I have recently discovered that there is something worse than swimsuit shopping. It is swimsuit shopping in the winter.
I'm swimsuit shopping in the winter out of necessity, since we have a trip coming up in February and it has dawned on me that I don't love any of the suits in my drawer.
So on Saturday, when Scott and I found ourselves at Target picking up a few groceries, I for some reason thought it would be possible to just "try on a few swimsuits real quick."
The first option fit great - classic black one-piece, no-brainer for a family trip. The second had the general chest coverage of a wrestling singlet (is side boob what kids are into these days?) and the third almost fit, was super cute, and on clearance. This third suit was the trifecta of woe.
"Oh good, you found some options!" Scott said encouragingly, as I emerged from the fitting rooms holding suits one and three. "So which are you going to get?"
"Well," I sputtered, "it's not that simple."
I gave him a teenager-y look of duh. "Of course it's not!"
I tried to explain the woe of swimsuits, how bikinis sometimes show too much, tankinis are so convenient but so frumpy, one-pieces can make you look five years old and present bathroom challenges.
"Okay," he said, nodding, "Totally makes sense. At some point we should get this ground beef in the fridge."
"I know!! Okay, I know, but it's not as easy as just deciding which I like - this suit is on clearance."
I tried to explain how you can't overlook a suit that's on clearance, because you can't just come back and buy it later, and they don't have any more online, and if I don't get it now I'll never get it!
"Well just get both and I can help you decide at home?"
I bought both. We got in the car to drive home.
"I'm just trying to understand so maybe I can help," Scott said, reaching over to hold my hand. "Swimsuits always seem so stressful for you."
"Because they are stressful!" I protested. I wanted so badly for him to understand, and could see he so sincerely wanted to help ease this stress. But how to explain it? How could he ever understand?
How can one understand if one has not been subjected to wearing a leotard to the beach? Or to the water park, or to pool parties, or co-ed lake trips, or hot tub dates? How to convey the stress of wondering, does this particular leotard showcase my strengths? Does it hide my flaws? Does it support my boobs? Will it fall to my ankles if tumbled in waves? How much waxing will it require? How much of my salary?
"Maybe we should figure out what you need and how these fit in," he said. "How many swimsuits do you think you need?"
(An answer I deeply regretted, when once at home we found that I own eight.)
I own eight swimsuits. I don't love any of them.
This happens when your swimsuit buying pattern is: avoid avoid avoid, shop a bit, feel outraged at the expense of so little fabric, buy one you sort of like because it's on clearance, only to find out you can't return it.
(Did I mention? I'm not sure whether I can return the clearance suit. The guy at the cash register said I could, but he seemed new.)
Together, Scott and I sorted my suits into categories, based on coverage vs. cuteness vs. convenience. (plus a one-off category for this one suit I've had since high school that is not cute anymore, but I just know I'll be happy to wear when I'm pregnant).
Gradually I came to accept that I have a swimsuit shopping problem. It is the strange bi-product of body insecurity and cheapness. It is unhealthy and needs to be addressed.
Because I already know I will try to return the clearance suit.
I know I'll have woe next time I swimsuit shop.
I know he can't understand.