Brace yourselves, my darlings. It’s that time of year, again.
It’s swimsuit season.
I say “brace yourselves” because we women seem to do a mighty fine job of beating ourselves up when it comes to what we’re wearing in the pool or at the beach.
It’s just a pool, people.
Ditto for the beach.
No cause for that sheen of sweat and feeling of desperation in the pit of our stomachs, now is there?
Especially when we could wear this vintage beauty:
My kindred spirit friend Anne-Girl sent it to me a while ago.
It came through the real-for-true, old-fashioned mail, the way all vintage things should.
I have to admit, I was slightly taken aback when I opened the package and found a blue, crocheted bathing suit — sized about four decades too small for me–to boot.
But maybe some of you get bathing suits through the mail all the time, because you buy your swimsuits online.
What, what, what?
I can’t fathom it. You see, I’ve always gone for the tried-and-true way of buying a bathing suit: the festival that is the fluorescent-lit mall or big box or even boutique store change room. I am accustomed to the usual view of acres of me, unflatteringly lit with row upon row of fluorescents as I attempt to corral bits in with only the thin sheen of some kind of high-tech fabric.
Not high-tech enough, however, to hold up that which needs holding.
Or squeeze in that which needs squeezing.
Oh sure, we can send people to the International Space Station in suits that let them breathe in zero atmosphere but we can’t manage to conjure up a single swimsuit that will hold bits or squeeze bits the way I’d love them to.
I think I miss corsets.
Or what about these pantaloon bathing costumes – weren’t those great? Let’s ask some Hollywood/Fashion Week style dictator to bring those back. please oh pretty please. I think I could love a bathing suit that covered me from ankles to earlobes.
I sunburn easily and am always cold.
Anne-girl’s mother obviously loved this blue beauty because she wore it and loved it enough to emigrate to Canada with it, save it for half a century and pass it down to her daughter, who–knowing a wacky vintage-loving woman across the province–passed it down to me.
I love it. I love the buckles, I love the crochet, I love how the bottoms come up All The Way to the belly button (or higher).
On someone four decades smaller than I, of course.
Yep, love this bathing suit.
Being a woman brought up in the times when we were taught to constantly criticize our bodies, it has occurred to me that I can’t say “I love it” very often about a bathing suit in my possession. In fact, the last bathing suit I loved was at the age of four. I inherited a “bikini” from a more sophisticated five year-old friend and gleefully pranced about in it all summer, belly un-corraled.
My belly hasn’t been un-corraled in quite some time. On account of, I don’t have any core strength, as evidenced by the fact that I recently started doing core exercises (again) and didn’t notice their effect in the slightest during my regular waking hours until I went to bed and Practical Man informed me in the morning that I had groaned each and every time I rolled over in the night.
It turns out, I roll over a lot. And, apparently, if you exercise your core, it hurts to roll over. But, then, hopefully, after a few months of midnight groaning, your rolly bits don’t roll over your waist band quite as much as they used to.
At least, they better not.
Well, unless you count the times while I’m in the change room, trying to corral all the bits of my (apparently un-used) core, hold up that which needs holding and squeeze in that which needs squeezing, with only thin pieces of man-made fabric at my disposal.
Which, I don’t.
Anyway, run away from the fluorescent humiliation that is the bathing suit change room.
Run away, I say!
And, stop skulking behind that beach towel.
Wear your suit proudly because you’re already a bathing beauty.
Just like this one.
If anyone asks you what I’ve been doing this week, the answer is: sweating and scratching out in The Nature that I love…not so much.
It’s 42 degrees Celsius today with the humidex. That means a balmy 34 degrees REAL temperature and 127 degrees behind my ears and around my ankles. Oh, my ankles are so steamy.
So, like all good Canadians, we’re complaining.
It was only a couple of months ago that we complained about the endless winter and grumbled about the “s” word on the radio threatening more of the white stuff in April. Practical Man sort of sniffs the air to figure out if it’s time to take the snowblower off the tractor yet. He’s like a weather barometer with alluring twinkles so even when the radio is threatening the “s” word repeatedly, I trust the twinkles. Besides, everyone knows that April showers (not snowballs) are supposed to bring May flowers.
Just ignore that little snowbank over by the tulips.
And, it was only last month that we complained about the unnaturally cool Spring and we were still wearing jeans and socks, by golly and socks were the worst thing in the world in June, which is an especially hard month on account of there is not a single holiday weekend in Ontario. Is it too much to ask during such a vacation-desolate and trying month to be able to wear sandals without having blue, frozen toes?
Because, blue toes don’t go particularly well with my favourite vintage-inspired sandals:
Then, it was only last week that we were admiring the unnaturally lush summer verdant surroundings while simultaneously complaining about the rain, rain and more rain and the grass, grass and more grass which wouldn’t stop growing and the never-ending mowing and trimming and mowing and trimming..and by the way, where were the true stretches of sunshine and hot summer weather?
They were in Jamaica, that’s where.
But now, finally, we’re sweating it out in a trillion gazillion degrees and humidity that makes my elbows and the backs of my knees sweat and my hair curly (and not in a particularly good way). Practical Man doesn’t sweat (I always knew he was made of steel) and the only way he can keep from turning into the human torch (I think I’m mixing super hero metaphors here) is to stop whatever chore he’s doing (because hot weather is not an excuse to just laze around, except for me, of course) and jump in the pool every 15 minutes or so.
And then, he complains that it’s not cold enough. Which, I think means he might also be like Aquaman.
I’m not sure.
But, we’re not just sweating, because we’ve been camping and we live in Canada. Which means, inevitably, we’re also scratching. With all the rain, rain, rain, the bugs have been planning and conspiring and working on an advance to contact with my ankles. Now, I have sweaty, itchy ankles. They say that life is what happens when you’re making other plans. I say: bugs are what happen when you’re making camping plans.
We were camping in our 1974 Boler travel trailer, which, you may recall that I l-o-o-o-ve in a way that may be very annoying to some.
For instance, people in RV sales.
When we first bought the Boler, we went to an RV store to source some parts for it and when the salesman heard we had a Boler trailer, he immediately said, “Well, you’re gonna wanna trade that in right away for something GOOD!” Which, of course, offended me greatly.
Greatly, greatly. Because I l-o-o-ove the Boler, as you may recall.
However, I just smiled and told evil RV sales guy that there was nothing better than a Boler but on the way home, I decided that sales guy probably hated classic Volkswagen Beetles and all the other truly joyous things in life too and I got myself into a real state of vintage vehicular protectiveness. I had vintage indignity and outrage out the wazoo and I wasn’t even sure I knew where my wazoo was. But, I did know deep down and finally had to admit, that there are some who don’t like the whole vintage camping thing. Especially those who embrace modern conveniences such as air conditioning and indoor plumbing. So, I tried my best to calm my wazoo down.
Anyway, we’ve been camping in the vintage Boler, which is nearly 40 years old and deserves our respect, love and a little forgiveness if it happens to go a little wacky every now and then, without fear of being traded in for some snazzy trailer with A/C, indoor plumbing and an on-board microwave.
Not that I’m 44 and know anything at all about going wacky every now and then, but I can identify with the Boler’s little wacky elements sometimes. Like, when the right tire was flat when we pulled it out of the shelter to prep for the trip. And, when the bed was just a smidge too short for our tallish frames to stretch out fully, so our toes got a little cramped squishing up against the rounded walls while we were sleeping.
But, there is a completely groovy vintage avocado green stovetop and “range hood”, which in my book, makes the Boler fabulous.
We also have screens in every wind-out window (which means we can leave them open to the breeze, even in the pouring rain, unlike a modern trailer). And there is a completely low-maintenance, sweepable, washable fibreglass floor.
So there, RV sales guy.
Uh huh, our Boler is like the vintage Batmobile…only portly and cute. It’s my idea of perfect camping and I l-o-o-o-ve it.
Plus, my husband was like a sniper with a fly swatter for any errant buzzers that managed to sneak their way in while we had the door open. Such a bonus for my sweaty, itchy ankles that he thought to bring–and can so ably wield–the instrument of my tormentors’ demise. And that reminds me which of the many superheroes he really is:
He’s Practical Man, of course.