• Wed, Jul 21 2010

Memoir: I Refuse To Wear Swimsuits

I hate swimsuits. I haven’t worn one in years. I probably won’t wear one any time in the near or distant future. (Fittingly, I am writing this from Rio, where the bikini is no less than standard-issue uniform.)

Truth be told, I’m a sweater girl. I dress like it’s fall all year round. I prefer jeans to shorts, even if it’s nearing the melting point. I’ll pair neon sandals with a faux fur coat because it’s May and it’s kinnnnnd of cool out and that coat simply must be worn. Maybe the love of fur in May and the love of swimsuits are mutually exclusive.

Regardless, I have to believe other women — even if they wear them more frequently than I do (that is, more than once every seven years) — hate swimsuits too. We all have our own reasons. I have several.

(Side note: In the Midwest, I grew up calling swimsuits “bathing suits” and sneakers “tennis shoes.” This now seems whimsically Victorian.)

First, I must provide full disclosure. I’m small. I’m a foodie who hates working out, but I’ve never struggled with my weight. I’m lucky, I know that. But, no matter what size you are, who seriously likes to be (almost) naked in broad daylight in front of, well, anyone?

Even one-pieces seem all, “hey, here are my lady bits” in a way that is wholly foreign on any other given day. But everyone acts like this is normal in the presence of a body of water! This is a weird concept! Do you normally hang out with your family, friends or random strangers in your underwear? No, no you don’t – at least not in public. If you did, you would get arrested.

Oh, but CELLULITE. Unless you were blessed with some crazy miracle genes, you have cellulite. Cellulite does not discriminate. I am the size of a middle schooler (5-foot tall, weight in the double digits) and am 22 years old. I have had cellulite since I was an actual middle schooler. This is real talk.

(That being said, I’m all for the cellulite flaunting! Own that cellulite, celebrate that cellulite. I have not yet reached that point, but am open to suggestions as to how I too can love my ‘lite.)

OK, OK. Enough about the naked weirdness and the cellulite vanity. Swimsuits serve a function. Like, for example, if one wants to swim or sunbathe. This I get. But it’s not my thing. Laying out makes me hot and bothered (in a bad way!). Maybe my tolerance is way subpar, but I cannot lay out for more than five minutes without feeling like I’m getting totally baked (in a bad way!). This then leads me to think about THE CANCER. And the wrinkles. And the sun spots. And I think about all of this in graphic and morbid detail because it’s hard to find a good reading position, and my iPod isn’t enough to distract me from the heat and the cancer and my leather-skinned future.

Plus, you can’t pair fur with a bikini. Because that would be truly ridiculous.

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