Look, I realize that bathing suit shopping is torture for almost everyone. But when you have triple D's and an ass you can rest drinks on, it becomes a bit more problematic. Personally, I'd like to go back to old-timey bathing costumes. Who doesn't look good in dark blue serge? Add in a cute little ruffled hat and I'd be all set. Sadly, they don't make them anymore. Trust me, I've checked.
What they do make for ladies who lunched on sugar and carbs are bathing suits of such a hideous nature that they could only have been designed by the blind. When you are roughly the size and shape of a couch, surely you don't need to wear clothing that looks like upholstery? I live in Jersey, the land of leopard print, but does it have to be on everything? There is also a ratio of cup size to sparkles that I have yet to understand. So far, it seems like the bigger the boob, the bigger the bling. This means that if I were to buy a bedazzled suit, I'd probably cause temporary blindness if looked at in direct sunlight.
I found all this out during my recent foray bathing suit shopping. While many people recommended Land's End (and their generous free shipping policy), they only makes "soft cup" suits. I need underwire and rigging and possibly even miniature cranes. Land's End is out. Instead, I hit the mall. I wandered through store after store fingering triangles of fabric that would barely cover my areola. I found bottoms that were so small, they should have been sold as dental floss. Finally, broken and dispirited, I wandered into the plus-sized clothing store. Why had I avoided it for so long when I am obviously their target demographic? Two reasons: they have pretend sizing and they appear to charge by the (cheap) yard. If I am going to pay a thigh and wing for an outfit, I at least want to recognize the material. But, when it came to bathing suits, this store was actually fairly restrained. Not only did some come in basic black, but they had built-in bras. While it may have been a win, buying those awful things still felt like a loss. I came home pissed off, depressed, and just plain mean.
This is when Jennifer Weiner stepped in and saved the day and reminded me of one very simple phrase I tell my daughter all the time, which is, "It is better to be smart than pretty."
That night, while I was sitting on the couch brooding, hating myself and my body, I decided to check Twitter. (I have an account mostly so I can follow people.) There, my beloved Weiner was holding a contest to see who could post a picture that included her books but referenced The Bachelorette. I quickly set up a tableau wherein my entire collection of Weiner novels were surrounding a mini-guillotine/bagel slicer where a copy of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections was placed, ready for death. I titled this piece, "What happens after the rose ceremony." Within minutes, I had a direct message from the author, telling me that she loved my joke and was sending me a free galley copy of her yet-to-be published new novel.
This happy moment, when I won a free book from a great author based entirely on my sense of humor (and knowledge of her cantankerous history with Franzen) pulled me out of my black mood and taught me a very valuable lesson. Over Twitter, she couldn't tell that I was fat. She could only tell that I was funny. Judging by beauty alone, I may have become the person you refer to as, "she has a great personality" or "she makes me laugh" but really, is that such a bad thing? I have told my daughter that it is better to be smart than pretty so many times she can recite it on cue. Well, not to too my own intellectual horn (because based on my SAT scores, I'm not even half as bright as my husband) I am at least smart enough to be funny.
I'll take that as a win.
* Joke lifted directly from my eldest sister-in-law.