In the North Country, spring means the end of cold winter days, the appearance of flowers, the singing of birds.
In Mexico, where I live, spring means flowering trees, the end of pleasant winter days, more humidity and hot, hot, hot. It means the stores are stocking up on bathing suits and it’s time for me to pick out a new one for the summer ahead. I start to sweat, not because temperatures are rising but because I’m about to go suit hunting.
If I had a choice between trying on bathing suits and living alone on an iceberg, it would be hard to decide.
If I had a choice between trying on bathing suits and living alone on an iceberg, it would be hard to decide. At least living on an iceberg would mean not having to pick out a bathing suit.
I am not tall and slim and look good in any old suit. I am short, ample and sagging. I wish there were no mirrors in dressing rooms. Somehow I am able to convince myself that the image before me is, surely, not me. All in all, It’s an out-of-body-experience.
As if that weren’t enough, Max insists on going with me. This spring was no different.
“Let me pick out something daring for you,” he said, humming a little tune in the “Summer Fun” department of the store. “You’re much too conservative!”
“Yes, yes, Max. I know. You are visually gifted.”
Blissfully he skipped off to the bikini section.
Bikini????? In your dreams, Max!!!
I was frantically riffling through racks hoping to find a suit before Max presented me with something totally unsuitable.
Then I saw it – a navy blue, woman-of-presence suit probably designed in the 1950’s with a short skirt to hide ungainly thighs. I grabbed it before another woman-of-presence could.
I loped toward the dressing room hoping I could make it in before Max spotted me, but he was too quick and cut me off. Smiling broadly, he held up three suits. The first was a weensy, hot pink bikini with sparkles.
“Max, you’ve got to be kidding!”
“Really?” He looked puzzled. “I think you’d look super in this!”
My look said it all.
“How about this?” Max held up a black one-piece, high cut on the sides with netting on top revealing pretty much everything.
I shook my head. “I think it’s darling of you to think I would look good in this. But trust me, only you would see beauty. The rest of the world would be aghast.”
“Sylvia, you are so wrong!”
“Trust me. I know my audience and they would not applaud.”
“What about this one?” He held up the last, a canary yellow suit with a plunging neckline and criss-cross straps in the back. “It’s much more conservative.”
“You’re right. Conservative for a twenty year old.”
“Oh?????” He looked crestfallen.
Holding up the navy blue one, I said, “I think this is it.”
Max made a face. “That looks like something out of grandmother’s attic trunk – totally not you!”
I sighed. “It may not be me, but at least it will fit!”
Max took the hanger with the suit dangling from it out of my hand and hung it back on the rack. “You’re much too vibrant for that suit. We’ll search until we find the right one.” He looked around and his face lit up. “There they are! Animal prints. Pizzaz and flash! Totally you, my dear.”
I had to admit they looked pretty good, at least on the hanger. The true test would be in the dressing room or as I like to call it, the Closet of Horrors. We riffled through them and I found a nice one-piece in a leopard and floral print, tried it on. It worked! Pizzaz, flash and all areas covered. I bought it.
Max said, “It was worth hunting a bit more.”
I nodded. “Thanks for saying I’m vibrant.” I blushed.
“How about an ice cream to celebrate your new suit?”
It was the wrong thing to say but I knew he meant well. And I can always suck in my breath when I wear it.