Two steps to a bikini body?
Get a bikini and put it on your body
I love this. I have been quoting it for years.
And yet, I reached the age of 33 without ever buying a bikini.
‘Why not?’ says hubby.
It is a weekday night. Hubby is unexpectedly home for a few days; I have mentioned this to Naomi and we are going to theirs for dinner. Toddler (now 4) really, really loves clinging nervously to the side of swimming pools and I mentioned this to Naomi too, so we are all going swimming after school / nursery pick-up. It’s my half-day; pick-up’s in thirty minutes. We are in the clothing section of a cheap supermarket because I just remembered that I don’t have a swimming costume.
There are two main styles of cozzie in the shop. The one-pieces are floral, low-cut at the top, have ‘skirt’ details over the hips and, on closer inspection, don’t go down as low as my size.
The others are all bikinis. I don’t wear bikinis.
‘Why not?’ Says hubby.
I take a big inward breath and tell him why not. Bikinis come in two pieces, for a start. You know how frustrating it is looking for a matching pair of socks? You know how frustrating it is to find your swimming costume whenever you need to swim? Well, combine these two frustrations and there you have a bikini.
And then there’s the size: my chest changes size all the time, with the time of the month, my muscular coverage and general fatness. My bra collection ranges from tiny padded decorations to reinforced heavy-restraining apparatus, spread over two back sizes and at least four cup sizes, all of which I have worn within the last two years. So how useful – actually – would buying one single bikini be?
And you know the trauma of finding a bra to fit? How the assistant marches in and tries not to look curious about your insulin pump and measures you and says confidently ‘You’re a thirty-four C luv,’ before bringing one through that’s really ugly and doesn’t fit, then going off to get a D and coming back to find that that doesn’t fit and then going off to find a… *ahem*. And how bra-fitters portray enviable personalities – not only cheerful, but focused – so inevitably you get tired before they do and end up settling for something they think isn’t quite right? Well imagine all that, for a bra-like construction that people are actually going to see – imperfections and everything – on the outside. And we’re on our own with 25 minutes left? This is so not going to happen.
Furthermore, it’s only just Spring. I’m still embracing my winter grooming routine. I’ve got hair – well, in lots of places. And to be honest, there will probably still be hair there in August. Not to mention the cannula poc-marks all over my tummy, or the purple mark where one of them became an abcess a couple of weeks ago, or the very inoffensive rash that my doctor thinks might be still be something-or-other-rosea and nothing to worry about, provided that it disappears in the next fortnight or so…..
And anyway,’ I think of something else. ‘It’s a supermarket. No changing rooms.’
‘They’re over there’, says hubby dismissively. ‘Hey! We can look out for your colours!’
He passes me a little balcony number in several sizes. I mutter something feminist, and toddle off.
When I come back, I am spitting. ‘Look here! When you go swimming you need to do this,’ I lean forwards and reach in front of me with both arms. ‘THIS is simply not possible. What is the point of a bikini you can’t do THIS in. If you’re going to be sitting on the side looking gorgeous I heartily recommend it (and I did look gorgeous by the way). But if you want to navigate across a swimming pool lying down either way up and using your arms in any way at all…..‘
‘Not that one then,’ says hubby blandly. ‘Here?’
Twenty minutes later I am still at it. It’s a spookily quiet time in the shop; every time I manage to get a few bikinis back on their hangers and deposit them on the reject rail, the ones I placed there a few minutes ago have already gone. I have grunted to the assistant ‘This is the LAST TIME, I promise‘ at least four or five times now.
Suddenly she knocks on the cubicle door. ‘Are you the lady trying on bikinis? Your husband’s gone to pick the kids up. He says to give you this.’
Black. Yellow and pink flowers. B-C cup.
But suddenly I realise something. Have all the bikinis he’s handed to me been a completely different size to the ones Id been asking for? I remember one that might have been OK, a bikini or three ago, had it fitted……
‘Last time,’ I say to her, get dressed yet again and toddle back into the shop.
What sort of wally doesn’t double-check the sizes?
Anyway. I have a bikini. I’m not posting a picture of it here, because frankly you don’t need to know what it looks like.
What matters is that I found one I felt generally comfortable in. And that I could swim in, too (or at least, hang out at the edges in, with Toddler).
Putting it on isn’t the easiest. I’ve always been proud of the way I approach bras – none of this do-it-up-with-the-hooks-at-the-front-then-swizzle-it-round awkwardness for me. But I have to admit defeat with the bikini – at least while supervising two children in a family changing room (‘Toddler don’t drop your pants there you’ll need to put them on afterwards’ and ‘Tiddler! Toilets aren’t for splashing in!‘)
But let’s not detract. I found a bikini and put it on my body. I went swimming in it at a posh hotel and it wasn’t at all scary. Or remarkable. There wasn’t even much looking speculatively in the mirror.
I’m actually wondering what the real reason is that I didn’t do it years ago.