I hate bathing suit shopping.

July 31, 2010 at 6:25 pm 9 comments

Were you looking for a heaping helping of self-loathing, here? Sorry to disappoint you. Bathing suit shopping for me is almost painless- provided I can find a suit that looks as though I came to the pool to swim. (If you, as a sexually available adult, enjoy lounging around the pool looking sexy, then please understand that I mean you no disrespect. It’s not my thing. We’re all individuals.)

No. it’s for my daughters that bathing suit shopping makes me come home from the mall and grumble-chat to my girlfriends about how much I hate the entire child-bathing-suit-manufacturing universe.

But, Ruth’s beautiful handed-down suit is falling to pieces after half a season of playing in the chlorinated pool at day care. And next week we have plans for both a family trip to the splash pad, and a day camp trip to the public pool, and maybe a visit to Nan and Papa’s backyard pool. So off to the mall I went.

It is not yet August (by the skin of July’s teeth). So, even if you only swim in the summer, there is still a month left of bathing-suit season. And realistically, with swim lessons and pool parties and such, bathing suits are a 12-month-a-year item– readily available in June. Kids grow. In spurts. They outgrow things in the middle of the season. Bathing suits fall apart with frequent use in chlorine pools. But new bathing suits in August? Too much to ask.

And especially too much to ask is the style of bathing suit I want for my 4-year-old. She’s coming out the other side of potty-training, but when she’s doing something superFUN! (like, say, swimming) she’ll ignore subtle signals until it’s a rush. Any item of clothing requiring herculean effort to get into or out of? Bad idea. So a two-piece suit is the logical choice here. I don’t, however, want to put my 4-year-old in a string bikini. Modesty! Sun Coverage! Avoiding the year we have to say “last summer that was fine but now it isn’t”! Sun Coverage!

Thank all the retail gods that little boys get to cover up their young and tender little torsos with board shorts and sun-resistant board tops! Now, if you could just manufacture some of those without pirate skulls on them? That’d be spiffy. Kthnx.

After 4 stores, where suits were picked over, out of season, or entirely made of string, we found these:

Thank you, Please Mum for coming closer than any of your competitors to providing me what I need for my family! The bodysuit (we got it in a lovely turquoise blue) is more hassle for getting in and out than I’d like, especially when she’s off to day-camp and her counselors may not have time for potty helping. It’ll be fine for family trips to the splash pad though, so at end of season (can you see me rolling my eyes?) sale pricing, it made the cut. And she can manage the two-piece on her own, no problem.

(There’s a WHOLE OTHER RANT about how this store is gendered. There is a boy side and a girl side and ne’er the twain shall meet. What makes that bodysuit (it came in turquoise blue, orange, and green) with an adorable turtle on it a ‘boy’ item? Yeah, I didn’t know either. I’m a hetero, cis-gendered, traditionally feminine female woman person, and even with my fairly uncomplicated relationship with sex-and-gender, I want to SCREAM when I enter these shrines to gender policing. Is *I* *AM* *A* *GIRL* really the most important thing about my kid? The one thing that needs to be telegraphed at all times and in all places without ceasing? And my friend whose sons who are rocking gymnastics camp- does it need to be so nearly impossible for her to find a pair of leggings somewhere where her eldest doesn’t FREAK OUT about buying “girl clothes”?)
But. Really. Why why WHY?!?!? do toddler-sized bathing suits come in styles that look like the adult-style suits I refuse to buy for myself? The ones that are made not for swimming, but for lounging around the pool looking sexy. My kids have NO NEED to lounge around the pool looking… anything! They are not at the pool, the splash pad, the cottage, or the beach to be looked upon.
Whose needs are being met with a toddler-sized bikini on which the top rides up when she jumps in the pool because she lacks the anatomy to keep it in place?
Male Gaze? I’m looking at you. With burning white-hot angry-laser-vision eyes.
Get. your. gaze. off. my. kid.


Entry filed under: Incarnational, Parental.

In which I Ruminate on my New Hobby Silly Fun

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. CTJen  |  July 31, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Why not a “bikini” bottom with a rash guard top?

  • 2. Cleric at Large  |  July 31, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    CTJEn, that’s what she’s been wearing, I’d have loved to replace it with more of the same, if that combo were available “out of season”. I have also been known to buy two different suits to mix and match bottoms and tops from each. But the pieces just weren’t there to be found today.

  • 3. Susan  |  July 31, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    i totally agree with you. I have a heck of a time buying swimsuits even for my teenage daughters. Neither of them wear swimsuits to be looked at. They want functional, fairly modest swimsuits that don’t draw the eye to their body. I had to go to 6 stores to find this at the beginning of the season.

  • 4. Cleric at Large  |  July 31, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Susan, I shudder to think how much more I will hate all the available options when they are in their teens. I think I’m going to have to find a way for all three of us to learn to sew before they get there.

  • 5. Erylin  |  August 1, 2010 at 1:40 am

    oh god…the jump from 6 and 6x clothes to the 7/8 realm is horrible (the difference between little girls and tween i guess)…its like suddenly my litle 7 year old is wearing mini skirts and such suitable for high schoolers HELL NO!

    And though i am fairly traditional with a bit of a sumission fetish i really hate everything makeup stands for (and i am allergic to boot) what the hell do i do with them wanting to wear makeup and practicing? how do i convince them there is more than wearing makeup and looking cute? tht who you are what you do is more important?


  • 6. Rose Campion  |  August 1, 2010 at 6:50 am

    How about this tankini from Lands End? They also have rash guard shirts for little girls but are sold out in every color but navy in toddler sizes. Lands End is always pretty decent quality for the price.


  • […] that I’m not here to be anyone’s ornament, I exist with almost complete disregard for the Male Gaze. If I want to dress up a bit for a date or a birthday or wedding, it’s because I want too to […]

  • 8. auntieL  |  August 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Might I suggest swimoutlet.com

    Their Christmas suits were from there. They have good selection with modest wear…available year round.

  • 9. Mulberry  |  August 3, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    How come little girls can get these sexy swimsuits, and I find acres of ugly black swimdresses? What’s wrong with this picture?

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