(See Swimsuit Season: Part One posted on 2/15/17. Reprinted from The Beach Reporter.)
I was forced to face harsh reality the other day. It happened recently during a week of sunny weather. Beach weather. Saunter by the swimming pool sucking your stomach in weather.
That’s where my kids wanted to go in the hot weather: the swimming pool. We had already planned ahead and bought our swimsuits a few weeks ago, on a whim, hoping that summer might come soon.
So I had already gone through my annual ritual of cursing the swimsuit designers, who are all size 3 and under 25 years-old, and also the sadistic people who make those warped department store mirrors.
I’d also blocked out the nightmare memory of trying on bathing suits in the 3 x 4 foot cubicle at Mervyn’s with a four year-old and a five year-old. If someone ever writes Mommie Dearest: Part Two, I could provide at least a chapter. All I remember of that particular nightmare was that I paid $96.00 for not enough fabric to wash the car.
Which brings me back to that gloriously sunny day. As I was tugging on my swimsuit, I flashed on the realization that people really ought to have two sets of bodies – a winter body, and a summer body. Because when you have to make the transition, it’s not a pretty sight.
My winter body resembles something that I celebrated, stuffed, roasted, and pigged out on last November. Pasty skin, jiggly thighs, and it looks like I need to take up walking right away. Around the world. My summer body is lean and mean and tan. I know that tan is passe and harmful, so I do use SPF #165 now. I’m trying to make up for my twenties, when I sat at the beach for eight hours a day lathered in baby oil, surrounded by aluminum foil reflectors.
My summer body thrives on ice tea and fruit and veggies. I run more, and play tennis. Besides, there are no major holidays between May and October that revolve around chocolate.
So, there I am at the pool with those same two adorable children. I am wearing a swimsuit that is supposed to have a “memory” and is designed to hold in any “problem areas.” Except that the problem areas don’t really go away; they just redistribute themselves to different areas, so that now my upper arms and thighs resemble plump sausages.
My goal is to lie on my lounge with my anti-aging, revitalizing sunscreen, my sunglasses that deflect all harmful rays, my enormous sun hat, and my People magazine, and not move for two hours. Unfortunately, the longest stretch of time I am able to sit is four minutes. The rest of the time I am taking kids to the bathroom, buying Popsicles, doing my world-famous somersault trick in the water, taking kids to the bathroom again, buying chips and soda, and kissing a stubbed toe.
After three days at the pool I did begin to feel like I was getting a good start on my summer body. I finally finished my People magazine, which I realized was from last year. And I made a vow to enjoy as many sunny days as I could.