Sunday, March 15, 2015

Fat Ladies and Bathing Suits

This was going to be a rant about how hard it is to find a decent bathing suit for distance swimming when you're a plus sized chick.

Because I try to be fair, I do try to give any subject I'm ranting about at least the courtesy of a good Google search before I go off the deep end. And it turns out that several companies do offer bathing suits that will be okay for the plus-sized lap swimmer or distance swimmer.

Mind, they are unlikely to be cheap. I've seen good bathing suits on sale for as little as $40.  Never seen one in my size (~20 these days), confound it.  I tend to spend between $70 and $80.

Speedo is my go-to.  I can reliably find a Speedo in my size if I am willing to tolerate a choice of dark colors.  But hey, take heart, they fade like crazy, so get brighter.

That part had me grinding my teeth a bit.  It had been suggested to me that maybe I ought to try Tyr bathing suits, but when I'd looked for one, I didn't realize I'd been looking in the wrong place and was convinced Tyr didn't make suits in my size.  They do, but it's under Fitness Suits not Active Swimwear.  My bad. I forgot fat chicks aren't actually active.  *snarl*

But I did buy a suit. We'll have to see if they stand up to the chlorine better than my old Speedos.

Junonia?  That company does have me utterly grinding my teeth.

There are two suits that would be okay for any sort of distance swimming -- one an aquatard (which seems kinda cool, but I ain't spending the money on after reading about some of the *ahem* biological necessities of distances swims) and the other a very high-necked, low-legged suit.  I mean, chacun à son goût and all, but they're more expensive than their Speedo and Tyr counterparts and are just less satisfying, just sayin'. It's disappointing, because for a company that purports to support fat athletes, the pickings are slim and expensive.  Don't even get me started on the bathing dresses.  They're cute enough for playing on the beach, I suppose, but for any sort of movement where you start caring about drag? No. Just not. I wouldn't even body surf in them!

Which brings me to a thought about body image.   Now, to say that I have my own issues about it would be true enough. You can't be a fat woman in the English-speaking world and not deal with it.  But it does make me forgive Junonia (well, a little bit) for claiming to be for active women and then doing the whole swim dress thing and attempt at "slimming" thing. (As someone who sews her own clothes, news flash:  A design element might take off as much as a perceived ten pounds. At my weight, I can't be arsed to care about that -- certainly not when it's a garment that is meant to fit snugly)

I spoke to a woman I know about swimming as an option for exercise.  She's about my age, but if she's fewer than 10 dress sizes smaller than me, I'll swear off vodka for a week -- a whole week, I tell you!

She's about my age and tells me she hasn't worn a swimsuit in her adult life because she doesn't have a bathing suit body.

As you can imagine, I about died laughing at that, and asked her what in hell she thought I, who has GOT to outweigh her by 90 lbs,* do when I am training.  I also died a little inside to hear it.

I know the real answer to that.  She isn't thinking about the fact that there are lots of women heavier than she is out there in the water.  All she's doing is thinking she isn't good enough to put on the bathing suit.

There are times when I hate our culture.

* I used to be a diet counselor, believe it or not. I have a good eye for body size and weight.

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