Tuesday, May 26, 2009

On Buying A Swimsuit. Seriously?

This is my favorite Hallmark Card. The name on the corner is Revilo. My sis-in-law Lory gave me this a couple of years ago and I laughed and laughed. The inside reads:

I think the ruffle really makes a difference, don't you?

Last Friday was D-Day - Time to buy a swimsuit. Please don’t be offended by the military analogy. No, I didn’t storm Normandy. And no I didn’t risk my life. But I still felt I was marching into war.

Me versus the entire clothing industry.

I posted a blurb on Facebook about the upcoming battle and was encouraged by many fellow swimsuit buyers who empathized. Off I went, armed with the well wishes of fellow fashion soldiers.

At least I knew the perfect store. Sure that particular mall was a bit of a drive, but it would be worth it. That store would have the perfect suit for me, just my size and style. Easy in. Easy out.

I arrived at mall. Went in, down corridor, up escalator. There it was. Or where it used to be.

Closed. Shut down. Gone.

NO! You’re kidding me? Seriously?

Okay, Lord, what next?

Next door was a “skinny store.” I am not a small woman and rarely go into skinny stores unless I see they are having a sale on socks or accessories. But this skinny store boasted a sign saying that they had my size in swimsuits. The sign included the tag line – “It’s an attitude, not a size.”

Well, okay! Now we were talking. I walked in and looked everywhere. Couldn’t find size anywhere. I asked salesperson. She looked at me with attitude, but not the nice kind. Then she sighed and walked me to the back of the store, far corner. Apparently my size was the equivalent of back of the bus fashion.

I took the bullet. This was war, right? But it was only a flesh wound. I looked at the one rack of 6 suits that this particular store had to sell. All 6 of the swimsuits were 2 piece suits. The top was a shirt, not a bikini but relatively short.

Really? Seriously? Did anyone want to see me or any woman my size in a 2 piece? Seriously? Well, I’d driven across Denver to this mall so I might as well try one on. Into the dressing room I went. Turned out that my size at a skinny store is well…skinny. The tag that said my size was obviously tampered with. It’s an attitude not a size? Only if the attitude is down right lying. By the time I left this establishment I felt exhausted and slightly bleeding from my flesh wound.

War is hell.

Down the corridor was a big woman store. I knew they’d have something for me, but I was also sure it would cost the same price as a new dish washer. But by this time, I was desperate.

I walked in and looked around. Couldn’t find the swimsuits, even in the back far corner. I asked salesperson. They didn’t sell them.

You’re kidding me? Seriously?

Lord, I know You’re with me. But seriously?

“Have you tried Wal Mart?” the salesperson asked.

I thanked her and left. Wal Mart? Either they would NOT have my size or they would and it would look like a potato sack with huge neon flowers on the front. No way.

But I had to go to Wal Mart anyway. Might as well take a peek.

The first ones I found in my size were one pieces with V neck lines that went down to the belly. Seriously? I mean really? I don’t get why big women (or any women for that matter) would want to wear a swimsuit showing off your chest all the way to the belly button. Come on! Isn’t the point of a swimsuit, I don’t know, maybe, SWIMMING? Does anyone really want to see that? Seriously? I’m not putting myself or anyone else down. I’m just stating the facts. Seriously!

I let out a discouraged sigh and glanced at the bikinis, yes, bikinis, in my size. Laughter bubbled up and came out. You’ve got to be kidding me!!!! Seriously?

And then I saw them. One piece suits in my size without V-necks. Little skirts or
ruffles at the bottom. Love those. :0)

Bingo. I tried on three and chose one. In the dressing room I broke out into Pentecostal worship and got saved again.

Exhausted, bloodied by war and scarred by the many mirror snapshots providing a slide show in my mind, I bought my suit and went to the car.

I glanced at my cell phone and noticed someone had left a message.

“Robbie this is Kay. Listen to me! You are beautiful! You are a beautiful woman! Do not listen to anyone or any nasty thoughts in the dressing rooms. You are beautiful and you are loved!”

I sat in my car and smiled and laughed. What a good friend. Nothing like a loved one’s words encouraging me and welcoming me back from war.



denise said...

War on, sister. I gave up buying a swimsuit years ago. You are brave. You are Zena the Warrior Princess.

And yes, Kay is a good friend. She spoke truth. You are beautiful and you are loved.

Rebeca said...

You are beautiful my sister! If you get a chance, pick up the latest issue of Figure. I love it!

I've known many thin women who may look a certain way by the pool but could freeze water with their hearts. You my dear, jump in and share the love and that is your gift to all of us :).

Need More Words said...

Okay Robbie you are giving me encouragement. I am not shopping for a swimsuit but a dress, a simple summer dress for a wedding in a few weeks, glad I have time. My war is finding a store with petite dresses that won't cost me a fortune. Granted I have only been to one store so far but my blood pressure about went through the roof. I went into my Sears store because they used to carry a decent selection of petite clothes. They did not have one dress or even a skirt and their selection of petite clothes was down to about eight racks. UGH!!!! I am not a clothes shopper because it is never a pleasant experience, going from store to store to find something that fits and looks appropriate for my age, not too young and not "old lady" looking, know what I mean?
I will be strong like you and have my d-day, dress day that is!!!!

Jan Parrish said...

Okay, that was just beautiful. There are tears in my eyes. Like apples of Gold is a word fitly spoken. Yes, Kay was an angel that day.

I don't think there is a woman alive who loves to buy a swim suit. There is always something wrong with them. You know? It's not us, it's the suits. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Cheryl Barker said...

Robbie, I loved this post. Seriously :)

Momstheword said...

You go, girl. Does that mean the same thing as "war on, sister". Loved your post. I used to love to swim but they won't let me into the pool fully clothed.

tonya said...

Robbie, I feel your pain! I go to Swim & Things to get my suit. They are off of Evans and I-25. They have a plus size section and their suits are made for swimming and durability. The staff is wonderful!

When I was healthy, I swam three times a week for exercise, for it didn't hurt my joints like other exercise.

I applaud you for your courage!
Beautiful post that touches the soul of every woman!

D. Gudger said...

Robbie, this is one of the funniest things about swimsuits I've ever read. it's like a SNL skit minus Will Ferrell (he's nasty).

I wish I could shop for a suit at Wal-Mart. All those suits fall short of the "girls". I'm long in the torso and need to go to a "special" shop where they carry only one suit in my size in a lovely shade of ugly.

Not as bad as Diane, but I go about 6 years w/ a suit.