I finally managed to go swimsuit shopping. I am quite happy to consider the possibility that I will not have to do this again for at least two years. This is, of course, if I'm lucky, but let's be optimistic for a minute.
As almost any woman who has given birth knows, swimsuit shopping sucks. There is nothing flattering about the idea of pouring your gut into a piece of colored, decorated, surgically enhanced Spandex, especially if the word cellulite is part of your anatomic vocabulary.
My first order of business was to decide where to shop. This is a delicate task best suited to a state of mind not influenced by PMS. Certain factors must be taken into account: The store must not be too busy or too empty; the selection must be available in a variety of sizes; and dressing rooms must be available, preferably near the swimsuit section and with no attendant. Taking into account all of these factors, I decided to ignore my own rules and headed for the neighborhood Target, a busy place geared to teens and young 20-somethings with no hint of stretch marks. It's also equipped with fitting rooms set clear at the back of the store and staffed by an apathetic female attendant.
Oh, and did I mention the swimsuit section is stuck smack dab in the front of the store so your attempts to hide are completely wasted?
It took up a minute or two to work up the cojones to cross the aisle and take the plunge.
I honestly tried to look confident as I stepped into the swimwear section, but the confidence quickly faded when I realized that most of the available options were A) strapless (wardrobe malfunction, anyone??) or B) tiny (BWAHAHAHAHAHA) or C) both.
I hunted and poked and browsed - my thoughts occasionally punctuated by commentary from the tiny little childless entity who had brought her husband with her ("I've narrowed it down to these five, dear... which ones do you like the best?") - and attempted to avoid eye contact with anyone just long enough to find two viable, wearable, dark-colored options.
Then I girded up my loins and made the dash across the rest of the women's clothing section to the dressing room. Once I enclosed myself in the overheated cubicle with more mirrors than any person ever needs and horrible, horrible lighting, I realized that I didn't have the one other thing that is an absolute necessity for swimsuit shopping - a second opinion.
Soooo I did the next best thing. I put on Swimwear Option #1, pulled my phone out of my purse, flipped it to silent, and snapped a photo of myself in the mirror. Then I texted it to my husband. "Whaddaya think?" I asked. While I waited, I tried on Option #2, which was a definite fail. Oz texted back a flippant remark which caused me to remind him that I was on the front lines of a battlefield and that I needed useful remarks, not social commentary. To which he responded, "I like it :)" followed a minute later by "Should I ask your fashion consultant?"
Since I was in the midst of changing back into my street clothes and deciding that Option #1 was probably a go (especially since I didn't feel like going to a second store if I could help it and Option #1 was on clearance), I didn't respond right away. I can only assume that this silence was taken as tacit assent to his query, because as I was pulling my shirt over my head, my phone began to buzz. On the other end of the line was my 'fashion consultant,' aka M2.
"That picture on Daddy's phone? Is that you, Mommy?"
"Yes, Darling," I answered quietly, trying not to give away the contents of my dressing room while staying polite to my daughter.
"I think you should buy that, Mommy. It looks good."
The firm opinion of a little blonde 6-year-old is good enough for any mom. I bought the swimsuit. I showed it to Oz after I got home, and he gazed at it with interest.
"Huh," he said. "It's brown. I thought it was dark blue."
I hate department store lighting. And while I love and appreciate Oz's opinions, next time I have to battle the swimsuit section, I'm taking someone of flesh, blood, and my own gender. There's only so much psychological damage one mom can handle.