Real Women Don't Wear Tankinis

This year, I worked hard to drop a few pounds over the winter so that when spring arrived, I wouldn’t have to face my annual swimwear terror attack.

Honestly, I find shark-infested waters less scary than trying on bathing suits.  Bungee jumping?  Piece of cake.  Wrestling alligators?  Not a problem.  Standing half-naked in front of a three-way mirror when I know the security people watching those hidden video cameras are snickering at my cellulite?  Big problem.

Anyway, with my clothes fitting a little less snugly, I was optimistic that this year I could go bathing suit shopping without hurling my half-filled Starbucks Frappucino at the three-way mirror.

Confident that I was tankini-ready, I went to the store and tried on bathing suits two sizes smaller than last year. I was shocked to discover that I still hated how I looked.   After trying on several dozen bathing suits, I went back out into the store and stood glaring at the racks.  After a while, a teeny-tiny salesgirl approached me.

“Can I help you?” she asked.

“Well, uh, I’m looking for a bathing suit,” I stated the obvious.

“How about this one?” she asked as she pulled out something even my grandmother wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing at the pool in her retirement community.  Honestly, the bathing suit had more material than a beach blanket.

“It’s a little old for me, don’t you think?” I asked.

“Well, once we’re past a certain age, those tiny bikinis just don’t flatter us, don’t you think,” she said.

Personally, I didn’t think I was past that certain age quite yet.  Maybe the fact that I had some smile lines meant to her that I was ready for a bathing suit with an attached skirt and its own breasts, but I begged to differ.

“I was actually looking for a tankini,” I told her.

“Hmmm. You know tankinis are not for everyone.  They can actually make your hips look BIGGER,” she said a little too loudly so that everyone in the swimwear department now realized that my hips would look bigger in a tankini.

“I’m actually pretty sold on a tankini,” I said through gritted teeth.

“Okay,” she said cheerfully.  “But you might have better luck over there.”  She pointed to the section of suck-me-in Miracle Suits, which promise to make you look ten pounds thinner instantly.

I gave her the look of death.

“Oh, and here’s a cover up that should help hide those trouble spots.  It’s nice and long so you can tie it up all the way around your neck and let it drape down like a dress,” she said modeling the makeshift muumuu on her size-two body for me.

I decided then and there that if I wanted to feel badly about my body, I could do it all by myself, thank you very much.  Ignoring her, I reached over to the rack of cover ups, and pulled out a cute little sarong instead.

She looked at it and shook her head. “That’s pretty small,” she said. “I’m not sure what you could do with that.”

I smiled. “I could strangle you with it.”


©2016, Beckerman. All rights reserved.

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  • Carol Baron

    Loved it because I could relate to it. Try TJMaxx because there are no sales people unless you go and find one.

  • Harvey Baron

    Hey, Don’t put down my beautiful, talented daughter. She has more charm, more brilliance, more good looks and more intelligence in her slightly overweight pinky than any of dem skinny bikini broads.

    Sent from my iPhone


    • lostinsuburbiablog

      Did you say my pinky was overweight?!?!?!

  • Beth

    I have a drawer filled with bathing suits that I’ve purchased online over the years. I’ll do anything to avoid bathing suit shopping. Unfortunately, buying a bathing suit online is farily pointless except that I get to feel bad privately.

    • lostinsuburbiablog

      Yup. I did that once. It fit my five year old daughter!

  • Shallow Reflections

    I haven’t bought a new bathing suit in years and your post has reminded me why. I hope you wear the tankini with pride. This essay had the perfect ending. 🙂

    • lostinsuburbiablog

      I DID buy a tankini that day and I’m sure it will look great under my muumuu! 🙂

      • Shallow Reflections

        LOL! I’d consider selling my house if I could live full time in a muumuu.

  • energywriter

    So relatable! I bought my last swim suit in 2001. I’m afraid to try it on, even at home, in the closet, far away from windows.

    • lostinsuburbiablog


  • jane Smith

    Definitely a relatable experience!! I now buy the swim suits, try them on at home and then bring back (usually) all of them?

    Sent from my iPad


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