Bonnie Bing

In search of an old swimsuit for new season

My face was already scrunched up because it was so hot and I don't like hot weather. At all. Last Monday the temperature hit 100 degrees. The only person I knew who liked this was business writer Bill Wilson, who kept proclaiming his love of hot weather.

But my smile was really turned upside down when I heard those awful words at a luncheon I was attending.

"Gee, it's so hot, it's already time to go swimsuit shopping."

Nooooooo. Say it isn't so.

For the past two years I've managed to hold off buying a new swimsuit because I had one that was old and comfortable and still not transparent in important places.

Sadly, the last time I wore the poor old faded thing I could tell it was time for a new one. While my rear end could never be qualified as thin, the rear end of my favorite swimsuit is thin. Very thin.

After hearing that comment at lunch I decided not to take desperate measures until I had determined whether I could wear one of the suits I had shoved in the back of my closet. I was hoping maybe one would work and I wouldn't have to go through the third ring of hell known as swimsuit shopping.

I did find one of my old favorites — a solid black one stretched out in all the right places. But the mesh bra liner looked like it was going to disintegrate before my eyes. It had to go into the wastebasket with my other old faithful.

Next I looked at a coral number I ordered from a catalog. That was the one that looked so different on me than it did on the model in the photo that I thought they had sent the wrong suit. Nope, it was the right one, but on me it was an Esther Williams look gone bad.

Then I came across a swimsuit I had found on sale. It's black in the places where that slenderizing illusion is a necessity, but with a little leopard print thrown in. At the time, I was so thrilled to find a suit that wasn't all black, and at such a great price, that I didn't take the time to try it on. Mistake.

Take note, fellow shoppers — holding a swimsuit in front of you while looking in the mirror does not indicate what that sucker is going to look like on your body. Not even close. Once I got home, I locked myself in the bathroom and tried it on. To say the front was low cut is an understatement, and I must say it was a struggle to get it on. So much so that my husband heard the groans and asked through the locked door whether I was all right.

Getting the straps over my shoulders required the same muscle power of putting on a 50-pound backpack.

At once I noticed a large portion of my chest had somehow ended up sort of pushed into my armpits. The suit was made of one of those industrial-strength fabrics that would make a slingshot a lethal weapon.

It would have taken years to stretch that baby out to be comfortable.

Anyway, it was a flattening, not flattering look. The very deep V neckline made it look like a sixth-grade boy was wearing it.

So that was the end of my quest to find an old suit for a new season.

That means I need a new swimsuit. This will require a road trip because I have a rule of never trying on a swimsuit within a 200-mile radius of Wichita. That rule was made the day a 20-year-old, size 4 sales clerk popped her head into the dressing room to "see how cute the tankini looked" and I nearly slammed her neck in the door.

There's a style that seems to be popular this year that I know I won't be trying and I'd bet 99.9 percent of the female population won't either.

A tiny top is attached to tiny bottoms with a strip of fabric that runs down the front of the body.

It looks like the dog got ahold of a one-piece suit and went to town.

When it comes to swimsuits, the latest style really doesn't interest me. I wish just one designer would realize that most of us prefer swimwear made of more than 9 inches of fabric.

I already have a slingshot.