one-piece in sight. The bikinis were pretty dire too, unless you fancy gel padding to push your boobs up to your forehead. They’re funny things, really. We wouldn’t go out just in a bra and knickers, but if they’re made from lycra it’s somehow OK. Personally, when buying bikinis this is what I look for:

  • Different sized top and bottom.
  • The bottoms have to be ever-so-slightly too big. The right size will mean they don’t fall down when diving into water, but they can have the effect of squishing the fat around your hips, thus having it billow out where your swimsuit ends. Unsightly. Best go for a slightly larger size but take care if diving.
  • Dark and patterned. When those labels say “water may make this fabric transparent” they are not kidding.
  • Slight padding in the top so your nipples are not the beach’s thermometer.

OK? OK. That’s all very well, but this time I was not shopping for a bikini. I wanted a one-piece. It finally dawned on me there was only one thing for it: Westfield at Shepherds Bush. Put simply, it’s a really frigging big shopping centre. An Australian one. (I’m sorry but I really did have to add that.)

Still no luck. I was getting pissed off. I ate several pretzels then bought myself an ice-cream, hardly what one needs when trying on swimsuits but I needed geeing up. I saw a Monsoon and, wanting to go home, I made a deal with myself. If they have swimsuits, I will buy one from there. Even if it is awful.

It turns out they had a one-piece I could try. It took ages but I put it on, rather like sausage meat trying to put on its casing without the nifty little machine. I stood in the mirror. And quietly died.

For there, looking back at me, was Tinky-Winky. How had I suddenly become an apple shape? I thought lycra was meant to pull you in, not push you out. Also, my boobs definitely came to the shops with me, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. Where are you boobs? Where?? They were gone. It reminded me of when I wailed to my doctor that I had no idea breastfeeding depletes them so. “Hmmmm,” he said, “I guess they do lose some of their volume.” Now there’s the understatement of the century.

I was defeated. I asked the lovely sales assistant for some bikinis to try (“OH MY GOD are you Australian??? So am I!!! OH MY GOD!!!!”) and she obliged. She brought me one that ticked all the boxes. When I asked her how it looked, she stood back, and after a good think she said very doubtfully, “Well… you can pull it off….”

Oh who cares. I bought it. They’re more comfortable anyway. And contrary to what some believe, you can wear a bikini with a tummy and the world will still turn.

It’s not just me, is it? Does anyone out there relish buying swimwear?

And after all that, I’ll have to tell you about the sunnies another time.

2 thoughts on “Swimsuit Shopping

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