Tummy control, that is. Seems like every swimsuit in the store that I looked at had a tag that read - "Instantly slimming"! "Built-in control to trim your torso!" "The suit that shapes you!" Okay, I needed a new bathing suit and I liked what I was reading, so....I picked a few that were my size and headed into the dressing room.
That was where the problems began.
As I stepped into the first suit, things went swimmingly until I put the straps on my shoulders and tried to stand up. Immediately it felt as if my shoulders were being driven towards the floor in an attempt to put me in a fetal position. Apparently this suit was not only supposed to make me look skinnier, but had been designed to make me look shorter too. Not sure why that was part of the plan. And anything that wants to take my 5'6" frame and squeeze it into a spandex-like state that doesn't reach higher than the kitchen counter gets quickly tossed into the "I don't think so" pile. I couldn't see buying this suit and only being able to look at my feet on the bottom of the pool the entire time I was in it.
My second option looked cute enough. Pink with black polka dots and a solid black bottom half. I put it on, stood up (at least this suit let my vertebrae line up correctly) and took a breath. I didn't realize it would be my last. One breath was all there was room for as "torso control" took no prisoners and didn't allow for the lung expansion necessary for the quality of life I'm accustomed to. Before I got too dizzy from lack of oxygen, I took the suit off, gasped for air, and threw it on top of the "Discover Your Shorter Self" version that I had tried on moments before. Two down, one more to go.
As soon as I had squeezed into my final dressing room choice, I realized it had been labeled incorrectly. Instead of "This Suit Slims You!", it should have read, "This Suit Will Push Your Liver Out Your Buttocks" and "You'll Feel Tightly Wrapped in Duct Tape" in order to set the mood. Terrified that I would put extra kinks in my small intestine by wearing this suit for a moment longer than I needed to, I ripped option #3 from my body, threw it on the reject pile, and stared at my stretchy enemies in fear.
What had happened to the bathing suit industry? Was it too risky to let it all hang out anymore? Would women rather feel the claws of (tummy) control than the ability to walk upright and breathe normally? If my recent experience was any indicator, then the answer would be "yes".
No matter. I've still got one old suit in the drawer at home that fits just fine. And if I stand up real straight, hold my breath and suck in my tummy, I've got all the control I need to get me from the back door to the water's edge. Then I jump in quick. Submersion is a wonderful thing.