Well, it's official. Summer is upon us. The temperature has been in the 90s all week and I am eyeing the A/C at home with a dangerous disregard for my electric bill.
I hate summer. I know, I know, it's the time of year when you're supposed to have fun, go to the beach and generally enjoy yourself in the great Out-of-Doors. For me, it means the beginning of three to four months of misery, slinking from one air conditioned building to the next, not venturing outside until after dark and feeling like a beached whale 'cause my clothes are sticking to me. I hate being sweaty. I don't wear shorts. I will not try on a bathing suit. I won't, I won't, I won't! You can't make me!! (stamps foot) So there.
I currently own three of the cursed things. They reside in the back of my sock and undies drawer where they are mercifully ignored for most of the year. On the hottest day of the summer, when I am forced to take a dip in the apartment complex's pool, I pluck them from obscurity, toss them on the bedspread and glare at them. Their mere existence is an offense to me. The first is a black one-piece I have had for so long I don't remember when I bought it. The second suit is a tank-ini. It is green with "boy bottoms". There is also an alternate bikini top that I have never had the guts to wear outside. I tried it on once in the privacy of my bedroom and immediately fell into a deep depression. The last one is a festive, red tank-ini given to me by my friend Marisa. This is the least hated of the three because it fits nicely, is generally flattering and besides, I can always trust Marisa's sense of style. The girl has good taste.
I hate the pressure of having to look good in a f*%#ing swimsuit. Every year I am bombarded with pictures of tall, skinny, long-legged women in their string bikinis parading around Malibu and South Beach. Even if I had a figure like that, I wouldn't feel comfortable out in public with naught between me and nakedness but a bit of absorbent floss and luck. Yikes! I am a shortish, roundy girl with comparatively stumpy legs. These women make me feel like a toad in my frumpy old one piece.
Then there are the unavoidable talk show segments about how to choose the right swim suit for your body type (Does anyone sell a burlap sack suitable for full aqua submersion?). I am constantly amazed that this is of interest year after year after year. I can only assume that there are a lot of slow news days at the beginning of summer. Personally, I'd like to see a segment where the fashion experts come out and explain why the speedo is a bad idea for 99% percent of the male population. Now that would at least serve the public good.
Now Glamour Magazine has a solution. In addition to their fashion Dos and Donts (barf) you can now create a computer model in your likeness to try on swimsuits for you. I don't know if I am amused or disturbed. On one hand, these glossy mags are so stuffed with articles about how to loose weight, catch the man and properly apply mascara that they can scarcely be taken seriously. On the other, they are so prevalent, that it's almost impossible to escape their air-brushed images. My interest and possibly my hope was piqued, so I went to the site and made my model.
Here she is:
She's supposedly 5'4", 130-ish lbs (ah-hem) and generally my body type. You can choose your face, hair style, height, weight, approximate bust and waist size et al. I was disturbingly fascinated with seeing what I would look like at the same weight, but taller, or with 20 lbs less on my frame. Sad, huh?
Once you create your cyber self, you can have her try on different designer, brand-name swimsuits. As long as we're messing with your head, we might as well push our overpriced lycra scraps on you, right? It's fascinating and kind of creepy all at once. First of all, I think they need to let you customize your model a little bit more. I needed to add the belly pooch and slightly chubby upper arms to mine for a start. I would also have liked the option to see the suits that would properly display or conceal my tattoo. I have one on by back right butt cheek. Most of the time my swim suits just cut it in half and it looks stupid. I would also like to add tan lines, freckles, the occasional zit and unsightly skin discolorations. I mean come on, let's be accurate.
As long as I'm living in fantasyland, though, here is my model in some different styles:
Yeah, if I actually looked like that in real life, I wouldn't be afraid of trying on swimsuits in the first place now would I? I walk into the dressing room thinking I look something like that because I am safely contained in a cute pair of jeans and a long, streamlined top. Once I get into the evil bit of swim wear, though, and turn around to face the mirror, I feel more like this.
After all of that, I have decided that if I were to buy another swimsuit, it would probably be a newer version of the Red Tank-ini Marisa Special (perhaps with added tummy holding technology).
Of course, the real innovation here would not be that I would go out and buy one of Glamour Magazine's contributing advertiser's swimsuits, as much as I'm sure they would like me to. Nope, what I want is a life size version of that airbrushed looking faux me to send out to the beach in my stead. She can parade around in the new Calvin Klein bikini while I hunker down at the air conditioned, 65 degree movie theatre and watch car chases and see things blow up while imbibing pop-corn.
I may even bring a jacket!