Swimsuit weather is upon us! Glory be. Well, glory be for the sun, not glory be for trying on swimsuits. I’ve only just recently even begun wearing swimsuits again. Which sounds crazy, I know. But I just wasn’t really up for water-time until last year, since I was still learning to accept my post-baby-having body, yada, yada, we all know how it goes.
But now I’m feeling good about myself–accepting and loving about my bod, and ready to squeeze this sausage into a casing. Last summer, I finally bought ONE swimsuit, and that felt like a huge personal win. This year, I’m shooting for buying at least two more. Whoa, Nelly, I know. I’ve already ordered (and returned…) a couple, but I’m hopeful that I’ll find at least one more that I feel good in.
The whole point of this, though, is that the bathing-suit-trying-on experience has reminded me of my days working as a lowly retail clerk at a high-end department store, selling, among other things, swimwear. And I’d like to share with you all a story that will both disgust you AND remind you of the importance of wearing underwear while trying on swimsuits.
Now, you might be thinking, who the hell doesn’t wear underwear when trying on a swimsuit? I mean, gross, right? I’m a neat freak by nature, even somewhat of a germaphobe, also a rule follower–so it never even crossed my mind to not wear undies. But this is not necessarily how everyone feels, and I had to learn that the hard way.
I was helping this woman many years back. She was slightly older, maybe about 50. But she was, let’s say, confident about her self and her body. Good for her! She actually came out of her dressing room in a one-piece bathing suit, found me on the sales floor, and asked me to come back with her to her dressing room so that I could better share my opinion. I went back, and she strutted and twirled in her room before the three-way mirror asking me what I thought about the zebra one-piece she had on. “What do you think? It fits me well, right? I love it so much. It’s just beautiful, right?”
Now, this bathing suit was probably at least one size, maybe two sizes, too small. And I knew that because it was stretched so taut it was barely even covering her vag. Yes, that’s right; this woman was pleased as punch, oohing and ahhing over herself while I, and everyone else at the future pool party, could see half her uterus hanging out the bottom. And though I would usually give my honest opinion about sizing and appearance, it was clear to me in this moment that 1) this woman was so happy with this suit, 2) she was not going to be talked out of buying it, and 3) OH DEAR GOD PLEASE LET THIS END NOW.
I gave my support, she changed, and I rang her up. She left. I exhaled. Trauma over. Only it wasn’t. Because in the process of picking up the pile of swimsuits she had left on the floor of the dressing room (God, I hated when people did that…), I happened to grab a bikini bottom that left three of my fingers SOAKING WET. I looked closer and realized that I had just touched this woman’s…well, how should I say this?…spooge, discharge, lady gunk, vag juice, whatever you want to call it. It was the only time in my life when I actually spontaneously gagged like they do in the movies. Seriously, I felt like Peter Venkman collecting the slime sample in Ghostbusters.
I immediately ran to the bathroom and scrubbed my hands with soapy, scalding water for approximately 20 minutes. It was horrifying. Since then, I have never casually tried on a swimsuit. Now I always, always look to make sure the suit is clean before I put it on.
So my point is this: you really need to wear underwear when trying on bathing suits. Not just because you’re a decent human being who knows that other people don’t want to share your liquids without their knowledge or consent. But, more importantly, because now you understand that other people may not even think twice about sharing their non-consensual juices with you.
I’m sorry. I hate that this is the world we live in, but it just is. It baffles me, too. The only way I know how to fight such injustice is to offer up this public service warning and hope that others can learn from my suffering. Please, people. For the love of all that is pure and good in this world, keep yo’ underwear on.