Last weekend, I found myself bathing suit shopping at the mall.
Let me rephrase that:
Last weekend at the mall, I decided I’ll just keep wearing the same bathing suits I’ve worn for the past nine years.
So basically, it didn’t go well.
If y’all don’t mind, I just need to vent about this disaster of a process. I’m normally a glass-half-full kind of person. Optimistic. Hopeful. But there is just no room in my glass right now for positivity. If anything, my glass is half full of tears from entering the ninth circle of hell, also known as Belk’s swim department dressing room.
I know I’m not alone because I found this on the internet, and the internet doesn’t lie.
Let’s start here: the styles.
Somehow, in my advanced market research, I’ve discovered that stores either sell suits geared toward the women taking the Assisted Living Van over to the mall.. or they sell swim suits that are so itty bitty that they must have been cobbled together for garden fairies. ATTENTION AMERICA: Last time I checked, there is no YMCA for garden fairies and the senior center’s therapy pool is booked through 2021. They don’t need new swim suits. I DO.
Obviously I’m mistaken, but I thought that we were all on the same page here, that bathing suits should not be responsible for unsightly tan lines. Bathing suits with all these criss-cross strings across the top… They will be entirely responsible for creating a labyrinth of sunburn across bridesmaids’ chests everywhere and ruining wedding pictures. I’m calling it now!!!!! Not to mention, at the mall, I saw several swim suits that sit off-the-shoulder, which would mean I’d sacrificially accept white rings around my upper arms to be able to have evenly tanned shoulders. You guys, have we thought this thing through? Is vanity completely dead? Do we need a think tank to generate some fresh ideas?
I wouldn’t say I’m a high maintenance person, but if we’re being honest, I wouldn’t want to go bathing suit shopping with me.
-I need a suit that has enough fabric but not so much fabric that it creates a swim skirt.
-I need something that would pass all variations of The Toddler Test- able to hold up against the energetic two year old crawling up my torso in the pool or the hangry, thrashing toddler who’s being carried like a gym bag off the beach.
-I do not need a suit that is accompanied by a set of instructions. If I need to read a piece of paper to understand where these pieces connect and make sense of the cut-outs, then I can already tell you that I’d rather swim in my street clothes.
-Due to the already sensitive nature of the shopping trip, I require zero models to be on the swimsuit tag. (If models MUST be on the tag to display the swimwear, I request that they look like the rest of us commoners with a messy bun and chipped nail polish and a Cookout milkshake in one hand)
Here’s the thing though: you finally survive the dressing room angst and find a suit that fits, that you also happen to like, but when you check the price tag, you just about lose your religion. This was me at the mall, you guys. I was moments away from going nuclear when I realized the bathing suit TOP that I liked was $88. I’m sorry, WHAT?? Paging Trina Turk: I’m gonna need you to knock off some dollar signs so I can look cute at the beach!
Long story short, I bought it.
Whatever. In related news, we’ll be having a lemonade stand at our house this weekend. All proceeds will go toward offsetting the cost of my diamond-lined swim top.
On my way home from the mall, I let my husband know that I was headed back and my emotional status was Code Red. The whole saga spilled out when I got home: the bathing suits all look weird… it costs $150 to cover 30-40% of my body… my one-year-old has way better bathing suit choices than I do… I’m gonna get bizarre tan lines, is nothing sacred anymore… shouldn’t I be allowed to borrow a bathing suit and sprint after a toddling Puddle Jumper before I spend that kind of money… I’m not crying, you’re crying… fine, I’ll just eat kale sandwiches until the end of time… I’m never going shopping for swimsuits again… OUR PETS HEADS ARE FALLING OFF
So, we return to our original question. Would you rather: walk barefoot in a gas station bathroom.. or go bathing suit shopping?
We’re not talking like a well-lit Sheetz that’s cleaned every hour on the hour.. we’re talking like backwoods rusty old toilets and fetid standing water and gotta-get-the-key-to-unlock-the-door type of bathroom (obviously with one of those gigantic wooden blocks hanging off the key).
After serious consideration, I’ve decided I would rather walk barefoot in a gas station bathroom than ever go bathing suit shopping again. While quality medical care and a hearty dose of antibiotics can attend to any diseases acquired from that nasty gas station bathroom, ain’t no amount of therapy can undo the emotional trauma and drama associated with bathing suit shopping.
CAN I GET A WITNESS?