To celebrate Mo Pie’s upcoming nuptials, and to hit the farmacia and bring back armfuls of prescription drugs to sell to underage children in order to pay for her upcoming nuptials, we are taking a cruise to Mexico. I know! How cool is that? It is so cool. We are sailing out from L.A., and down to some place in Mexico with farmacias, and then back up to L.A., and all the time we will be drinking things with umbrellas in them, lounging in the sun, and wearing bikinis.
Except for the part where there is no way I am stuffing any part of my body into a bikini. You’d think after all my talk of not caring about the squidgy parts of my body, embracing my arms and my thighs and my belly and all my beautifully imperfect imperfections that make me the special shining snowflake I am, that I would embrace this opportunity to seize the moment for body positivity, and prance around the ship half-naked and unashamed, except that there is no way on God’s green earth that I am going to appear anywhere in public in anything less than a parka.
There is something about bathing suits that send me into screaming fits of screaming insecurity. Look at me saying "something about" like I have no idea what it is, and no one else has ever experienced this before. There is so much tied up in the whole idea of being "swimsuit ready," and "bathing suit season," and those stupid yogurt ads that are all about being in bikinis after you’ve spent the entire first 10 years of your life cramming Dannon into your face and choking it down in an effort to not terrify the whole beach and send them screaming into the sweet embrace of the killer sharks in the ocean, because that is what your white and imperfect body will do, if you were to appear in a bathing suit without extensive preparations.
You’d think it would be easier, with a whole crowd of half-naked people surrounding you, everyone in the same situation–we’re all in this together! Except it’s so not easier. It is so infinitely worse, because you have thighs upon thighs upon thighs upon thighs to which you savagely compare your own thighs, your butt, your boobs, your entire life and your value as a human being. There is something wretched about pulling off your cover-up and stepping into the fray to be judged, because you’re going to be judged. Everyone is half-naked, and everyone is looking at everyone else, hoping to find someone who doesn’t look as good as them, half-naked, because it means you’re not the squishiest one in the joint.
Except fuck that. I am going to wear a bathing suit, and in my bathing suit I am going to bathe in the rays of the sun (wearing a very high SPF sunscreen) and in those drinks that come in coconuts and in my beautiful friendships with my beautiful friends who all have better thighs than me but I will not care because I will have just ordered a drink in a pineapple, just to mix things up a little bit, and things are all so very, very good. Group hugs! Squish my fat, and in that way we will bond! And I will feel self-conscious every time I take off my cover-up, and wonder if my friends and strangers and the Google satellite and God are all judging me, and then I’m going to get over it.
The problem now is that I need a bathing suit to wear. I am not fitting in the junior sizes that litter the surf shops where everything costs $1.50 and is only meant to survive one charming high-spirited game of water polo before being torn off that night by the amorous teenage boy with whom you are like, totally in love with, in the back of his mom’s Saab. And then, teenage pregnancy! Wasn’t that the plot of Beach Blanket Bingo? Anyway, the cheap bathing suits do not fit me, and the expensive bathing suits–well, they’re expensive. A lot, a lot. That is so much money for something that does not cover anything. $79 for a square foot of spandex! Do they think we are stupid? Oh, I am so stupid, because I am going to pay $79, and for something that will only fit me for a little while. I have even picked out the bathing suit, from the Esther Williams collection, no less, and its surprising loveliness is such that it may even overcome the horrors of bathing suitiness. Also, Esther Williams! How cool is that? My bathing suit is like, totally guaranteed to make me Technicoloriffic.
But the price has been putting it in my shopping cart, and taking it back out, and putting it in and taking it back out. Jen Wade says it’s because I have subconsciously hated Esther Williams ever since I tried out for my high school’s synchronized swimming team but was rejected and then surrounded by the team, who poked me in my fat and made me run out of the pool, crying. I think maybe it has a little more to do with my checking account, but that is also a good theory. It ties everything back neatly to the Everyone Hates Bathing Suits theory, and also explains why the smell of chlorine sends me into a murderous, choking rage.
Either way, I’m going to have to stop dropping this suit into my shopping cart and abandoning it, and soon. The cruise is coming up, and I will need something to wear to practice being a beautiful snowflake who embraces her imperfections but more importantly, in which to sip drinks skewered with dangerously delicious fruit kabobs. The drinks, I figure, will help with the insecurity.