Monday, May 21, 2007

Swimming with the Smalleys

I went swimsuit shopping today, and, according to all women's magazines and every single Cathy cartoon ever published, women are supposed to hate that, right? We're supposed halfheartedly pull on a dozen different suits, none of which fit, and run out of the dressing room, traumatized and crying, and straight into the arms of Ben and/or Jerry.

Yes, it's a bummer. No one likes to be nearly naked in front a full-length mirror while wearing white socks and standing under ultrafluorescent lights. But, as I found today, there's a way to skew the experience in your favor.

I went to Macy's to find a decent swimsuit. Macy's puts all their ladies' swimsuits on the tippy-top 8th floor, to create a sort of hushed, closed-off chamber of torture. That means every single woman in the dressing room is trying on a swimsuit, just like you are. When I went into the fitting room and shut the door to my stall, I couldn't help but overhear a conversation between two women who were trying on swimsuits in the adjacent room.

"Girrrrl, you look good!," one said. "So sexy! You have GOT to get that one."

"You like this one?" the other said. "What about the other one? What about her?" (Somewhat endearingly [and perhaps crazily] they were personifying the suits. Each swimsuit was a "her.")

"Oh, girl, maybe get that one, too, but you GOT to get the first one," her friend said. "You look sooooo good! I'm sorry I'm staring, but you do!"

This went on for a good 10 to 15 minutes.

What struck me, though, was that as I was trying on my suits and listening to their conversation, I started feeling positive about myself and how I looked. I mean, yes, not every bathing suit fit me perfectly, but, in general, the more I heard, "Girrrrrrl, you look goooood!" from the next stall, the better I felt. That got me thinking: What if, instead of weight loss commercials and women's-magazine diets and pictures of the Olsen twins, we got steady confirmation of our worth, our beauty, and our sexiness? Granted, I don't know how we can do this without turning American values on on their head. Maybe start with a podcast? (Ha.)

Related to that, I read the "manifesto" of new Gawker Media blog Jezebel today, and, lordy, I sincerely hope the ladies who edit the blog can succeed in figuring out a way to combine traditional women's interest topics (celebrity, fashion, etc.) with feminist rhetoric and have it come out on top (so to speak/that's what she said), popularity-wise. Until time tells, I'll keep reading. Good luck, gals.

But anyway, back to the swimsuit: I walked out with this bikini in hand, a smile on my face, and an unusually positive feeling about my body image, thanks to the ladies in the stall.

P.S. Tune in Tuesday night at 9 p.m. EST to Dr. Blogstein's Radio Happy Hour to hear Blogstein and me do our usual song and dance and talk with several special guests.

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Blogger Phil said...


You are a very young and attractive woman and you should always feel good about how you look in a bikini, you have nothing to feel bad about.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Bond said...


No comments on the swimsuit thing... that is something co-workers can not discuss without HR personnel getting involved...

Just wanted you to know I finally woke up and realized I never linked you on THE COUCH.. that has been rectified..

11:43 PM  
Blogger NewbietoNYC said...

Fabulous, thanks Bond! And thank you for the nice compliment, Phil.

8:05 PM  

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