The True, Traumatic Account Of A Woman Shopping For A Bikini

Dear Unnamed Bikini Store,

I just wanted to say thank you. Thanks a lot for a traumatic, hideous, painful experience that, to my utter misery, I have to go through on an annual basis.

I had a breakdown yesterday, thanks to you.

It was my second trip this week; I stupidly returned, despite my better judgment, after an equally disastrous visit the day before. I hardly know where to start, but I will try. In defense of women everywhere, I will bring you down.

First, your bikinis were obviously designed by one of two things: a masochist or a man. Probably the latter. A masochist wouldn’t be so stupid as to think that A) breasts naturally hover centimeters below the chin, with no involuntary jiggle or succumbing to gravity, and B) breasts are the exact same size. Breasts are are not the same size. No woman in the world has two breasts that are exactly the same size.

I begrudgingly accept that society has preconditioned you to think this way, but when you see photos of a perfectly proportioned Gisele Bundchen, remember she is either a walking Photoshop success story or an alien species. You had better start taking this into account, unnamed bikini store.

So tell me, why should I be forced to buy a bikini together -- two pieces the same size -- rather than separately, in mismatched sizes, as nature and my body’s fondness for converting french fries to cellulite on my thighs specifically intended?

I must give you some credit, though: You understand the value of choice. God forbid I have one, two or three bikinis from which to choose, resulting in a fairly simple process that wouldn’t force me to expound too much brainpower or leave me too traumatized.

But no, SO many colors and patterns and options exist. Does your inept staff know the differences and value of each choice, or is it all part of a plot meant to reduce me to tears so I buy whatever first grasps my attention?

Halter-tops, rouging, beads, ties, buckles – so many styles, so many torturous options designed to confuse and leave red welts on my body, so I can feel oh-so attractive as I emerge from the ocean.

My thoughts tumble wildly inside your hideous, cruelly unflattering, halogen-lit chain store. Why go on vacation at all? Who needs this? Is this amount of torturous preparation even worth the apparent joy and comfort my vacation will provide?

Why, after centuries of women being subjected and objectified, do I even care enough to worry at all about what I wear to cover the parts of my body that society says I must cover?

Unfortunately, I do care, even though you seemingly don’t. If you did, surely you would do something about the changing room situation. It’s full of overly friendly staff members who disappear the moment you actually need them — staff who want you to have a nice day, but who can’t be bothered to find you a different size.

Staff who, too, are probably so traumatized by their work environments full of women bemoaning and bewailing themselves so much that they’re just counting down to when their shift ends and they can leave the asylum -- aka changing rooms so tiny that taking off your coat becomes an ordeal.

And, let me tell you, anyone who hasn’t taken off coat and sweater and thermal underwear to reveal white, dimpled, hasn’t–seen-the-sun-or-a-razor-in-months skin, to put on two teeny pieces of fabric and to step outside to look in the mirror – and, God forbid, show a mom or friend – really will never know the meaning of torture.

As for going bikini shopping with a skinnier mother or friend, well, it’s your funeral. I leave you to your own peril. Women have to be self-protective to ensure that our levels of self-esteem don't plummet any more than today’s advertisements and magazines call for them to.

Perhaps the answer, you might say, is the one-piece -- an elegant option that covers far more skin than its cheeky sister.

Perhaps you are right, but then there are so many other things to consider: Will everyone know I’m doing this to avoid the bikini? Will it squish my fat or highlight it?

Is it possible to be sexy in a swimsuit? OH GOD, does this mean I’ll have to go back in there?

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It