Boob Straitjackets: The Process of Swimsuit Shopping

A straitjacket is a garment shaped like a jacket with overlong sleeves and is typically used to restrain a person who may otherwise cause harm to him/herself or others.
From all the movies I’ve seen, I know straitjackets are used for the straight crazy. Hannibal Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs”. Angelina Jolie in “Girl, Interrupted”. Or most recently, me in “Trying to Buy a Swimsuit That Won’t Make Me Cry”.
 Yes, we all have beach bodies. Everyone has a bikini bod- just put your body in a bikini and there you go. Although there is greater acceptance now more than ever to love the skin you’re in, it doesn’t mean that swimsuit shopping is somehow a better experience. In fact, I liken it to dental exams, getting waxed, or shopping at ROSS- excruciatingly painful. I’m also in the “unfortunate” situation where I live in a place where it’s bikini season all year-round. If you live up north, there may be a hot tub visit here or there during the cool months. Other than that, you have some time to get ready for those 2 or 3 months where butt string can be worn outside. Down here in Miami? I glare at a pool outside my bedroom window every morning, I’m less than 5 miles from the beach, and someone always has a boat to sail on or a BBQ pool party on the weekend. Again, please feel sorry for me…
 Despite all these water excursion opportunities, I still am the one wearing the thug cover up to every pool party. Waiting for all the people to leave my pool so I can lay out with no judgement that a loose hair is sprouting from my ankle. I’d also like to point out that I treat my swimsuits like I drive my cars- wearing them into the ground until they stop working. I had a Juicy Couture bikini for about 3 years- wore it until the strings refused to hold up Thelma & Louise any longer. Currently, I have a Calvin Klein suit that I have deemed very fancy, but I bought a larger size to support the aforementioned girls, so it falls off a lot. Needless to say, I’m always in the market for new swimwear. Then I think about having to actually go through the process of procuring one, and I want to slide right into one of those straitjackets.
There are several feelings that one experiences when purchasing a new swimsuit. Regardless of your size or self-esteem, women (and men) all around the world go through a rollercoaster of emotions when trying to squeeze their bits into neon spandex, which has about a 13% success rate from start to finish. I experienced all of these last week within a span of 30 minutes:
  1. Morbid Curiosity – I see all these ads on Facebook and Instagram of everyone wearing a swimsuit. All shapes!  All sizes! Every single suit fits huge boobs in them! And they don’t have swim skirts! I feel like I can actually do this, and wonder if I can hit up the local outlet mall to find the perfect ‘kini for myself.
  2. Gleeful Optimism – I visit several stores and see suits that are in my sizes ( I say “sizes” because my top and my bottom are NOT created equal). Bandeaus, triangle tops, one-piece cut-outs, and more. Colors other than brown and teal. Granted, the larger tops are 3 times the price as the smaller versions of these suits, but I read an article where it takes more “technological advances” to support larger racks, so I suppose I can’t get too upset. I should just be happy that my sizes are actually in the store, and I can try them on…
  3. Realistic Confrontation- Who puts these fluorescent lights in fitting rooms? Do they realize that we are taking our clothes off and having to come to terms with what’s underneath? And swimsuit shopping is much more intimate than trying on a pair of jeans. When you strip down to  show your nooks AND your all your crannies, the last thing you need is to have a spotlight on the mole you thought only came out in the summer months ( located in a place it has no business being). Shout out to H&M for having the best fitting room lighting: nice and soft, and doesn’t give you the appearance of Casper the Friendly Ghost with spots. No shout-out for pretty much every other store in the history of mankind- shame on you for having interrogation-room light beams flashing on my ass.
  4. Violent Rage- If you’re like me and have hormones, you can’t try on swimsuits for longer than…about 3 1/2 minutes. It turns into a tumultuous firestorm of ripping off little pieces of spandex and slamming them onto the floor, until you find yourself breathless in a JC Penney fitting room. You try to tie the first top together and then turn around to see your boobs by your belly button. So you rip that top off, and squeeze yourself into a bandeau that can only be described as a BAND-AID. If you’re like me and have to carry around two, small sacks of flour on a daily basis, these tops will NEVER work for you. Oh, you can put one on, but that won’t stop you from constantly feeling  like a can of Grands! biscuits that burst open, but haven’t completely been taken out the package. The outer layer of swimsuits displayed at Target are not for me. I have to dig deep into the inner layers for the suits with “extra support” and “now comes in cup sizes!” And another thing: If you’re ample bosomed, tops with letter sizes alone will not work for you. Tops with number sizes will fail you as well. You need a combination of both, similar to a bra. Sorry my friend, XL will make you scoff, 14 will make you cry- you’ll need a 36 DD to make it to the ocean.
  5. Exasperated Frustration – That gleeful optimism you had about 30 minutes ago? It’s gone, along with all your hopes and dreams of ever finding the perfect bathing suit. You’re tired, hot, and really want to get a cinnamon pretzel from the food court. You can’t believe you wasted gas driving over to this stupid mall, and should’ve known you weren’t going to find a swimsuit exactly to your liking. You wonder why people can’t just wear their underwear as swimsuits, and then ponder if you could start a line of industrial-strength spandex lingerie that doubles as swimwear. You drive home pissed off, wiping cinnamon crumbs off your boobs (that can’t fit into a bikini top).
  6. Reluctant Acceptance – This is usually where one acquiesces, or in my case, zero fucks are available for usage. You have no new swimsuit, and also do not give a shit. The old Calvin Klein with the huge straps doesn’t seem so bad anymore- we’ll play it off as vintage. Sure, you may fall out of your swimsuit every time you do a lap, but you have quick reflexes. You also decide to make do with you what you have, or in my case, wear a pair of shorts that are so tiny, that they might as well be a swimsuit bottom. Combine it with a mini skirt you bought at H&M, and BAM- you have a tube top- sort of. And you take your newly created shorts/skirt tankini down to the pool and enjoy the same sun and cool breeze- until you muster enough energy to torture yourself again at The Swimsuit Barn. I know that’s not a place, but it may be by the time I go swimsuit shopping again.

-KEEP IT A HOT MESS by following me on Instagram @hotmesslifeblog for more frequent shenanigans and embarrassment…

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