So. My fat ass. It used to be my one curve and I didn’t mind it. Truth is, it’s now one of several curves and I still don’t mind it. But right now - while I’m bathing suit shopping and we are a month out from it officially being summer the words ‘beach body’ are swirling around like Oreo cookies in a McFlurry. Beach body. Hmmm… What in the hell is a 'beach body' anyway? And why is it making me antsy in my pantsies?
Well, if you’d believe endless magazines or online shopping sites or tv shows or movies or unconscious thoughts - a beach body comes in one size and that is a twenty-something size 2 tan woman with tousled hair. If smiling, - which why wouldn’t she be? - with brilliant, white, chiclet-type teeth. If the above are any indicators these individuals, (and I'm sure they are all lovely, powerful, awesome women), are the only people who are in need of swimwear. Or the counterpart to that thought is that if you believe the images that these advertisers (old white men in suits - What? Who said that?) are shoving down your throat, you can buy one of these happy, size 2, twenty-year-old beach bodies when you buy the suit. (Self-esteem costs extra).
Well… Huh… Hmmm…
I don’t know… something seems a little off… this seems a bit limiting…yeah? I mean - everyone is allowed on the beach, right? Pretty sure I've seen some non-size 2-types, right? Hello? Because, I'm getting the feeling like maybe there are some under-represented types out there that might be in the market for bathing suits? You know, like the rest of the beauteous bunch that isn’t, never has been, never will have a stomach you can bounce a quarter off of. Among others, I’m talking about some folks that might perchance enjoy sunning their superb middle-aged, hard-earned, fat asses. You know the type I’m talking about - the type who carried human beings inside of their beach body and who now actually like to build sandcastles with said human beings and find that difficult to do in a tiny thong? I mean, I am correct, right? Women, beautiful women, come in other ages and sizes. Females who make up half of planet Earth are oftentimes not twenty, right? And don’t those ‘other’ women have toesies they’d like to dip in the briny sea? Like for example my gorgeous eleven-year-old daughter who is looking more and more every day like one of these charming models/actresses but definitely doesn't need to sex it up on the sand and whom is bombarded with these pictures, these movies, these tv shows.
What's the subtext in these ads, these incessant pictures? Should I feel ashamed of my powerful forty-three-year-old, muffin-topped, slightly dimpled body? Should I compare myself to other beautiful women in a different stage of life and feel inferior or superior to them? Should I feel resentment or shame and then cover myself up and deprive myself of the joys of trolling for beach glass or bodysurfing with my boy?
So - where do you buy a nice bathing suit for one of those, one of us, gals? For one of these beach bodies?
On my electronic journey to find out I revisited a favorite site -ModCloth.com and found not only a lovely suit - but some diversity in models - at least size-wise, not yet at the people-with-gray-hair-go-to-the-beach-too stage yet, I guess. But, it was refreshing. And, oh, how sad that that is refreshing rather than the norm…! We come in amazing shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. How fantastic! Let’s see - let's dress - the amazing bodies we’re in! I scrolled and clicked my way around the site. And so, after all this conjecture, and online foaming at the mouth I guess what I'm trying to say is this: I had to buy a bathing suit. I looked around. I bought one from a website that shows all kinds of women in all kinds of suits and I really love that, but when it came to the suit I wanted, after all this, the one I picked was one worn by the model that was in her 20s and thin! I don't know what that means. Did I sell out? Did I let us all down? Am I a hypocrite....? You know... I don't think so - it's a pretty smokin' suit! And - I bought the suit from that site because they showed all kinds of women in all kinds of suits. And watch me - I'll prove I didn't sell out by slapping it on my non-twenty, non-size 2 body and swimming, playing and sunning in it over and over and over again all summer long on the beach.
So my earlier question: What in the hell is a beach body anyway?
Answer: A beach body is a body that is on the beach.