Bear’s turning out to be a pretty fun chick. Funny, smart, silly…opinionated and not the least bit afraid to say what she thinks. Hanging out with her is a good time. Can she be a little hormonal at times? Sure. But then again, so can I.Which is how the two of us have managed to survive not just jeans shopping but the pursuit of the ultimate retail unicorn: swimsuits.
I’m gonna take a moment here to point out just how great my male readers have it in this particular area. Heading to the pool? Pull on a pair of baggy shorts with a t-shirt and you’re good to go. (Unless you’re from a more European area, then just swap out speedo for baggy shorts and voilà – beach ready in five minutes or less.) It seems the toughest decisions men face have to do with patterns and pockets.
Admittedly, women push for variety in most aspects of life, so our purchasing power demanded rack after rack of swimwear. One piece suits, bikinis, tankinis, hipsters, skirts, sports tops, rash guards, board shorts…on and on it goes, choices and colors, patterns and accents. It’s like one of those mathematical concepts, where a six-digit code has one million possible combinations, except this involves more than just crunching numbers.
Swimsuit shopping for women involves a delicate balance of skin tone, size, modesty issues, color/pattern preferences, trashy meter, and shape (hello, four pounds of water weight, so glad to see you again). Finding a suit worth purchasing isn’t just an errand, it’s an acrobatic accomplishment worthy of Barnum and Bailey.
So when Bear and I headed out this month on our own hunt for the elusive retail unicorn, I braced myself for what would surely be an exhausting afternoon. My sweet girl (again, at ELEVEN) is about my size so I knew we’d be in the women’s department, but I also knew she’d outgrow the darn things by the end of the summer so I didn’t want to blow a ton of cash. Target seemed like a contender. More for her than for me, but whatever. It was a start.
Now here’s what I love about Bear. For the moment we have relatively similar taste in clothes (or maybe I just have a handle on hers, I don’t know) and a healthy sense of humor about, well, things that fall outside the range of what we’d consider wearing in public. And by “healthy sense of humor” I mean “no problem laughing ourselves silly in the aisles.” The laughing ourselves silly part is critical to maintaining sanity while in pursuit of the swimsuit.
Our first mother-daughter bonding moment came as we scanned Target’s wall of swimsuit bottoms, helpfully labelled for simple shopping. The first few didn’t stand out – bikini, high waist, hipster, boy shorts – all typical styles. But we both came to a shrieking halt at “cheeky” and “extra cheeky.” Wait, what? Bear and I about fell over giggling when we flipped the hanger around and saw exactly how much cheek “cheeky” flaunts.
Wandering through the racks only brought more revelry. Swimsuits with unusual cutouts, bizarre mesh segments, and metallic pieces in odd places. Teeny tiny triangles apparently intended to cover enough boob to avoid public indecency charges. Swatches of fabric held together with skinny strings and zero possibility of preventing plumber’s crack.
We were like teenagers, shouting across the racks, “Hey! Look at this one!!” then giggling madly because there is some godawful trashy sh*t out there. We laughed in the fitting rooms until tears rolled down our faces because really? Really?!? Who thought this would look good on an actual human being?? You can’t blame a suit that shows side boob and butt crack on fluorescent lighting.