The Swimsuit Competition

There are certain things I try to avoid: bad dates, toothaches, getting mugged, bathing suit shopping…

Michelle and I laid out Saturday to sun and I had to make do with a pair of short shorts and a tank top. Not good. I was a tank top in a sea of bikinis. I managed to not buy a single bathing suit in four years, and things were not looking so hot. I sighed in my sun-pinked skin. I knew what I had to do.

On Sunday I trudged across town to Gap Body looking for anything that might fit. I found a handful of bottoms and no tops. Perfect for Europe, not so perfect for lying out in the park. I made my way to J Crew, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Urban Outfitters. The only bathing suits I could find consisted of little triangle scraps that could barely keep me in when I was thirteen.

So I bit the bullet. I went to Macy’s, also known as the ninth circle of hell. Macy’s in Herald Square is one of the biggest, sickest tourist traps known to man. It is over one million square feet of retail nausea. It is crowded and smells like perfume and body odor and McDonalds. It also has an entire floor devoted to bathing suits.

I made it through the throngs of tourists and resurfaced in the swimwear floor to find wall upon wall of bikinis, tankinis, one-pieces, oh my. As I searched through the rows of bright, flowery strappy things, I felt a twinge of disappointment. Not one two piece in the entire store had an underwire. There were thousands of bikinis, and they were all tiny triangles with a flimsy piece of string. I asked a saleswomen to show me any underwires, and she brought me to a tiny rack with three tops — all A cups.

Surely I am not the only woman in Manhattan with a huge chest in need of a two piece, I thought. Maybe I was just being too modest. I grabbed a yellow set of triangles, fought my way into the fitting room and actually wept. I looked like a dirty stripper. A stripper with smudged mascara and a terrible headache.

I left Macy’s in an even worse mood than when I entered. I tried Victoria’s Secret, who only carried white and gold spangled 38Ds, and was actually laughed at when I enqired about a 32 or 34D. I tried H&M and encountered another wall of tiny triangles and fat, matronly one pieces.

It was nearly 7pm. I had spend almost four hours looking for a two piece and only managed to spend money on underwear and a few summer dresses. I was starting to feel that disgusting, eating-disorder feeling women often get when they watch Miss America or walk by a row of maniquens. I decided on one more stop, and then I was going to have to succumb to the world of mail-order swimwear.

Thankfully, Lord and Taylor was nearly empty. It was a welcome reprieve from the hellish crowds all along 34th Street. And, even better, I finally found an underwire! If there is a Bathing Suit God, she smiled down upon me by granting me not only a pretty blue two piece, but also stocking one in black.

I walked out of Lord and Taylor with a lighter heart and wallet. Next weekend I’ll be stripping down on the lawn to my powder blue retro two piece — looking nothing like a dirty stripper.

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4 responses to “The Swimsuit Competition

  1. if it’s any consolation, I went through the same thing recently – in about six different stores spanning three states. Guess where I found one (two, actually) finally? Wal Mart. As much as I absolutely hate that store, they had decent looking bikinis in separates. Really a little depressing when the extra large bikini top from Wal Mart barely fits. I mean where do these siliconed-out DDD hoochies in L.A. find separates? Unfortunately we don’t have a Lord and Taylor’s here. I’m sure the quality is much better. If these two 22.00 bikinis last me through just one summer without falling apart, I’ll consider it worth the money and headache.

  2. I feel like I just received an education . . .

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