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Summer comes at the wrong time of year for bathing suit shopping! After spending the better part of five months holed up inside sheltered from winter’s wet and cold, I wear the resultant pallor on my face and body. It is with this less than glowing “look” that I enter the dreaded changing room to try on swimwear as I prepare for the warmth of summer. I can’t say I am enamored of the experience.
Changing room lighting is the most unflattering lighting ever. It accentuates all my very visible flaws and makes me look sallow, sickly and old. And it really doesn’t matter what store it is – high or low end – they’re all the same. Then there are the mirrors. They all seem to have been acquired in a fire sale from a local funhouse. This deadly changing room combination of lighting and mirrors coalesce to make me look fatter, more withered, uglier, more wrinkled and droopier than the reflection I have of myself at home. Am I just kidding myself? Have I been in illusion all winter long?
I should have lived in the early 1900’s when women wore “bathing costumes” to the beach. These covered everything from neck to calves. Okay, maybe they were a bit cumbersome in the water and a bit hot to wear, but they did provide protection from the critical eyes of others.
No such luck with today’s bathing suits. At my age, they are all way too skimpy for me to be seen wearing out in public. Although I can accept my body’s aging when alone or in the company of my loved ones, I am not so accepting when baring myself in a bathing suit where others can see me. My vanity and pride get the better of me and I become very self-conscious about my aging, non-elastic skin. My wise self tells me that there’s not much I can do about it and that I need to take deep breaths to accept the physical signs of aging. However, no matter how much I try, some breaths are just shallower then others.
My solution for my bathing suit angst is to stay covered up on the beach or in the shade. When I do venture into the water to cool off or swim, you can be sure that I do it with speed and alacrity, all the while wishing for those bathing costumes of long ago.
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