THE BATHING SUIT
"I have just been through the annual pilgrimage
of torture and humiliation
known as buying a bathing suit.
"When I was a child in the 1940s, the bathing
suit for a woman with a mature
figure was designed for a woman with a mature
figure: boned, trussed, and
reinforced, not so much sewn as engineered.
They were built to hold back and
uplift, and they did a darn good job.
"Today's stretch fabrics are designed for the
prepubescent girl with a figure chipped from marble. The mature woman has
a choice - she can either front up at the maternity department and try
on a floral suit with a skirt, coming away looking like a hippopotamus
escaped from Disney's Fantasia, or she can wander around every run-of-the-mill
department store trying to make a sensible choice from what amounts to
a designer range of FLEXIBLE rubber bands.
"What choice did I have? I wandered around,
made my sensible choice, and
entered the chamber of horrors known as "The
Fitting Room." The first thing
I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength
of the stretch material.
The Lycra used in bathing suits was developed,
I believe, by NASA to launch
small rockets from a slingshot, giving the
added bonus that if you manage to
actually lever yourself into one, you
are protected from shark attacks.
The reason for this is that any shark taking
a swipe at your passing midriff would immediately suffer whiplash. I fought
my way into the bathing suit, but as I twanged the shoulder strap into
place, I gasped in horror - my bosom had disappeared.
"Eventually I found one cowering under my left
armpit. It took a while to
find the other. At last I located it
flattened beside my seventh rib. The problem is that
modern bathing suits have no bra cups. The
mature woman is meant to wear her
bosom spread across the chest like a speed
"I realigned my speed bump and lurched toward
the mirror to take a full-view
assessment. The suit fit all right,
but unfortunately it only fit those
bits of me willing to stay inside it. The
rest of me oozed out rebelliously from
top, bottom and sides. I looked like a lump
of Play-Doh wearing cling wrap.
"As I tried to work out where all those extra
bits had come from, the
prepubescent salesgirl popped her head through
the curtains, "Oh, they are
sooo YOU!" she said, admiring the suits. I
replied that I wasn't so sure and
asked what else she had to show me.
"I tried on a cream crinkled one that made
me look like a lump of masking
tape, and a floral two-piece that gave the
appearance of an oversize napkin in a serviette ring.
"I struggled into a pair of leopard-skin bathers
with ragged frill and came
out looking like Tarzan's Jane on a
really, really bad day. I tried a black
number with a midriff and looked like a jellyfish
"I tried on a bright pink suit with such a
high-cut leg I thought I would
have to wax my eyebrows to wear it.
Finally I found a suit that fit. A two-piece affair, with shorts-like bottoms
and a halter top. It was cheap, comfortable and bulge-friendly, so I bought
"When I got home, I read the label, which said,
'Material may become
transparent in water,' but I'm determined
to wear it anyway. I just have to
learn to do the breaststroke in the sand..
<< I received this in E-mail, and loved
it. If anyone knows the author or source, I would greatly appreciate