Even as the snow blows outside my windows on this last day of winter, my mind and my wallet are consumed with the ever challenging pursuit of the perfect bathing suit. Now it has long been known that money is no object for the miraculous small amount of spandex that covers, enhances, sucks in, and flatters at least a little bit of what God has graced me with.  As I age, the pilgrimage becomes more frustrating because I am quite particular about what and just how much I choose to parade at the beach.  I don’t necessarily needs cups that are designed with so much padding that a life jacket would not be needed.  I don’t want “boy shorts” as only a prepubescent tween with long willowy legs would look good in.  I don’t really want a miracle suit because strangulation while sunning is not my idea of a good time. I spent countless hours looking online at bathing suits until I was cross-eyed and feeling a bit defeated until I gave in, and came up with a new plan.  I picked up the phone, and called one company. “Look, I said. I have given up. Don’t you have a suit for a short woman whose hips are far more, ah hem, generous than her bust?”  There was a slight pause on the other end of the line.  Rushing forward now, I continued…”money is no object, but I can’t be floating around above, having cups buckle inward so that people think I have misplaced my fiberfill and it has slipped down to my hips.  I need a petite as well because I can’t be wading in the ocean or wherever in a tankini skirt that is so long that it drags my torso down and makes me look like a midget in a grandma suit. I’m just not ready for water shoes and a beach umbrella.”  By now, I am sure the person on the other end thought I must be twacked.  “Well, she began, slightly sympathetic yet with determination…I do believe we can recommend just the perfect combination!”  Ten days later, a package arrived and sure enough, a bright blue flowered suit tumbled out of the envelope and when I get the courage up to stand in front of the mirror and actually haul the thing on….I do believe I will be able to sit on the beach without a towel draped over my middrift.  On the same subject, however, is where on the planet do average women find bathing suit cover-ups that aren’t built like ponchos, or slit to one’s navel complete with a big brass circle holding the strips together (obvious to show off one’s cleavage) and there must be a heck of a lot of women who wear a size S or zero because that is certainly the market most companies are marketing to, or under the age of 50.  Seems like a marketing blunder to me as most of the money spent comes from the mothers of those tiny girls.  If I had a company, I would definitely market sophisticated, fashionable, timeless pieces to real women my age who still believe it is possible to be beautiful beyond a size 10.  I wouldn’t want them to be trendy, and no big splashy patterns designed to maybe confuse the eye.  Of course, I do still wear the collars of my polo shirts up, and I love the feel of crisp cotton button down shirts and a sweater casually draped across one’s shoulders.  I have suspected for some time now that I am holding onto being a preppy and I really don’t care if its a fashion “faux pau” or not……..I did concede however and pack away my kelly green chinos with little whales on them out of consideration for those who might snigger behind my back. 
Perhaps I shouldn’t make such a big deal about bathing suit season for in all the places I have traveled around the country, many sunbathers should have reconsidered their final choices and are very confident as they slather themselves with lotion and lay it all out there. As for me, hopefully the pilgrimage is over….I have a suit, a matching sundress and flip flops.  I am ready for Myrtle Beach and will walk through the hotel lobby with my head held high and pray nothing is jiggling or worse yet as I make my way to the sand.