While preparing for a church outing last year to the local islands, it dawned on me that maybe I should rethink my swimwear choices.
I’ve always been comfortable in my own skin and I prefer to be on a beach with as little clothing as possible. My bikini was from O’Neil – a surf clothing line – because it stayed put in the waves and wore like iron. It was street legal on the family-friendly beaches of New Hanover County, but it didn’t leave much to the imagination. My top barely cleared my areola and my cheeky bottoms showed more skin than it covered.
I suddenly became self-conscious about what I was wearing, which hadn’t happened to me since middle school. I ended up wearing a surfing bikini top and men’s boardshorts, my ace in the hole for modesty. The boardshorts cover my belly button to just passed my knees and are super baggy. You can’t see any of my ink and my awesome waist to hip ratio is obliterated (my hips are thirteen inches bigger than my waist measurements). I looked like a box.
That’s how I’m suppose to look, right?
A pastor’s daughter who aspires to be a philosophy major commented on my attire. “Boardshorts, huh?” she said, wearing a cute bikini herself.
“Eh, my normal swimsuit isn’t that modest, thought this would be better.”
She rolled her eyes. “It doesn’t matter. I assure you my dad doesn’t care what you wear.”
Well, that was encouraging.
One of the ladies of the congregation in her mid-50’s showed up in a string bikini. She was a grandmother and rocked it, despite not having a “perfect 10” body. I want to be like her when I grow up.
While still active but not exactly declining modeling contracts at 38, I decided that maybe this year I should dress my age. I found a swimsuit on sale and thought this was the answer. Hello 38, I have arrived.
My new suit is a corsetted surfing bikini that covers, which means my 32B chest is safe and I don’t have to worry about getting arrested after a big wave. The bottoms have actual material that cover the entirety of my butt and then some. There are four inches of material on the sides. Four inches. It’s like granny panties.
They fit perfect in the fitting room, leaving everything possible to the imagination. Fast forward to my road test of the new suit at the beach: I checked myself in the mirror before I left to get a better idea of this new swimming costume.
Well, if it was modesty I was going for, I sure got it.
The bottoms, although they covered all things, cut into the nice layer of fat I have on top of my hips. Yes, I like my ice cream. Yes, I like my rum. Yes, this is a byproduct of that, I’m sure. In the back, it covered everything so the only thing visible was the giant cellulite patches at the top of my thighs. Did I mention spider veins?
I’m not bringing sexy back. Hot girl summer part deux? Not here. For the first time in my adult life, I felt out of place at the beach. The real test of a bathing suit is body surfing in the waves, and it passed with flying colors. So I got that going for me.
Here’s to visiting the beaches of southern France the next chance I get. That’s more my speed. But until then, I’ll be adjusting to this new normal.