We’re approaching summer here in Sydney and my annual fear of publicly outing the middle-aged, cuddly bod, to a beach full of unsuspecting and judgmental sunbathers already has me reeling with fear.
I moved to Australia for the temperate climate but as much as I love the water, the idea of posing in swimmers and having to hold in the muffin top for most of the weekend, is hardly a relaxing idea.
It seems I’m destined to write this ‘buying swimmers’ post each year, because I know that I can’t be the only middle-aged woman out there who would prefer to disappear on leave with Tony Abbott than try on swimming costumes.
At the end of every summer season I swear that the following year I will opt for the burqini or don a kaftan, yet here I am again, the vanity of wanting to add some colour to my sallow, English skin forcing me into apparel designed for the young and nubile.
I get sucked in by the ads, you see. What wafer-thin model doesn’t look good in swimmers? As soon as Jets and Seafolly reveal their new range of full-pieces, I get excited, kidding myself that this year things will be different.
Even though they never are …unless I had the spare cash to spend on some blood-constricting, Spanx-style miracle suit, I imagine; a snip at only $300.
Nevertheless, this year I started out with a positive outlook. The experience couldn’t be any worse than last year, I kidded myself, and I know I’ve gained weight so I wasn’t exactly expecting Elle McPherson to peer back at me from the torture chamber changing room mirror. So I confidently dragged an assortment of full-pieces and tankinis ranging in price from $60 to $120 back to my secret lair of doom.
Burkqini by Giorgio Montersino at http://www.flickr.com
They’re crafty, those swimwear designers. The $60 generic swimsuits fitted my body surprisingly well, but in terms of design, they had obviously been created for nanas. With their thick, wide straps, over-zealous padding in the boob area and the fugliest patterns on the front panel, (that would have looked much better on curtains in a nursing home), I just couldn’t give up that easily.
So I moved to the tankini, my favourite type of swimmers, the obvious advantage being that if like me, you need to pee every twenty minutes at the sight and sound of moving water, they’re quick and easy to disrobe. But again, while most designers make tankini tops to support lumpy, middle-aged breasts with enough boning and lycra to crush the muffin top into submission, the bottoms don’t get even close to covering a real bush.
Fifteen costumes and what felt like two hours of body contortion later, I decided that enough was enough and that if I really wanted to torture myself I could give up wine for another evening.