As I was recently reminded, it takes four things to successfully wear a bikini:
1. Good abs;
2. A tight tuckus (aka a firm derriere -- or bottom, butt, booty, moneymaker, or ass);
3. Boobs -- specifically ones that are bigger than your spouse's; and
4. A whole lot of self confidence (or be seriously in denial)
And apparently I possess just one of these attributes.
While I long ago realized I would never be a Victoria's Secret or Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, I had always harbored hopes of one day looking good or better than okay in a bikini. And I thought my moment had finally come after giving birth to my daughter, when I suddenly had breasts. (God, I loved nursing.) Sadly, I also developed a gut and hips from all the hot dogs and ice cream I hoovered down to keep up with her relentless nursing schedule. So I put my bikini dreams on hold.
Then a few years ago, due to illness and stress (as well as eating less and exercising more), a miracle occurred: I suddenly had abs. Really nice abs. I wouldn't go as far as to say I had a six-pack, but definitely a three-pack, and to reward myself, I bought a bikini. And man, I loved that blue bikini -- so much so that when the straps broke, I sewed them back on, by hand. But when they broke a third time, and then the elastic went, I had to send blue bikini to that big swimming hole in the sky -- and figured my days of wearing a two-piece swimsuit were over. After all, I was "a woman of a certain age," and suddenly felt self-conscious about exposing my midriff (and other body parts) publicly, as I discussed in this post.
But then several friends, as well as the spouse, told me that wearing a bikini had nothing to do with age and everything to do with attitude and that if Helen Mirren could rock a bikini, so could I. And so buoyed by this thought, and summer, I recently went bikini shopping (forgetting that although she is/was 63, Helen Mirren: a) still has great-looking breasts and b) a bottom that doesn't hang out of her bikini bottom).
First piece of advice re bikini shopping: Never ever shop for bikinis in the presence of lean, leggy, busty teenagers or twentysomethings. If you see these temporary freaks of nature (just wait until they've had a couple kids and are in their 40s!), just put down that suit you were planning on trying on and quietly leave. Come back another day when they are in camp or at work and the store is empty or filled with matrons or German tourists.
Second piece of bikini shopping advice: Be sure to wear seamless flesh-colored underwear, the skimpier the better. No matter what shape you are in, there is no way that bikini bottom is going to look good tried on over your granny panties, polka-dot hipsters, or lavender briefs.
And my third piece of bikini shopping advice: Take a good friend or someone who truly cares about you with you, if for no other reason than to give you a hug and tell you are still beautiful as you stand there weeping and wailing after having tried on, oh, at least a dozen swimsuits, all of which made your ass look big and flabby and your breasts look like ant hills someone just stepped on.
So no, I did not buy a bikini this weekend -- and doubt I will be buying one any time soon. And come winter, I will put those Victoria's Secret catalogs I keep receiving to good use, in my fireplace.