Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Burqas, Bathing Suits, and Bustiness

Since bathing suit season is almost upon us, I thought I would share my thoughts surrounding this anxiety-, angst-ridden time of year. This is intended for the ladies, but if you are a gentleman whose boat is floated by this, feel free to read on.
Unless you are a 17-year-old swimsuit model, there is going to be something you don’t like about your body in a swimsuit. Perhaps it’s dimpled cellulite that adorns the hinterlands of your gluteus maximus. Or, maybe your ample tummy that resists sucking in drives you crazy. My current pet peeve is a little roll of loose skin—not big enough to merit the label “muffin top"—located below my bellybutton.
If it could talk, it would say bleb in a barely audible voice. Quiet, you see, because it doesn’t really bother me; it could be a lot worse. I’m in good shape for a type 1 diabetic, for a type 1 anything, really. However, those of you who have had one or more kid will know what I mean when I mention the bleb. The bleb laughs in the face of exercise and diet; it can only be resolved through a tummy tuck, and who wants major surgery? Not me. And my bleb has implored me to spare her life, which leads me with only one alternative: no bikini.
Most of the moms at my local swimming pool all wear bikinis. Cute, small bikinis that would make my bathing suit blush. Needless to say, they are all bleb-free. I don’t know how they do it. Not eating probably helps, which I would love to do but cannot. Spending more time at the gym is another effective strategy, but I don't want to work that hard. So, all power to them! I am too old and wise to be jealous anymore. It’s time to develop a personal plan of action.
My first option is to continue with my faithful Lands End standby. You can swim laps in it. It highlights my arms and shoulders in the most attractive way possible. The dark, eggplant color effectively hides my bleb as well as any other loose skin that might be trying to say something. Also, Lands End is famous for its “No Tug” bottoms that don’t climb up. This suit makes me feel safe and cozy. The downsides? First off, it’s the burqa of bathing suits. Perhaps it succeeds too much at coverage. In addition, it does nothing for cleavage. In fact, it minimizes your bust—great for swimming laps, not so much for exuding sensuality. It’s a mom suit.
Meet the burqa of bathing suits.

I bought a tankini as a half-hearted compromise last summer, but the top wasn’t tight enough. It floated around me whenever I fully immersed myself in the water, thereby exposing my talkative bleb. It does feature a festive Hawaiian hibiscus print, however, which beats eggplant hands down. Fed up with my tankini, I angrily crumpled the top and furtively disposed of it at summer’s end. The verdict: tankinis are reserved for bathing suit purgatory. They must be stopped and redirected to the fiery place found beneath our feet. I suppose I could use the bottom part as a sail or a tarp to cover my BBQ grill.
Aloha, and into the trash you go.

The two options that remain to me are: swim in the nude or buy yet ANOTHER suit from Lands End with a more cheerful disposition and a little less coverage. Since the term “Adult Swim” doesn’t allow for nudity, looks like I’m committed to the latter.
One more thing: no matter your body type, current weight, or how loud your BLEB is yelling at you, just wear the suit that makes you comfortable and makes you feel pretty! Most likely the only person scrutinizing you will be you.
David Baby's rakish piranha shorts. Too bad they don't fit me.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Belle Isn't All That

Having viewed Finding Nemo, Cars, and Beauty and the Beast (Booty and the Beast, according to my daughter) at least 100 times each, I’ve not only become a huge Disney fan but also an expert analyst of the hidden subtext of these great works. Join me as I embark on a socioeconomic exploration of these classic films! First, I tackle Beauty and the Beast head on.

Little town/ it’s a quiet village/ every day… like the one before, little town, full of little people, waking up to say…Bonjour!

So Belle is bored. Every day is indistinguishable from another. We wake up in the morning, toil, and go to bed at night to rest up for yet more toiling the following day. Welcome to the human condition! If I wanted to show off here, I would quote Sartre and Camus (see: The Myth of Sisyphus) Also, here the term “little people” doesn’t refer to the townspeople’s height; Belle is belittling their aspirations and worldview.

There goes the baker with his trade like always; the same old bread and rolls to sell. Every morning just the same/since the morning that we came/to this poor provincial town. Good morning Belle!

In spite of the insults she hurls at tradesmen, they are very polite to her. After all, she is beautiful and seems to have a positive disposition. But her anti-capitalist attitude is irritating: where does she think the goods she consumes--including the books she loves--come from?

“I just finished the most wonderful story about a beanstalk…”

Jack and the Beanstalk is a fine story, but Dostoevsky it ain’t. Looks like Belle lacks substance when it comes to having something to actually feel superior about. She may be literate, but the books she favors fall into the Harlequin Romance genre. Not that there’s anything wrong with a good bodice-ripping yarn, but it’s not a basis for bragging.

“Well, it’s my favorite! Far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise!...Here’s where she meets Prince Charming, but she won’t discover that it’s him till chapter three.”

I want much more than this provincial life!

And for once it might be grand, to have someone understand, I want so much more than they’ve got planned.

There must be more than this provincial life!

The only “provincial” aspect I see here is Belle’s taste in leading men and literature.

Next week I reveal how Finding Nemo embodies every parent’s worst nightmare and her greatest joys. Marlon, c'est moi.