Monday, May 30, 2005

Does anyone actually enjoy swimsuit shopping?

It's that time of year again. We've made our reservations for the great hotel on the beach (well, we think it's great) at the New Jersey shore. And I need a swimsuit, or two.

I don't think anyone actually likes to go shopping for a swimsuit -- it's one of those things that even I fit right into the mainstream on...sort of. I mean, I've spent a lot of time and mental energy learning to accept my body for what it is, for what it can do, and yes, for what it looks like. In that regard, I'd venture to say I'm a little more evolved than the average 32-year old woman, only because there was a time in my life when I was in a very, very bad place with my body image. I kicked and screamed through some very productive therapy...and I've made a commitment to show my daughter a positive attitude toward my own body. I don't want her to ever be in the place I have been in, that place of such severe hatred and loathing and total disconnect from this body that houses my soul.

I should mention that it's entirely possible that I am ignorant and I really have a hideously proportioned body...but I just don't feel that way these days. I feel like I've done something miraculous, twice, in growing, birthing, and feeding two children with my body. I weigh less now than I have in a long time. Other than the occasional indulgence of homemade baked goods or "I ate too much" social gathering, my diet is quite healthy, and I enjoy regular moderate exercise. I fit pretty comfortably into a size 10. No one's ever yelled "tidal wave!" when I've jumped into a swimming pool, nor have I been on the receiving end of any harpoons. Not ever.

Anyway, it's pretty universal that bathing suit shopping, for women, is at best a chore and at worst, torture. I've taken it to a whole new level, though -- I flat out refuse to go to a store and try anything on. I pore over catalogs and internet sites, desperately seeking something that will cover what the world was not meant to see and allow me to enjoy myself at the beach. Because I really, really love the beach.

So, I've just spent over two hours (which could have been better spent elsewise) in this quest. It's not as if I have nothing to wear to the beach this summer, it's just that I really feel like it's time for something new. The last suits I bought were during my pregnancies. Lands' End makes really great mix and match tops and bottoms, so I could adequately cover up my size 16 breasts and pregnant belly without worrying that my size 10 rear end would drown in fabric too big for it. I have a terrific red faille tankini and a blue patterned one, both of which fit when I'm great with child or in my current non-pregnant-and-trying-to-be-fit stage. I also have an awesome black tank suit, made from some "miracle" fabric that promises to take 10 pounds off. The 10 pounds don't exactly go anywhere, but they are very well-contained in this suit.

Except for my breasts. These bad boys refuse to be contained by the suit that does right by the rest of my body. Well, some women might be comfortable covering their nipples and letting 68% of each breast swell out the top of the suit...but I'm not one of those women. I'm going to be chasing my toddler daughter into the surf. I'm going to be on all fours, crawling in the sand with my baby son. I can't risk a black eye from an errant bounce, or a "falling out" because I push gravity too far -- I need total containment.

Enter the D-cup suit, or, in some styles from Eddie Bauer, the DD-cup suit. I've never actually tried one of these, but it would make logical sense that one might do the job, satisfying my desire for a suit that fits my body. The investment is pretty steep, though. There are no bargains in the D-cup world, not for bras or swimsuits or anything else. And, there's the big question -- which size should I get? If the top is made for size DD breasts, does that mean I can get a size 10? The size charts don't account for the extra boob-room. And by the way, accodring to those charts, my bust wears a size 16, my waist is a 10, and I'm an 8 in the hips. Hello, my name is Diana, and I suffer from multiple body part disorder.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure it even matters. The one suit I think I could wear and love, with a fabulously high neckline and a great print, is on backorder, not available until 6 weeks after my beach trip.

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