Mmmm...I did something totally stupid the other night. What can I say? I blame that third glass of wine. It was late at night. I went slightly mad. I really don't know what I was thinking...I...mmmm...heh...
Bought a bikini.
I know, I know. It was completely stupid and impulsive. And optimistic. Maybe delusional.
After I told y'all about my hideous experience swimsuit shopping, a couple of you suggested I visit Lands End, where you can order a cute suit through the internet, and try it on in the privacy of your own home, where most of us do not have a dreaded three-way mirror. So I decided to check it out.
I must admit that I went there three times before I actually had the guts (mmm...enough wine) to make a purchase. After much hemming and hawing, I brazenly pushed to Purchase button for this...
Which seemed liked a kind of a compromise - a bikini top, but a more covering, retro/Bettie Page-like bottom. Cute, right? And ON SALE.
A few days later, the UPS man rang the bell, and handed me my little Lands End box. I started to panic. I ran into the bathroom with my box and locked the door behind me, starting to mildly hyperventilate. I put the box on the bathroom counter and stared at it. What the hell was I thinking?
I finally got up the courage, opened the box, and put the thing on. The top? Fits great and actually looks pretty good. The bottom? Ugh. First of all, all that "cute", "retro" ruching makes me look like I'm wearing a giant diaper. I kind of fiddled and arranged the ruching and decided that if I stood extremely straight and slightly to the side, sucked in my stomach and held my breath, I didn't look completely grotesque.
Did I look good? Absolutely not. I look okay from the boobs up and from the legs down. But the entire mid-section is a serious problem. I mean, I've been doing my jogging, so my legs are looking fairly toned, but my middle-aged, peri-menopausal midsection is a sad sight. It's basically pasty and fleshy and not in any way sexy. Again...what the hell was I thinking?
I stared at myself for a minute. Did I dare wear this in front of other human beings? I needed a second opinion.
Jude is sitting on Jimmy and Gretchen's bed, watching yet another episode of SpongeBob. Gretchen peeks only her head into the room.
Jude. Can you pause that a minute? I need your opinion.
(pausing the tv)
I, uh, mmmm, uh...bought a bikini.
I don't know.
But you're...you know...
Yes, I know. I'm an old Mama, not a hot young girl. Well Mister,
Mamas can wear bikinis too.
So...I need you to look at me in the bikini, and tell me if I look too bad.
Okay. Here I come.
She takes a deep breath and steps into the room, her stomach sucked in as much as possible. She poses with one foot in front of the other and her hand on her hip. Jude stares, dumbfounded.
(her voice choked because she's holding her stomach in)
What do you think? Am I too fat?
(stares for a beat more before realizing he's expected to answer)
Um...no. You're not fat. You just kind of...
(searching for the least offensive word)
Yeah. Your tummy. It's kind of...a little...squishy.
But the other parts look okay. You're not REALLY fat.
So...if I were to wear this bikini to the beach in front of other people,
would you be terribly embarrassed?
(considering the question carefully)
Gretchen nods, understanding that this is probably the best reaction she should expect, and leaves the room. Jude unpauses SpongeBob.
In the end, after some encouragement from my friend Melissa, I decided to go for it. How bad could it be? I could lie on my stomach for half the time, and flat on my back the other half, and maybe if I flipped over very quickly without bending my waste at all...okay that's silly. Would all of my Beach Friday friends point and jeer at me? That was doubtful. They might feel extremely embarrassed for me, but I doubted they would actually express that outwardly.
And I was correct. No jeering. Actually, nobody really paid much attention to my body at all. In fact, if I hadn't made such a big, silly deal about the whole thing, nobody would have said/done anything. Which I think should be a lesson to me. My insecurity is stupid because nobody cares what my big, squishy belly looks like but me.
The more troubling question is why would a 51-year old woman EVER feel the need to wear a bikini to the beach in the first place? Why did I suddenly, after a lifetime of modestly keeping my mid-section covered, decide I needed to bare it all? I don't really know. Is it some kind of bizarre mid-life crisis? Is the bikini my version of a middle-aged guy's convertible? Or is it just "Because it's there"?
But I must admit, it was very freeing. Kind of like skydiving. I jumped. I did it and I didn't die. At some point during the day, Melissa looked at me and said "You're very proud of yourself, aren't you?" And I guess I was, in a way. Not at all proud of the way I looked, but proud that I was able to put my vanity aside, and let it all hang out. Literally.
On the way home in the car, Jude suddenly said to me "You know, Mom, I never really even saw your tummy in your bikini. You were laying down all the time. So it wasn't really too embarrassing."
So there's that. Not really too embarrassing.
But I'm working on it. I have found this Dr. Oz's 7-Day Belly Workout. I'll let you know if it gets even less really too embarrassing. Please feel free to make fun of me in your comment.