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Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer, Sunscreen, and Sadistic Swimsuits.

Arrgghh. I'm 48 years old. My face has completed a disappointing eight year run. It's worse when I wear my glasses, but if I take them off, I look as good as I did 5 years ago. I had a nightmare a few weeks ago that my entire cheek area resembled the wrinkly bottom of my big toe when I've spent too long in the tub. I slather on that 25 SPF cream from Mary Kay.

I'll guarantee you have rarely seen me dressed for the weather, if the temperature is above 78 degrees. Smaller clothes do not adequately conceal my upper arms, my thighs, or the relaxed nature of my muscle tone. When people have called me uptight – they weren't referring to my muscle tone.

I vow I'll be ready for summer this year, every year. My aversion to sweating tends to interfere with my lofty visions of the knockout body, however. It's July, and I'm not ready – again.

I've waited and waited. My husband, the King of Workout Willpower to my Queen of Next Week, I'll Do Cardio a Minimum of 3 Hours and Eat Only Vegetables, I Swear, lounges in our pool in self confident comfort. He plans tubing outings on the river while I consider the unflattering visual of a swimsuit.

Yes, the swimsuit – let's talk about that for a second. A swimsuit bottom is designed to hold onto your bones or hard muscle, no matter how deep into the flesh it must venture to locate it. When you're 10, you are jumping off diving boards – it's an important feature. At 48, I just don't want it to slide off when I climb the pool ladder. The swimsuit top, however, is less obvious in its intentions. The strap around my back is always good and tight; I spend a lot of time moving it to the most flattering location amidst the back fat. The strap around my neck is a no win situation, mostly because of the inadequacy of the cup area. The cup area relaxes in the lovely summer weather, apparently unaware that it isn't on vacation, it's ON DUTY. As a result, I have to really tighten that neck strap to keep the cup tops in a semi-modest location. About 20 minutes into this wardrobe debacle, the strap becomes part of the spinal cord at the base of my neck.

My husband enjoys telling the story of me walking out of the water at Hammonasset Beach with a big smile on my face declaring the water beautiful, my bosoms completely revealed thanks to failure of structural integrity in the straps of my brand new one-piece swimsuit.

I've decided I'm as beautiful as I make up my mind to be. Why not? It has to be the form of denial with the most positive side effects. In my mind, I look like Liz Hurley at 35, and I unleash beaming, posh British smiles on passing strangers. I possess NO back fat, and believe that my outfit appears just as it did at home – looking on from the front, with my shoulders back in perfect posture, stomach sucked in til I couldn't breath. When I walk away, I believe no one can see me if I'm not looking directly at them. Yesterday, I decided I look better in my underwear and bra than I look in a swimsuit and... so, after my walk, in the privacy of my own secluded back yard, I stripped of my shirt and Capri pants and jumped into the pool. Woo Hoo!

I informed my husband the rest of the world could deal with my lack of perfection, or divorce me... but I'm not missing out on summer this year. I have all these tank tops that are almost brand new, and I can buy shirts with spaghetti straps, and sundresses! I'm packing up my sunblock and my inner beauty and taking them everywhere I want to go.

He laughed and said, "Good, you're much more fun like this!"

In truth, I was quite relieved he responded that way, but I was committed to do this for myself regardless.

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