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Suit Yourself

Is it really that time of year again? Didn’t we just get over the shock of the last one? No, it’s not April 15. It’s worse - swimsuit buying time! My best friend, El, called me up and suggested we go swimsuit shopping together. “It’ll be fun!” Yeah, right.

El showed up and the first things out of her mouth were the dreaded words, “Can you tell how much weight I’ve lost?” She burbled happily on about how it’s the least she’s weighed since high school. I bit my tongue and smiled so hard I thought my face would crack, because, after all, she is my best friend. As she turned and headed down the walk, I made choking motions with my hands and felt slightly better.

I headed out after her, caught my reflection in the storm door, and prayed it was a distortion caused by flawed glass. I couldn’t really be wider than I am tall, could I?

At the department store we made a beeline for the swimsuit department and started flipping through the racks. I quickly found one that looked like it should fit. It was a nice one-piece with underwires and molded cups (those ‘shelf bra’ thingies moosh me all out of shape). And dark colors are always more flattering, right?

El looked over at me and, just as I was about to comment on my perfect find said, “What are you doing over there in the women’s department?”

Well, I wanted to remind her that I was, in fact, a woman, but instead checked the tag on the suit and realized it’s an 18XX. With a muffled screech I dropped it, but not before something caught my eye. I picked it back up and found a second tag promising I’d look two sizes smaller in it. Great, except it’s still too large – at least for now.

I wandered over to my friend, who already had two suits clutched in her hand, and immediately started looking for that second label but, of course, none of the suits in my size had it.

I gamely kept searching, trying to ignore the repeated squeals of pleasure from El as she found cute little nothings that were smaller than my washcloths. Finally, I spotted one of the newer-style two-pieces with a tank top and flirty skirt. Thinking the tank top would hide my midriff bulge and the flirty skirt would camouflage my Thighmaster-flunking thighs, I pulled it from the rack. Not wanting to give up with only one option, I eventually found a couple one-piece suits that have “slimming effects” (according to the tag). One was a pretty blue, with fool-the-eye black hourglass-shaped panels on the sides, the other a bold floral.

We retreated to the changing rooms, and as luck (bad) would have it, found adjacent rooms.

She gushed, “Now be sure to show me each one!”

“Uh huh, sure, and you do the same,” I muttered, smiling insincerely.

I tried on my favorite, the two-piece, not reassured when it took several minutes to stuff myself into the unyielding tank and skirt.

Right about then I really began to question the wisdom of department store decorators who provide the rooms with those “rear-view mirrors.” I mean, really, how many swimsuit sales do you think disappear about time the customer gets a load of that?

Once in the suit, I realized the tank top had this annoying habit of rolling up at the bottom. Instead of holding me in, it acted as a reverse girdle, pushing all my excess down so it spilt out at my waist. In addition, the flirty little skirt now resembled an open beach umbrella atop two thick white birch trunks.

About that time, my friend hollered over, “Oh, I just love this one. Step out and show me what you have.”

I snapped, “I got the wrong size,” and poked my head out the door, watching as she skipped out and pirouetted theatrically.

The suit was, as she said, really cute and fit like a glove. For some mysterious reason the fabric in her suit mashed her into a perfect size 6 clear down to her ankles! I hastily retreated.

The next suit, my real favorite, was the hourglass one. I wriggled into it, grunting as quietly as possible as I fished the straps up and arranged the cups, heaving a sigh of relief as I turned to the mirror.


The hourglass design suddenly resembled some sort of abstract painting by Van Gogh. Not what I had in mind. I ignored my friend’s questions, and shucked the hideous suit as quick as I could, bouncing off the walls when I tangled in the Spandex.

Then I tried on my really, really favorite suit. The one with the big cabbage roses that reminded me of Aunt Freida’s curtains. It went on with a minimum of fuss, the cups were located in the general vicinity they belonged in, and it appeared the rear would remained on my posterior even if I moved my leg slightly (although it’s doubtful that it will if I actually have to sit/stand/walk). I looked critically in the mirror and found that if I stood at a slight angle, one cheesy thigh overlapping the other and arms crossed over my stomach, I didn’t look half bad. SOLD!

After several minutes attempting to re-hang the rejects on the hangers, I gave up and threw them into the corner, dressed, and proudly took my choice to the cashier. My friend followed with three new suits because they all looked so good, she just couldn’t make up her mind!

I had a choice: smile and congratulate her…or go to the specialty chocolate shoppe and find some new best friends.

I’m the one in the corner surrounded by dark chocolate. Stop by and say “Hi”, but don’t mention swimming, summer, water, or Spandex or you might be wearing that fudge!

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