It’s that time of year again. The temperature has barely hit 40 degrees and yet stores are displaying swimwear. As I unwrap the scarf from around my partially frozen face, I find myself staring at a flaming red bikini. It barely seems big enough to fit on a doll, let alone a living person.
I step back and look at the rest of the swimsuits. They are mainly two pieces, with one or two full pieces thrown in there as though they were an after thought. “Might as well put this out,” I picture the Target employee saying as he is holding up a one-piece bathing suit that resembles a mumu, “There must be some old broad out there that’ll want it.”
That “old broad” is me. And excuse me, Mr. Target Employee, I don’t consider myself old … nor a broad. I am merely a woman who has some sense of modesty. I also happened to have given birth to two wonderful children who did some major body reconstruction as they were incubating in my belly.
Above the bathing suits hangs a huge photograph displaying models frolicking around in the very swimsuits that are being sold. Their stomachs are taught and flat; their boobs perky. As I study these seemingly carefree, perfect bodied women, I suddenly pictured an asterisk next to their heads. At the bottom of the photograph is the footnote that lists the disclaimers about these women:
The pony-tailed blonde in the striped bikini: Isn’t actually a blonde. Has had breast implants and liposuction. Smokes 2 packs a day to curb her appetite. Third toe on left foot is longer than all her other toes. Is mean to old ladies.
Brunette playing volleyball: Doesn’t actually play volleyball. Hates the blonde in the striped bikini. Lives with 6 cats. Airbrush artist spent an hour making her waist look smaller than it actually is. Airbrush artist also painted over her acne outbreak.
Second blonde wearing black two piece: Actually is blonde. Smiling broadly while trying to ignore the burning pain she is still enduring from her most recent bikini waxing. After photo shoot she is going to exercise for 4 hours straight. Will then enjoy a salad with fat free dressing for dinner.
Brunette with arm draped over 1st Blonde’s Shoulder: Although laughing, nothing is actually funny. Bleaches her teeth. Has a high pitched laugh that mimics a hyena. Airbrush artist had difficulty making the dimples on her thighs disappear.
There. Now these swimsuit models are just like the rest of us. I push my cart towards the laundry detergent aisle; smiling because I suddenly feel much better about myself.