Bikini shopping brings back terrible memories for me from growing up on the coast - a time when looking like this seemed to be the only way to find true happiness:
This feeling that I won't fit in or look right comes screaming back whenever I step into a surf shop. The girls and guys that work there seem to look exactly like the people I went to school with and the smell of neoprene that hangs in the air still makes me feel a little queasy with feelings of inadequacy. They smile and offer assistance but I can tell that they are actually wondering what a loser like me is doing in their shop.
What also doesn't help in this situation is that, in spite of all my previous experiences, I have unreasonable expectations of what I will look like in a bikini. As if I have somehow acquired the body of a Victoria's Secrets model since my last expedition. Or that the bikinis will now have the ability to disguise, enhance and transform my body as required with only the teensiest bit of lycra.
And so it was whenI went into this shopping nightmare last weekend with the goal of finding a bikini that would make me look amazingly gorgeous - but like I wasn't trying too hard. Something that would make me look like these guys:
Add to all of this delusional thinking: dehydrated, pasty-white skin, goose-bumps, red lines that have been imprinted into my belly by my opaque tights, unpedicured feet and a stomach that is trying to digest the lunch I had just 15 minutes ago. Is it any wonder then that I end up shoving arm-fulls of rumpled up lycra at the perfectly perky 16 year old shop assistant (who, unscrupulously, told me I looked "totes hot" in every hideous pair I tried on) and flee the store a trembling, depressed mess? I then had to counter the unhealthy voice in my head that was telling that I should never eat again by listening to the also unhealthy, yet much louder and more awesome-sounding, voice that told me to eat my own weight in jelly beans.
And I swear I will NEVER go bikini shopping again!
The great thing is - maybe I won't have to. Last night, in a fit of desperation, I ordered a pretty, cute and nicely priced paisley bikini from asos.com without having to go through any of this pain. Of course, it might end up being a total disaster when it arrives and I finally try it on (in the comfort of my own home!) but at least buying it didn't suck every last shred of self-esteem from my pasty, goose-pimply body.